Buckeyes Trying To Get Over It

The alternative rock band OK Go released the hit song "Get Over It" in 2003, and the title of that song will be the Ohio State football team's goal by Saturday. The Buckeyes will have to rebound from the heartbreaking loss to USC in order to put their best on the Cleveland Browns Stadium field against Toledo.

In a move to help the Ohio State football team get over its crushing 18-15 loss to third-ranked USC on Saturday evening, none other than the head honcho, athletic director Gene Smith, stopped by the Buckeyes' team meeting on Monday with some words of encouragement.

Of all weeks, this might be the one the Buckeyes need them.

"He stopped in and he said, ‘I just wanted to share with you guys my perspective and the perspective as I talked with people,' " head coach Jim Tressel said. "And he used the phrase, he said, ‘You know, you guys really brought it.'

"And then to me what he added to that really is the key to down the road. He said, ‘And if you'll bring it like that the rest of the season, you're going to have a good football team.' And that's the truth."

Those words might have come at the right time given the challenge facing the No. 11 Buckeyes this week: a noon start in Cleveland Browns Stadium against a suddenly resurgent Toledo squad that feels it can compete with the Buckeyes coming off of a home drubbing of Colorado.

After a season-opening loss at Purdue, the Rockets jumped out to a 30-3 lead against the visiting Buffaloes on Sept. 11 in front of a raucous crowd in the Glass Bowl before cruising home to a 54-38 win televised to a national audience on ESPN.

In addition, Toledo will enter the Forest City boasting the nation's leader in total offense in quarterback Aaron Opelt, who has passed and run for a combined 437.0 yards per game. The Rockets' offense is seventh in the country in passing yards and total yards and 15th in scoring at 42.5 points per game.

Suddenly, what looked like a possible easy victory at the start of the season has given the Buckeyes reason to pause.

"A lot of guys were saying in the Colorado game that guys looked good, so we have to be ready," OSU offensive lineman Bryant Browning said. "From week to week we focus on each team equally. We know the Toledo guys are going to play hard."

The Rockets have a good history for a Mid-American Conference school of knocking off big foes, including a 13-10 win against Michigan last year and the Colorado victory. In its last 11 games against Big Ten foes, Toledo is a respectable 5-6 and boasts victories against Penn State, Purdue and Minnesota in addition to the win against Michigan.

In the days of 85 scholarship limits, Toledo head coach and former OSU assistant Tim Beckman said that such wins are more common – but not necessarily upsets anymore.

"It's become a very, very level playing field where anybody has an opportunity to win, as they say, on any given Saturday," Beckman said. "I don't think there's those trap games anymore. You better have your teams prepared and ready to play when you step on the field."

For Ohio State, putting its best team on the field will be the challenge given how much the Buckeyes left on the Ohio Stadium turf during its late loss to USC.

"Initially, it's very tough," wideout Dane Sanzenbacher said. "Walking off the field that night and even the next day, it's kind of a feeling that you left something out there."

A few of the Buckeyes said that getting back to work has allowed them to start to move past the contest. Sunday's look at film provided a glimpse at what mistakes the Buckeyes have to try to eliminate, and practice sessions have given the team a chance to get to work.

"(Seeing mistakes on film) almost a relief to us because it would have been panic mode if you played a perfect game and still lost, because what else do you do from there?" Sanzenbacher said. "You can learn a lot from that film, and there's not everything you did right. There's a lot of improvement that's needed."

Tressel said he would only address his young team about moving on if it seemed that it was having trouble with doing so, something that was not the case as of Tuesday morning.

He should be able to have a pulse on that; the Buckeyes haven't lost consecutive games since the 2004 season.

"If you sense that there's not a focus there, I'm sure you would (address the team)," the ninth-year head coach said. "Haven't gotten to that point yet. Yesterday, there didn't seem like any need for that.

"Now, it's a long week and today's another workday, but, no, it's not anything you stand on your head – because my experience has been every time I stand on my head and try to convince them of something, it doesn't work."


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