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Buckeyes survive 'pathetic' tuneup

September 07, 2008|From the Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- After barely beating Ohio University, No. 3 Ohio State was not a happy football team. In fact, the sluggish win felt more like a loss.

"That was pathetic. It was a pathetic performance," Buckeyes wide receiver Brian Hartline said after the Buckeyes rallied in the fourth quarter for a 26-14 win over Ohio, a 33 1/2 -point underdog. "OU should've won the game. I don't know how we came out with it."

Maybe Ohio State (2-0) had next week's opponent -- No. 1 USC -- on its mind. Or maybe it was the absence of injured running back Chris Wells.

"It kind of looked like [what it] might look like between your opener and your big national stage game," Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel said. "Which is disappointing."

Lightly regarded even in its own Mid-American Conference, Ohio (0-2) put a huge scare into the Buckeyes before they righted things by scoring the last 20 points. With 14 minutes left in the game, the Bobcats, who committed five turnovers, led 14-12.

With Wells watching from the sideline because of a foot injury, the Buckeyes struggled to move the ball until Brandon Saine's short plunge on the third play of the final quarter finally put them on top. Ray Small added some breathing room with a late 69-yard punt return.

"I guess we move on and get ready for USC, but overall, that's not good football," Hartline said. "That was just one of those ones where you want to crawl into a hole and get ready for next week. That's exactly how I feel."

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