Ohio State cruises to Alamo Bowl win

Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2004


  Oklahoma State quarterback Donovan Woods (8) is sacked by Ohio State's Mike Kudla (57) during the third quarter of the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2004. AP Photo/Eric Gay

Oklahoma State quarterback Donovan Woods (8) is sacked by Ohio State's Mike Kudla (57) during the third quarter of the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2004.

AP Photo/Eric Gay

SAN ANTONIO — Even with its second-string quarterback in charge, Ohio State had an easy time of it in the Alamo Bowl.

Justin Zwick, replacing the suspended Troy Smith, threw for 189 yards and a touchdown, and Ted Ginn Jr. and Lydell Ross each scored, leading No. 24 Ohio State to a 33-7 win over Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.

''Justin did an excellent job and did what was asked of him,'' Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. ''I told someone that Justin was playing as best as he's ever played.''

Ginn, a true freshman with dazzling speed, caught six passes for 78 yards and rushed for another 51 yards and a touchdown.

Zwick, who lost the starting job to Smith after hurting his shoulder in the sixth game, completed 17 of 27 passes despite a mild hamstring pull.

Ross rushed for 99 yards on 12 carries, and Mike Nugent kicked four field goals for the Buckeyes (8-4) to become the school's career scoring leader.

Smith, who led Ohio State to victories in four of its last five games, was suspended by the team last week. University officials said he accepted an unspecified gift from a team booster in violation of NCAA rules.

The Buckeyes took advantage of two early turnovers, and never let the Cowboys (7-5) get anything going offensively.

Oklahoma State quarterback Donovan Woods completed 15 of 34 passes for 137 yards and rushed for another 80 yards. Vernand Morency, one of the nation's top rushers this season, was limited to 24 yards on eight carries.

On the first series, Woods underthrew receiver Chijuan Mack and the pass was picked off by Ohio State linebacker Bobby Carpenter. Three plays later, Zwick hit a diving Anthony Gonzalez with a 23-yard touchdown pass.

After a 37-yard field goal by Nugent, the Cowboys were driving when Woods lost his grip on the ball near midfield while trying to run up the middle. Defensive lineman Joel Penton recovered and Nugent capped the drive with a 35-yard field goal to give Ohio State a 13-0 lead with nearly six minutes remaining in the first quarter.

''We were slugging along — it wasn't like we were moving the ball,'' Cowboys coach Les Miles said of his team's early performance. ''And when you give away the ball on a short field, it becomes 13-0.''

In the second, with the Buckeyes at midfield, Zwick threw to a screen pass to Ginn on the left side and the Cowboys cornered him for what looked like a modest gain.

But Ginn eluded three tacklers and broke back to the right sideline for a 42-yard pickup to the Oklahoma State 9. Ross capped the 78-yard drive by scoring from the 1, making it 20-0.

''I try to make something out of nothing if I get trapped,'' Ginn said. ''You always got to keep your feet moving. You're always moving forward — that's what we've been taught.''

Houston Bowl Colorado 33, Texas-El Paso 28

HOUSTON — Joel Klatt threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns and Mason Crosby kicked four field goals, leading Colorado to a victory over Texas-El Paso.

Klatt keyed a fourth-quarter comeback by the plodding Buffaloes (8-5), who tried to keep pace with UTEP, which is ranked eighth in the nation in scoring offense. Colorado led 3-0 midway through the first quarter and trailed until seizing the lead late in the game.

Facing a fourth-and-3 at its own 35, Colorado used a bit of trickery. Punter John Torp raced 22 yards around the left end on a fake punt for the first down. Two plays later, Klatt threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Evan Judge for the go-ahead score with 8:43 left.

Klatt was flattened by UTEP defensive end Ibok Ibok as he released the ball and didn't see the touchdown. He got up off the turf slowly and wobbled off the field into the arms of celebrating teammates.

Klatt completed 24 of 33 passes, five to Joel Klopfenstein for 134 yards. Bobby Purify rushed 80 yards on 22 carries.

The Miners (8-4) still had a chance to win the game in the final minutes.

On third-and-4 from the UTEP 25, Jordan Palmer completed a 15-yard pass to Johnnie Lee Higgins, keeping a late drive alive. But Palmer misfired badly on his final four passes, and the comeback try fizzled.

Colorado coach Gary Barnett was doused with a Gatorade cooler in the waning seconds, and dozens of players came over to embrace their embattled leader. Colorado's first bowl victory since the 1999 Insight. com Bowl capped an improbable turnaround for the Buffaloes, who went through an offseason of scandal and turmoil.

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