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Ohio State Wins Ugly, 19-10

October 19, 2003|From Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jim Tressel felt he had to reassure the 105,000-plus Ohio State fans.

"Don't be disappointed," the Ohio State coach counseled after the No. 8 Buckeyes' 19-10 snoozefest over No. 9 Iowa on Saturday. "That was a good football game."

At least it was for the guys on defense and special teams.

Michael Jenkins returned a punt for a touchdown and Donte Whitner fell on a blocked punt in the end zone.

"The story of the game is we didn't get the job done on special teams, and that's a tough one to live with," said Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz, who had all of his team's points scored by kicker Nate Kaeding.

The Buckeyes were coming off their first loss in 20 games, a 17-10 defeat in the rain at Wisconsin last week.

It only appeared they were knee deep in mud this week. Ohio State's offense -- with every starter from last year's national championship team back except for suspended tailback Maurice Clarett -- had one of its worst days ever.

The Buckeyes, 6-1 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten, had 185 yards of total offense, rushing for 56 yards in 42 attempts. Ohio State came into the game ranked 109th in total offense of the 117 Division I-A teams, and didn't move up.

"Offensively, I thought we improved as the day went on," Tressel said with a straight face.

The Hawkeyes (5-2, 1-2) all but gave the game to the Buckeyes. Trailing 17-10, Iowa blew its final chance to pull even when center Eric Rothwell snapped the ball over quarterback Nathan Chandler's head and through the end zone for a safety with 3:03 left. Rothwell had been switched to center when starter Brian Ferentz, son of the coach, was injured.

The Hawkeyes' only touchdown came on a fake field goal, with Kaeding scoring on a five-yard run.

Asked what more he could have asked of his defense, Ferentz said, "They could have scored. That would have helped."

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