OSU Defense Downs 'O' In Jersey Scrimmage

For the second straight jersey scrimmage, the Ohio State defense came out on top. All three defensive units had their moments along the way Saturday at Ohio Stadium, and one of the highlights of the day belonged to the scout team.Updated 4:03 p.m. with statistics and personnel notes

After a string of losses, the Ohio State defense has won two jersey scrimmages in a row and will keep the scarlet practice jerseys until next spring.

Much like the spring jersey scrimmage, the defense took a huge lead early then held on for a 52-44 victory.

This time, the advantage was more than 20 points, built through mostly simple stops of the scoring unit's various drive attempts rather than big-scoring plays like turnovers or defensive touchdowns.

The defense led 40-24 when the offense made its charge, thanks in part to some of the situational series scripted by head coach Jim Tressel.

The No. 1 offense drove 40 yards for a touchdown against the No. 2 defense to begin its comeback.

After a failed deep pass attempt, a false-start penalty and a shovel pass that lost two yards, the offense came up with one of its better plays of the day on third-and-17 to keep alive the drive.

To convert, Terrelle Pryor faked an option play then reared back and fired a pass to DeVier Posey, who had run a square-in and gained separation from Devon Torrence. Posey pulled in the throw for a gain of 22, and six plays later Pryor completed a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jake Ballard on a bootleg after a play-action fake.

That narrowed the deficit to 42-34, but the defense looked primed to extend its lead again when the No. 1 defense was matched up against the scout team full of reserves charged with running the sophisticated triple-option offense of Navy, Ohio State's season-opening opponent.

If that was a matchup stacked in the defense's favor, however, no one told Rocco Pentello. The scout-team quarterback, a 6-0, 194-pound sophomore safety, led two scoring drives from the defense's 35-yard line.

First Aaron Pettrey kicked a 43-yard field goal to draw the offense within 42-37, then Pentello gave the offense the lead with perhaps the play of the scrimmage, an option keeper that covered 35 yards after a sharp cutback in the middle of the line. Devin Barclay added the extra point to give the offense a 44-42 lead.

That advantage was short-lived, however.

With the mimicking of Navy complete, the defense scored the last 10 points as all three defensive units stopped all three offensive units in succession, picking up points for each stop.

If the results produced by his offense concerned him, Tressel did not show it afterward.

"It's hard to be disappointed when you're rooting for both teams," Tressel said. "There were some things I thought we did well defensively especially early."

Pryor finished 17-for-27 passing on the day for 130 yards in unofficial stats kept by BuckeyeSports.com. Though he and backup quarterback Joe Bauserman both wore black jerseys forbidding they be tackled, Pryor ran 10 times for minus-27 yards, including several sacks.

Bauserman was 7 for 16 for 60 yards while Kenny Guiton completed 6 of 10 passes for 11 yards and Justin Siems was 3 for 7 for 23 yards.

"It's a difficult thing when you're a quarterback," Tressel said. "I don't care who you are, if you wear that black jersey it's not playing the game like you're used to playing it. Plus we were working with a lot of different combinations in there so we were probably not as rhythmic as we'd like to be and as we will be down the road."

Among those "different combinations" were the No. 1 offensive line, which began the day with Andrew Miller at left tackle and Andrew Moses at left guard alongside expected starters Michael Brewster at center, Bryant Browning at right guard and Jim Cordle at right tackle.

Later in the scrimmage, J.B. Shugarts also had some turns at left tackle and true freshmen Corey Linsley and Jack Mewhort worked at left guard as Justin Boren, the expected starter at left guard, watched from the sidelines.

Boren continues to rehab and rest a sprained knee, and he was just one of several players who did not participate in the scrimmage because of health issues.

Also out were linebacker Austin Spitler, tight ends Nic Dillilo and Jake Stoneburner, defensive ends Lawrence Wilson and Melvin Fellows, cornerback Travis Howard, safety Zach Domicone and receiver Lamaar Thomas.

Veteran Ross Homan, who suffered a minor leg injury Wednesday during practice, started the scrimmage as a first-team linebacker but played only a couple of series before being replaced by Andrew Sweat.

In his short time on the field, Homan did manage to make a significant impact by totaling five tackles.

The only player noticeably injured during the scrimmage was starting defensive linemen Cameron Heyward, who came up favoring his right elbow after one play then a couple of plays later had to be attended to by team personnel after twisting an ankle. The situation looked grim as two teammates helped the junior off the field with him appearing unable to put any weight on his right leg, and he spent the rest of the scrimmage on the bench with ice taped both to his right leg and his right elbow.

However, Tressel downplayed any severity to the ailments and said all of the injured players are expected to receive clean bills of health before the Navy contest Sept. 5.

Dan Herron was the game's leading rusher with 51 yards on 10 carries while freshman Jordan Hall added 41 yards on four totes of the pigskin.

Posey led the team in receiving yards with 50 on three catches while Taurian Washington had the most catches, tallying six for a total of 33 yards. Ballard caught two passes for 19 yards, including the touchdown.

Though the offense struggled to move the ball much of the day, its efforts got a lift from the field goal unit.

Pettrey missed tries of 48 and 53 yards but also came through with three long successful efforts. He was good from 43, 52 and 57 yards. Also, Barclay added a 43-yarder in his only field goal try.

As for the defense, Heyward was a terror before his day was done. He had two sacks and five tackles, both highs for the first-team defenders, and provided consistent pass rush.

Also credited with sacks were Jermale Hines (five tackles) and Worthington, who also forced a fumble.

Among all defensive players, the leading tackler was reserve linebacker Jordan Whiting, a true freshman who was in on eight stops.


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