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Article on the Luckeyes


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</td><td class="v1">Posted on Thu, Sep. 16, 2004</td></tr><tr><td colspan="2"> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="5" align="right"> <tbody><tr><td><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="250"><tbody><tr><td><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr><td align="left" class="adlabel"> <script language="JavaScript1.1"> _krdDartInc++; document.write('<SCRIPT LANGUAGE=\\"JavaScript1.1\\" SRC="http://ad.doubleclick.net/adj/charlotte.sports/sports;kw=center6;c2=sports_homepage:wink2:os=center6;group=rectangle;tile='+_krdDartInc+';ord='+_krdDartOrd+'?"><\/SCRIPT>'); </script><script language=\"\&quot;JavaScript1.1\&quot;\" src="http://ad.doubleclick.net/adj/charlotte.sports/sports;kw=center6;c2=sports_homepage:wink2:os=center6;group=rectangle;tile=2;ord=1095357397482?"></script><table width="300" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tbody><tr> </tr> <tr> </tr> <tr> </tr> <form target="_new" method="get" action="http://ad.doubleclick.net/click%3Bh=v3|3188|3|0|%2a|q%3B10308717%3B0-0%3B1%3B7939418%3B255-0|0%3B6549443|6567339|1%3B%3B%7Esscs%3D%3fhttp://www.shoplocal.com/charlotte/new_user_entry.aspx"></form> <tr> <td width="182" bgcolor="#9999cc" colspan="2"> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" height="29" width="182" id="Table1"> <tbody><tr> <td><input type="hidden" name="adref" value="sldc_m_300x250"></td> </tr> </tbody></table> </td> </tr> <tr> <td>
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</td></tr><tr><td class="relatedstoryborder"><table border="0" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="1" width="100%"> <tbody><tr><td class="relatedstorytitlebkg" align="center"> I M A G E S A N D R E L A T E D C O N T E N T </td></tr> <tr><td align="center" class="relatedstoryborder"> <table align="center"> <tbody><tr><td align="center">
</td></tr><tr><td align="right" width="200"> Associated Press </td></tr><tr><td align="left" class="v1" width="200"> Ohio State coach Jim Tressel maintains a good balance between calm and intense in close games, one of his players says.</td></tr></tbody></table> </td></tr> </tbody></table><script language="JavaScript"> <!-- hide script from non-javascript-enabled browsers function getSite(){ foundSite = false; site=document.location.hostname; endPos=site.indexOf(".com"); if (endPos >= 1) { foundSite = true; site = site.substr(0, endPos); startPos = site.lastIndexOf("."); site = site.substr(startPos + 1); } if (!foundSite) { site = "charlotte"; } return site; } function getPublication(){ publication=document.location.pathname; startPos=publication.indexOf("/mld/"); publication=publication.substr(startPos+5); endPos=publication.indexOf("/"); publication=publication.substr(0,endPos); return publication; } function openSlideshow(url) { width=480; height=374+270; y=Math.floor((screen.availHeight-height)/2); x=Math.floor((screen.width-width)/2); window.open(url,'slideshow','width='+width+',height='+height+',top='+y+',left='+x+',scrollbars=yes,resizable=yes').focus(); } // --> </script> </td></tr> <tr><td class="relatedstoryborder"><table border="0" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="1" width="100%"> <tbody><tr><td class="relatedstorytitlebkg" align="center"> R E L A T E D L I N K S </td></tr> <tr><td class="relatedstorybkg"> • ACC notes | Botched return still haunts Washington </td></tr> <tr><td class="relatedstorybkg"> • Roundup | Ivan forcing Auburn to alter its plans </td></tr> <tr><td class="relatedstorybkg"> • Newton to start at QB for Gamecocks </td></tr> <tr><td class="relatedstorybkg"> • Amato amazed at Bowden's poise after tragedies </td></tr> <tr><td class="relatedstorybkg"> • UNC linebacker sidelined for 'disciplinary matter' </td></tr> <tr><td class="relatedstorybkg"> • Clemson players like cool jerseys </td></tr> </tbody></table></td></tr> </tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table>

Close wins an Ohio State theme


Some call it luck, but Buckeyes 14-1 when margin is 7 or fewer

[size=-1]KEN TYSIAC[/size]

[size=-1]Raleigh Bureau[/size]

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Call them the "Luckeyes" if you want, like their detractors in Big Ten country do.

Make fun of their sometimes inept offense and their inability to trounce seemingly overmatched opponents.

Ohio State's players don't care. They just keep winning close games.

"We put ourselves in situations where we can win, and at the end of the game, for the most part, we've been successful," said Ohio State quarterback Justin Zwick, whose team visits N.C. State on Saturday.

Since 2002, the Buckeyes are 14-1 in games decided by seven points or fewer.

They won the Fiesta Bowl and the 2002 national title in double overtime against Miami with the help of a disputed pass interference call that extended the game.

They have defeated Purdue and Penn State twice in each of the past two seasons, with all four games decided by six points or fewer. They have edged non-BCS conference foes Cincinnati, San Diego State, Bowling Green and Marshall by a touchdown or less.

Ohio State won 23-19 in 2002 when two Cincinnati players dropped passes in the end zone in the final minute. Last week, Mike Nugent made a 55-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in a 24-21 defeat of Marshall.

On Sept. 13 of last year, Will Allen and A.J. Hawk stopped N.C. State's T.A. McLendon six inches short of the goal line on fourth down in the third overtime to clinch a 44-38 victory.

"I just think it's drive and fight," said N.C. State halfback Tramain Hall. "Those guys know how to fight. Those guys don't give up."

N.C. State coach Chuck Amato said Ohio State's success creates confidence and more success in close games. He said the Buckeyes win because they play great defense and have an excellent kicker.

Ohio State ranked second in the nation in scoring defense (13.1 points per game) in 2002 and 16th (17.6 ppg) in 2003. Nugent is a senior who was a first-team All-American in 2002 and has made 44 of his past 51 field goal attempts.

He said he gets nervous just like any other kicker, but said experience in close games helps.

"It gives us a little confidence for the next one, because we know if we get in that situation again that we've been through it a lot more than other teams can say they have been," Nugent said.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel disagrees. He remembers the defeats more than the victories, particularly a 35-21 loss to Michigan last season.

The Buckeyes were down 28-21 and had the ball late in the game and weren't able to keep it close, let alone win.

"Obviously we don't have anything where we get a free pass when it comes to a close game," Tressel said.

Center Nick Mangold said Tressel maintains a good balance between calm and intense in close games, which helps Ohio State succeed. Beyond that, the Buckeyes have few explanations for their extraordinary record in close games.

"We're just happy to be close at the end of the game where we have a chance to win," Zwick said. "...We hear that stuff (`Luckeyes') all the time. But in anything you do, when you work hard and play hard, luck is going to have something to do with it."

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