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Game Thread Game One: #1 Ohio State 35, Northern Illinois 12 (9/2/06)


OSU starts fast, ends sloppy

By Doug Harris
Staff Writer

Sunday, September 03, 2006
COLUMBUS — Northern Illinois University coach Joe Novak said he was grateful for having played the nation's top-ranked football team — even after absorbing a 35-12 pounding Saturday — because it likely stripped his players of any illusions they may have had about their abilities.
Playing the preseason Mid-American Conference favorite, it seems, can have the same effect.
The Buckeyes stormed to touchdowns on their first four possessions — all in a mere 15 minutes, five seconds — before pressing the cruise button and losing their edge.
OSU quarterback Troy Smith tallied 149 of his 297 passing yards in the first quarter and connected on TD passes of 5 and 58 yards to Ted Ginn Jr. and 15 yards to Anthony Gonzalez.
But the Buckeyes lost fumbles twice inside the Huskies' 10-yard line. And the rebuilt defense was schooled by Chihuahua-sized tailback Garrett Wolfe, who rushed for 171 yards on 26 carries and had another 114 yards on five receptions.
"Sometimes you get an early lead and you get a little sloppy," OSU coach Jim Tressel said. "We can't have a holding penalty, which stalls the drive on offense. We can't have turnovers that keep us from scoring points. We can't miss tackles, and we missed some tackles. Despite how good Garrett Wolfe is, there are some guys we play in the next 11 weeks that are pretty darn good as well."
Turning point
After spotting the Buckeyes a 21-0 lead, the Huskies galloped to the OSU 11-yard line late in the first quarter.
But on second-and-9, linebacker Larry Grant stepped in front of a Phil Horvath pass and returned it 49 yards. Give the Huskies credit for showing grit the rest of the way, but the decision thereafter was never in doubt.
Stat of the game
The Buckeyes' scoring drives covered 66, 58, 57 and 20 yards (the latter after an 11-yard Huskie punt). Total time elapsed: 6:51.
"(OSU's) offense is going to score a lot of points," Novak said. "I voted for them as No. 1 in the preseason, and I'll vote for them as No. 1 again."
By the Numbers
40 Triumphs for the Buckeyes in their last 41 nonconference games in Ohio Stadium
28 Consecutive wins in home openers for OSU
21 All-time victories for the Buckeyes with just one loss against teams currently in the Mid-American Conference
8 Consecutive wins for Ohio State, dating to last season
4 Sacks by the Buckeyes for 24 yards in losses Saturday
3 Regular-season games last year in which OSU gave up at least 300 total yards, a figure topped Saturday by Northern Illinois
1 Opposing player to rush for more than 100 yards against OSU last season (Minnesota's Laurence Maroney, 127 on 25 carries).
1 Opposing player to rush for 100 yards against the Buckeyes this season (Northern Illinois' Garrett Wolfe, 171 on 26 attempts)
0 Sacks recorded Saturday by Northern Illinois


Two tailbacks stand out in Ohio St. opener

By Kyle Nagel
Staff Writer

Sunday, September 03, 2006
Thoughts and observations from Saturday's Ohio State-Northern Illinois football game, as I marvel at how sharp Buckeyes tailback Antonio Pittman looks in his suit:
1. Overall, good for Ohio State. Rushing defense on the corners shaky, lack of big plays late, but it's hard to argue with touchdowns on the first four possessions.
2. Larry Grant worked hard for his yards. Seriously, did you see Grant, the Ohio State linebacker, after he intercepted a Phil Horvath pass in the first quarter? I think they switched footballs to one weighted 37 pounds.
Officially it was a 49-yard return, and I'll bet he ran that distance in a shade less than 10 minutes.
3. Garrett Wolfe is slippery. If you like big rushing numbers, keep checking Northern Illinois box scores for the season. Wolfe, the NIU senior running back, looked like he covered his uniform in Vaseline.
If he spins, cuts, ducks, dodges and accelerates enough to run for 171 yards on a Buckeyes defensive line that looked impressive in the pass rush, imagine what he'll do to Buffalo, Indiana State and Ball State.
4. The OSU alumni band outnumbers the populations of some countries. It performed at halftime, including double versions of Script Ohio, to the wild applause of the Ohio Stadium crowd.
How important is the band at OSU? It has its own 24-page media guide.
5. It could be a long season in the Mid-American Conference. Northern Illinois is widely considered the best team in the MAC, and the league was once considered a dangerous opponent for its big-pass offenses.
Um ... yeah.


