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Ohio State displays its excitable side

Fueled by the emotion of their quarterback and coach, the No. 10 Buckeyes score 24 points in a row to put away Washington, 33-14.

September 16, 2007|From the Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Usually stoic in his scarlet sweater vest, Jim Tressel was jumping around the sideline.

In the huddle, normally low-key Todd Boeckman barked at his Ohio State teammates, as the quarterback making his third start joined his coach in trying to ignite the Buckeyes.

It worked.

Chris Wells ran for 135 yards and a touchdown, Boeckman threw for two more scores and No. 10 Ohio State scored 24 consecutive points in the second half to beat Washington, 33-14, on Saturday.

"Oh, man, I was really surprised. I've never seen Todd like that," Wells said of the 23-year-old junior replacement for Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith.

Ohio State (3-0) tied a school record for consecutive wins in the regular season with 21, matching a mark set in 1967-69.

"It was gut-check time for us, to see who wanted it the most. As you can see, we wanted it the most today," Wells said.

Boeckman completed 14 of 25 passes for 218 yards. He laughed when asked about his outbursts, after the Buckeyes won for the 22nd time in 23 games overall.

"I'm not a guy who speaks up much, but we had a lot of dumb penalties in the first half," Boeckman said. "You could see it in their eyes," he added about his teammates needing the boost.

Linebacker James Laurinaitis intercepted passes by Washington's Jake Locker twice deep in Buckeyes territory. Last season's Nagurski Award winner as the nation's best defensive player also had a key sack of the Huskies' redshirt freshman during the decisive sequence of the third quarter, when Ohio State turned a 7-3 deficit into a 17-7 lead.

As Brandon Saine ran 37 yards for a touchdown on the game's final play, Tressel was getting a bucket of ice water dumped on his head to celebrate the 200th victory of his career.

Yet afterward, only small patches of the sweater were damp, as if order had returned to Tressel.

"Dry fit," Tressel joked of his signature sideline outfit. "There wasn't panic. There wasn't fear."

But there was doubt.

Washington (2-1) was inside Ohio State territory six times against the nation's top-ranked defense. The Huskies got 102 yards rushing and 153 yards passing from Locker.

But key mistakes -- including Locker's three interceptions -- doomed them in their sixth straight loss to a top-10 team.

"We obviously made a lot of mistakes," Locker said. "You can't make against a team that good." Washington was poised to increase its 7-3 lead on the opening drive of the second half, moving to OSU's 19 on a personal-foul penalty.

But three consecutive plays lost yardage, the last a sack by Laurinaitis at the 29. Kurt Coleman then blocked a 46-yard field goal attempt by Ryan Perkins.

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