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Overtime Is on Ohio State's Side Again

Buckeyes repel North Carolina State in third extra period, 44-38, for their third OT victory in the last six games.

September 14, 2003|From Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Something about overtime brings out the best in Ohio State.

Craig Krenzel hit Michael Jenkins on a seven-yard scoring pass in the third overtime and No. 3 Ohio State made a goal-line stand to beat No. 24 North Carolina State, 44-38, on Saturday.

"Our guys never stop playing. They never stop believing they have a chance," Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel said. "College overtime is extraordinary. It's great football."

It was the first overtime game in 81-year-old Ohio Stadium, coming in the facility's 472nd intercollegiate game.

Will Allen barreled into North Carolina State tailback T.A. McLendon on fourth-and-goal, lowering his left shoulder to stop McLendon inches from the end zone as the defending national champion Buckeyes (3-0) won their 17th consecutive game.

It took several moments for the officials to determine McLendon had not crossed the goal line. When they signaled he had not, the Buckeyes ran around the field, tossing their helmets in the air in celebration.

"I saw an opening. I don't know who hit me, but I fell with my arms in the air," McLendon said. "I think I have it every play, but I guess I didn't here."

McLendon lay where he fell, surrounded by teammates and coaches. Some protested to the officials as they left the field.

Last Jan. 3, No. 2 Ohio State needed double-overtime to beat top-ranked Miami, 31-24, in the Fiesta Bowl, capturing its first national championship in 34 years. The Buckeyes also beat Illinois in overtime in their next-to-last regular-season game last season to remain unbeaten.

North Carolina State (1-2) trailed, 24-7, with about eight minutes remaining in regulation but scored on its next three possessions to force overtime.

Philip Rivers, who completed 36 of 52 passes for 315 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions, led the charge. He found Jerricho Cotchery for a nine-yard score, A.J. Davis picked off a Krenzel pass and Adam Kiker kicked a 24-yard field goal with 5:51 left to cut the lead to 24-17. North Carolina State pulled even on Rivers' five-yard scoring pass to T.J. Williams with 21 seconds left.

The Wolfpack won the coin flip and elected to play defense first. Ohio State needed four plays to score, Krenzel connecting with Ben Hartsock on a 10-yard pass and Mike Nugent adding the first of two extra-point kicks in overtime.

The Wolfpack countered with a three-play scoring drive, with Rivers hitting Tramain Hall for the score on second-and-goal from the 17. Kiker added the point-after kick.

North Carolina State had the ball first in the second overtime, and scored in three plays on McLendon's pitch-sweep around right end with Kiker converting the kick.

Krenzel, who completed 26 of 36 passes for 273 yards with career highs of four touchdowns and three interceptions, found tight end Ryan Hamby over the middle on a two-yard pass. Nugent's extra point tied it at 38.

After scoring in the third overtime, Ohio State tried a two-point conversion, as required by NCAA rules, and Krenzel's pass for Maurice Hall was batted down by linebacker Pat Thomas.

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