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No. 9 Buckeyes Win by a Foot, 24-21

September 12, 2004|From Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In the quiet of the Marshall dressing room, a simple fact stood between the Thundering Herd and one of their biggest upsets ever.

"We had a chance," Coach Bob Pruett said softly. "They made their kick. We missed ours."

Mike Nugent kicked a 55-yard field goal as time expired to give No. 9 Ohio State a 24-21 victory over Marshall on Saturday.

Not even Nugent was sure the ball had gone through the uprights.

"Every time I hit a solid ball it goes back and forth a little bit," he said. "It kind of scared me at first. It was going dead-center and then it started going back in. I was just telling it to go in and that last second it made it by about 2 inches."

The Buckeyes (2-0) have won 13 of their last 14 games decided by a touchdown or less over the last two-plus seasons.

With the score tied, Ohio State took over at its 45 after a shanked punt by Ian O'Connor with 25 seconds left. It was O'Connor's second crucial poor kick in the quarter. He missed a 35-yard field goal with the score tied, 21-21, and just over three minutes left.

After the shank, Justin Zwick hit Santonio Holmes -- who had 10 catches for 218 yards and two touchdowns -- for gains of nine and eight yards. Zwick then completed a five-yard pass to tight end Ryan Hamby, with the clock continuing to run because the Buckeyes were out of timeouts.

Zwick was able to get under center and stop the clock by downing the ball with two seconds left, with a motion penalty called on the play that made the kick even longer.

Nugent then had more than enough leg -- and time -- to put the ball through. It matched the longest field goal in Ohio Stadium's 82 years.

"We're so close to getting a big win and it just slips through your fingers," Marshall quarterback Stan Hill said.

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