COLUMBUS - It was Troy Smith's team that took on San Diego State yesterday at Ohio Stadium, after Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel named him as his starter early last week, trying to derail any distraction over the on-again, off-again quarterback rotation.
While Justin Zwick, the starter in the first two games of the season watched, Smith led the Buckeyes to a 27-6 win, scored a pair of touchdowns and moved to 5-1 as a starter in his career. Smith, the first Buckeye quarterback to rush for two touchdowns in a game since Craig Krenzel did it against Washington to open the 2003 season, had 14 carries for 87 yards, and completed 14 of 26 passes for 149 yards.
"I thought Troy did some real good things today," Tressel said. "We'll go back and watch the film and I'm sure there will be lots of things that we say we need to do a little bit better, and maybe a ball or two we'd like to take a little off of or maybe not make that throw. But I think every time you're out there making decisions, you learn a little bit more, and I thought Troy progressed."
The Buckeyes (2-1) fumbled the ball away on the San Diego State 1-yard line early in the second quarter, and Smith threw an interception inside Aztec territory in the third period. The
opportunities lost bothered Smith.
"I think we did pretty good," Smith said. "I think we did some good things, and we did some bad things. The turnovers - we don't need them, and we never want to have them."
"Ohio State's quarterback kept things alive," San Diego State coach Tom Craft said. "Troy Smith was elusive and physically strong."
CARPENTER ACTIVE: Ohio State senior linebacker Bobby Carpenter worked a little on the line, worked in pass coverage, and made himself a general nuisance. Carpenter had two tackles behind the line of scrimmage for 15 yards in losses by the Aztecs.
"Bobby Carpenter makes things happen," Tressel said. "He's a nightmare for those tackles when he's rushing. He's got tremendous range as a linebacker and covers so much ground. I don't see him get blocked very often. He makes plays."
LITTLE GINN: Ohio State sophomore Ted Ginn Jr. was supposed to assume a higher profile in yesterday's game after he had just seven receptions for 84 yards over the first two contests of the season.
San Diego State held Ginn to just three catches for 37 yards and dumped him for a seven-yard loss on his only rush of the game, but in doing so allowed the Buckeyes to take advantage of other offensive options. "They just pinned their ears back and they were not going to let us outside the edges," Tressel said. "They were not going to let Teddy run reverses or those kind of things, which gave us an opportunity to do some other things."
Ginn finished the game with 102 all-purpose yards on eight touches. He totaled 30 yards on kickoff returns and 42 yards on punt returns.
CONSISTENT HOLMES: Ohio State wide receiver Santonio Holmes had four catches for 42 yards, pushing him to two career milestones.
Holmes has 100 receptions for 1,507 yards in his career, and he ranks 11th on the all-time list at Ohio State and 12th in all-time receiving yardage. Yesterday, Holmes surpassed Brian Stablein (96) and Jeff Graham (99) for an OSU career. Holmes has caught at least two passes in 21 consecutive games.
MORE MO: Freshman Maurice Wells from Florida had nine carries for 32 yards yesterday and recorded a career-best 13-yard run in the fourth quarter.
NUMBERS: There were 104,533 fans, the 22nd consecutive sell-out crowd. Last Saturday's game against Texas attracted a record crowd of 105,565, which broke the old Ohio Stadium record of 105,539 set against Michigan in 2002.39.96196 -83.00298