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Buckeyes reaffirm No. 1 ranking with 34-17 win

MORGANTOWN WVa.- Going into Saturday`s season-opening game against the West Virginia Mountaineers, there were question marks next to Ohio State`s new starting quarterback, unproven defensive line and new starting running back.As the Buckeyes decisively reaffirmed their No. 1 ranking with a 34-17 victory over the `Neers, those question marks turned into exclamation points.Quarterback Joe Germaine proved he could handle the starting job, completing 18 of 34 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns while taking some vicious hits and absorbing three sacks. The defensive line held WVU tailback Amos Zereoue to minus-three yards rushing in the second half, 77 total, with no deposits into the end zone, while OSU tailback Michael Wiley carried 17 times for 140 yards and one touchdown in his starting debut, dispelling doubts that the Buckeye`s running game was a weak spot in the OSU offense.”I`m a happy football coach,” said John Cooper. “We walked into a hostile crowd and won the game. The important thing was that we walked away without any injuries.”OSU running backs netted 248 yards and two touchdowns in a game where Heisman candidate Zereoue was supposed to provide the fireworks. “Michael Wiley had a great game…. Zereoue is a great football player. We did a great job of stopping him in the second half. We took away his cutback runs and took away his great vision,” said CooperReceivers Dee Miller (six catches for 110 yards and one touchdown) and David Boston (seven catches for 129 yards and one touchdown) performed to expectations while the secondary (17 tackles, two for loss) kept the Mountaineers from making too many long gains.”I told the guys that I was proud of them. They played well, but we have to play better,” said Cooper.After trading field goals on their respective opening drives, the Buckeyes went up 10-3 on a 18-yard touchdown run by Wiley with 5:23 left in the first quarter, and never relinquished the lead. Miller then caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Germaine to complete a five-play, 80-yard scoring drive on OSU`s opening possession in the second quarter.Kicker Dan Stultz added his second field goal of the day from 36 yards out to break the game open, 20-3, however WVU added a last-second touchdown with twenty seconds left in the half.In the second half it was a simple game of attrition. Boston caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from Germaine in the third quarter and freshman running back Jonathan Wells added a 7-yard run late in the fourth quarter. The West Virginia team was obviously tired entering the fourth quarter and it showed with only 82 yards total offense and a last minute touchdown that made the 34-17 score look respectable.

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