COLUMBUS Josh Huston waited a long time for yesterday more than an average college career. Huston, who is in his sixth year in the Ohio State program, finally got to be the No.1 kicker.
You prepare every day like you are the one, and when you finally get that chance, the energy is amazing, the Findlay High grad said after kicking a pair of field goals and four extra points in Ohio State s 34-14 win over Miami.
The night before the game you envision that you make all of your field goals and put everything down the middle. As a kicker you don t get on the field for many plays, so you want to make the most of it every time.
Huston played on the same Findlay team as former Miami quarterback and current Pittsburgh Steelers starter Ben Roethlisberger. Huston missed portions of the 2000 and 2002 seasons with injuries and received NCAA medical hardships for those years. He last kicked for points back in 2001 as a freshman, when he alternated early in the season with Mike Nugent, who was the nation s best kicker last year and is now with the New York Jets.
Huston hit nine extra points and three of 10 field-goal attempts that year, including a 44-yarder against Wisconsin. He missed 2002 with a hip injury. He did not play in 2003, and played in only the opener against Cincinnati and the bowl game last season, when he kicked off.
Yesterday, he put four of six kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.
It was a good day all around for me, and for the team, Huston said. Coach Tressel demands a lot from his kickers, but I think that has helped make me a better player.
RUNNING STRONG: Tailback Antonio Pittman got the starting call and made a lot of it, rushing for an even 100 yards on 14 carries. Freshman speedster Maurice Wells from Florida played a lot in the second half, and had 10 yards in seven carries. The Buckeyes rushed for 160 yards as a team.
MR. ROBINSON: Ryne Robinson, Miami s junior wide receiver from Central Catholic, had eight catches for 96 yards against the Buckeyes, including a 35-yard touchdown catch with just over a minute left in the game. Robinson, who has five punt returns for touchdowns in his career, also returned one punt for 10 yards.
NO GOOD NEWS: When new Miami coach Shane Montgomery got the bad news that he would be starting his career by playing at Ohio State, there was no accompanying good news. Not even Geico would insure a risk like that.
I m disappointed with the outcome, Montgomery said.
We were well-prepared, but we played an excellent team today. We knew they were going to be a big, physical team. I think I m disappointed not in the effort of our team, but in making plays. I told my players in the locker room, though, that whatever happened today was not going to affect our goal this season: to win the MAC championship.
BUCKEYES NOTES: A sellout crowd of 104,695 was on hand at Ohio Stadium, the 20th consecutive home sellout. ... Ohio State has won 22 of its last 23 games at home. ... Tressel s career mark as a head coach is now 176-68-2, including a 41-11 record at Ohio State, and a 26-3 home record with the Buckeyes. ... Ohio State converted four of five scoring opportunities inside the Miami 20-yard-line yesterday. ... Ted Ginn caught five passes for 75 yards, one of four Buckeyes with five catches on the day.