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Published: Tuesday, 9/2/2008

Ohio State's next victory will be No. 800

BY MATT MARKEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
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COLUMBUS - It is tough to do something historic at a place where they display seven national championship trophies, honor their seven Heisman Trophy winners, and enshrine more than 170 All-Americans.

When your first football game was played in 1890, just 25 years after the end of the Civil War, a lot of stuff has happened and the bar is set pretty high when it comes to qualifying any event as a momentous occasion.

But on Saturday afternoon, the Ohio State Buckeyes will try and do something that only four other schools across the country have done - win for the 800th time. The Buckeyes have 799 checks on the left side of the ledger as they prepare to host Ohio University.

"I hadn't thought about that, with so much else going on as we were getting ready to start another season, but that is something that's pretty amazing - 800 wins," Ohio State all-American linebacker James

Laurinaitis said.

"That's a shocking number in football, since you only play 12 or 13 games a year - it would take a while to get to 800 - but it just speaks to the history and tradition of success at this place."

With a win over Ohio, the Buckeyes would join rival Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas and Nebraska as the only football programs that have celebrated victory 800 times. That's a lot of verses of "Carmen, Ohio."

"You are both proud and humbled by the history we have at Ohio State, all of the great teams, great players and coaches that have come before us," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said as he talked about the upcoming season at the Big Ten gathering in Chicago.

"You get to see those trophies and those plaques and pictures every day, and they are a constant reminder of our obligation to all those Buckeyes. We have to maintain that tradition, and strive to strengthen it."

The Buckeyes won game No. 100 on Nov. 14th of 1908, beating Vanderbilt 14-6 in Nashville. Win No. 200 came 20 years later, 41-0 over Wittenberg. Ohio State would get its 300th win in the 1945 season, a year after Les Horvath became the Buckeyes' first Heisman Trophy winner. Ohio State upset fifth-ranked Minnesota 20-7 in Minneapolis.

The 400th win for the program was one of the more memorable ones, since it came in Ann Arbor in 1961 by a 50-20 score, and Ohio State assistant coach Bo Schembechler was calling the plays. Schembechler went on to coach Michigan, and the Buckeyes went on to win the national championship that season despite the fact the OSU faculty council voted to not send them to the Rose Bowl.

The 500th win was a 32-7 handling of North Carolina in the 1975 season, as Pete Johnson scored all five touchdowns and Archie Griffin became Ohio State's all-time leader in total offense.

The 600th victory for the Ohio State program came wrapped in a 64-6 pounding of Utah in 1986 as the Buckeyes rolled up a then-Big Ten record 715 yards of offense.

Win No. 700 came when the fourth-ranked Buckeyes dominated Illinois 41-6 in November of 1997, playing in a snowstorm and temperatures below freezing. Defensive back Malcolm Jenkins said recently that No. 800 will come if the Buckeyes remain businesslike in their preparation, and intensely focused on each game day.

"You are kind of in awe of things like that - the national championships, the Heisman winners, and all those wins - but as a player you come here knowing how important that history is at Ohio State," Jenkins said. "History means something here, and so does all the tradition that surrounds us. Being a small part of that is a player's dream."

Ohio State running back Chris "Beanie" Wells did not practice yesterday and continued to take treatments on his injured right foot, a spokesman for the Buckeyes said in an e-mail to the news media.

The release said Wells "has been diligent in taking as many treatments as possible from our athletic trainers the past two days." The statement said there was "nothing definitive to report on his diagnosis or prognosis timeline."

Wells, generally regarded as one of the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy this season, was hurt in the third quarter of Ohio State's 43-0 win over Youngstown State on Saturday. He had to be helped from the field after clutching his foot in obvious pain, and was wearing a protective boot when he returned to the Ohio State sideline late in the game.

The No. 2 Buckeyes face Ohio on Saturday, but have a showdown with No. 3 Southern California looming the following week.

Wells, who played with nagging ankle and wrist injuries in 2007 but still managed the best season ever by an Ohio State sophomore (1,609 yards, 15 touchdowns), had X-rays of his foot taken on Saturday immediately after the injury occurred, but Tressel indicated at the time no fractures were found.

Contact Matt Markey at:

mmarkey@theblade.com

or 419-724-6510.



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