After the first quarter of Ohio State’s game against New Mexico State, one might have thought it was April Fools’ Day rather than Halloween. Neither team had put a single point on the board. But the Buckeyes quickly turned it around to leave at the half up 28-0 and finish the game off 45-0 against the Aggies.
Posey switches roles, completes touchdown pass
With five minutes left in the first half, coach Jim Tressel drew up a play to have DeVier Posey pass the ball to Terrelle Pryor in the end zone. But, when push came to shove, Posey ended up completing a touchdown to fellow receiver Dane Sanzenbacher.
“Because [New Mexico State] had been such a man team and chased so hard against Louisiana Tech, we thought we could get a little throw back to the quarterback,” Tressel said. “So it wasn’t such a great idea, but he found a second receiver.”
Tressel said the decision to run the play came because of what they had seen on films and not because they wanted to prove something before the Penn State game next weekend.
Bauserman takes over in the second half
Terrelle Pryor went 11 for 23 for 135 yards and a touchdown in the first half while rushing for 83 yards. Even with numbers like that, Tressel decided to have sophomore Joe Bauserman take over for Pryor after the half.
“He’d been tackled and banged around a little bit, and we had a significant lead and didn’t want to wait to put Joe in until the lead was even greater,” Tressel said. “We wanted him to go in and have to do all of our offense and throw the ball, and I’m not exactly sure how many throws he got, but he got a handful and got to run the team when the game was still in question.”
Bauserman went two for nine for 75 yards.
“It feels good anytime you get out there and get experience. It was nice to go against an actual team instead of the scout team,” Bauserman said. “I gained some confidence today.”
Herron returns with a ‘boom’
Sophomore Dan “Boom” Herron returned to play for the first time since his injury against Wisconsin on Oct. 10. Herron carried six times for 66 yards.
He broke out for a 53-yard touchdown with five seconds left in the third quarter. It was Herron’s longest touchdown run of the season.
With Herron’s return, the Buckeye’s depth at running back seems to be improving.
“We thought after Wednesday’s practice he was starting to turn the corner off that ankle, and then Thursday he looked real good, and we wanted to get him some limited time so that maybe he could be back full speed ahead come next week,” Tressel said. “It’s good to get him back.”
Buckeye defense continues to dominate play
The Buckeye defense handed out its third shutout of the season, previously holding Toledo and Illinois scoreless.
The defense held the Aggies to a total of 62 offensive yards, with seven tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.
The New Mexico State offense had only two first downs and had to punt the ball 11 times.
“The [defense] has been working hard every day to get better, and that’s a testament to our coaches. I really like where we’re headed,” senior captain Kurt Coleman said.
Linebacker Brian Rolle was definitely headed somewhere: straight to the end zone. Rolle recovered an Aggie fumble for a defensive touchdown late in the third quarter to put the Buckeyes up 38-0.
Pettrey injured, return next week uncertain
Kicker Aaron Pettrey went down in the second quarter with an apparent knee injury and did not return to the game. Tressel said that he is unsure if Pettrey will be ready to return next week against Penn State.
Before his injury, Pettrey missed two field goals, both from 52 yards out.
Junior Devin Barclay stepped in for Pettrey, missing two field goals himself from 42 and 36 yards out.
But the backup ended up with five points on the board, making good on two extra points and a 29-yard field goal.
Onside kick leads to two Buckeye touchdowns within two minutes
At the start of the second half, Ohio State completed a five-minute drive with an 8-yard run to the end zone from Pryor.
Having gone 15 minutes into the game without scoring, the Buckeyes decided to try and take the ball back and Pettrey successfully recovered his own onside kick.
What followed was the quickest touchdown drive of the game as the Buckeyes scored on five plays in one minute and 55 seconds when Pryor connected with Sanzenbacher in the end zone.
“It was a surprise, but our special teams coach had been drilling for that all week. But it’s a teachable moment,” said New Mexico Sate coach DeWayne Walker. “We’ll sit down and watch the tape and learn from it.”