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Published: Sunday, 10/8/2006

Punting strategy backfires on Bowling Green

COLUMBUS - Thus far on the job, Alonso Rojas has not had a typical punter's experience.

This season Rojas, a true freshman for Bowling Green State University, has been asked to punt behind an atypical blocking formation, and sometimes on the run. Yesterday against Ohio State, he was asked to send all his punts out of bounds to avoid Ohio State's dynamic returner, Ted Ginn Jr.

Rojas didn't quite execute the strategy properly, averaging just 29.4 yards per punt on five attempts.

"He struggled with it a little bit," BGSU coach Gregg Brandon said. "He's a freshman, and we told him, 'Alonso, punt the ball out of bounds.' And that's what he did, you know for 20 yards.

"That's my decision too. I came in and halftime and I talked with him. I said, 'Hey, let's just kick it.'•"

Rojas punted once in-bounds, in the fourth quarter, and sent the ball 48 yards to Ginn, who returned it for 21 yards to the Ohio State 43.

TURNER IMPROVING: BGSU coaches were likely glad to see quarterback Anthony Turner escape the contest injury-free. Turner looked much stronger in his second game back since missing time with an injured non-throwing shoulder.

"I felt a lot better than last week," Turner said. "[It's not 100 percent,] it's hard to say where I'm at right now. I banged it a couple times in the game and I felt it. We'll have to see throughout the week."

Receiver Corey Partridge said he thinks Turner has progressed since returning from his injury.

"Anthony is a great quarterback, he has a great arm," Partridge said. "His timing was the problem before. He's putting the ball on the money now, and getting it out when he needs to, getting it out on time. He's going to be a great quarterback down the stretch for us."

In the fourth quarter, Turner ran on third down, and seeing a gantlet of Ohio State tacklers coming his way, slid a yard short of the first down. He said he was disappointed he didn't make the play, but his coaches were likely fine with the decision.

NO CHARLES: Freshman receiver Zach Charles did not play because of a pulled hamstring suffered this week in practice. Charles started the first five games and came into the game leading the team in catches, with 14 for 50 yards. Senior Kenneth Brantley started in his place.

OOPS: On Troy Smith's 57-yard touchdown pass to Ginn in the fourth quarter, Brandon said the coaches made a personnel mistake leaving cornerback Antonio Smith in the game with a gimpy ankle.

"Antonio, we shouldn't have had him in there, his ankle was bothering him," Brandon said.

WISHING THEM WELL: Partridge said his third-quarter touchdown catch, his first of the season, was special because it was in Ohio Stadium.

"It was a great feeling," Partridge said.

"It's the best feeling in the world, scoring a touchdown in front of Ohio State fans, and making 110,000 people sit on their hands."

But Partridge showed respect for the Buckeyes and said he will be rooting for them the rest of the way.

"Ohio State's a great team, a lot of athletes, well-coached too," Partridge said. "I just hope they can go out and win a national championship now."

- Maureen Fulton



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