Buckeyes run well without QB Smith having to scamper

By Doug Harris
Staff Writer

Sunday, September 03, 2006
COLUMBUS — Ohio State managed to rack up 173 rushing yards against a Northern Illinois defense obsessed with stopping the run — a healthy sign.
Here's something else that bodes well: Dual-threat quarterback Troy Smith didn't contribute an inch.
Junior Antonio Pittman tallied 111 yards on 19 carries, and freshman Chris Wells rushed for 50 yards on 10 attempts.
Smith completed 18-of-25 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns, but he ran just once for minus-1 yard.
OSU coach Jim Tressel said the Buckeyes' game plan didn't call for many designed runs from Smith, who picked apart the Huskie secondary seemingly at will.
"The one time I called a run, he looked like me running out there," Tressel joked, adding, "We didn't have any step-ups like we typically do in a ballgame, but we'll have plenty of those as the season goes."
Fumble depresses Wells
Wells drew roars from the crowd of 103,896 for several tackle-ripping runs, but his day was marred by a fumble at the Huskie 2-yard line late in the third quarter.
OSU didn't bring Wells to the post-game press conference, but Pittman said his fellow Akron native was berating himself.
"It happens," Pittman said. "I fumbled a lot as a freshman. That's one thing you can't do: get down on yourself. That's when you start losing confidence in your ability. You worry too much about holding on to the ball, you forget about doing what you do best.
"I told him not to worry about it."
Wolfe burns 'D'
The OSU defense was gashed twice for long gains on swing passes by the slithery Garrett Wolfe.
The 5-foot-7 senior scampered 31 yards behind perfect blocking on the game's second play, and he caught the Buckeyes in a blitz during a 65-yard jaunt late in the first quarter.
The nation's active leader in career rushing yards also had runs of 51 and 22 yards while finishing with 171 on 26 carries.
"Even though he's gotten a lot of preseason hype, he was better than the hype," OSU senior safety Brandon Mitchell said. "He's one of the best backs I've faced since I've been here.
"The field was wet and slippery. I was slipping around. The defense was slipping around. But he was making cuts like the field was dry."
The Buckeyes have a goal of giving up an average of 3.3 yards per carry, but they were knifed for 4.6 yards per attempt by the Huskies.
But the OSU defense still drew raves from Wolfe, despite its youth.
"They are fast and athletic," he said. "The two defensive tackles (David Patterson and Quinn Pitcock) cause lots of problems. ... It's Ohio State — there's not going to be too much of a drop-off in talent."
Freeman contributes
Outside linebacker Marcus Freeman stayed on the field through most of the game, but the Bucks alternated four players at the other two LB spots. True freshman Ross Homan and junior Larry Grant spelled starters John Kerr and James Laurinaitis. Freeman was credited with 6.5 tackles, second on the team to Mitchell's nine.
"I had some good spots, and some spots where I missed a few tackles," the sophomore from Wayne High School said.
Rule has impact
The new NCAA rules to shorten games this year seem to be working. OSU games last year averaged 132.3 plays, and Tressel said the NCAA average was 141.
But the Buckeyes and Huskies combined Saturday for just 126.
Buckeye bits
• On the first play of his OSU career — and the team's first offensive snap — redshirt freshman receiver Brian Hartline caught a 32-yard pass.
• Former Buckeye stars Mike Doss and Jonathan Wells, who play for the Indianapolis Colts, watched the game from the sidelines.
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By the Numbers - OSU vs. Northern Illinois By Jeff Amey
The wait is finally over, Buckeye football is back!

The Buckeyes opened their 2006 season against a Northern Illinois team that was expected to give them a tough game. Instead, the Huskies were nearly run out of the building in the first quarter. The Buckeyes scored early and often, effectively putting the game away by halftime. With the big lead, we got to see a lot of players on the field on both sides of the ball.

All in all, the game wasn't nearly as close as the 35-12 final score seems to indicate, but it's clear that there is a lot of work to do before the Buckeyes travel to Austin next week to take on the Texas Longhorns. Let's take a look at the stats.
Run/Pass Breakdown
63 Total plays--489 yards--7.8 ypp
27 pass (43%)--20/27 for 318 yards 3 TD
36 runs (57%) for 171 yards 2 TD--4.8 ypc​
11 Total Drives
ave. of 5.7 plays--44.5 yards
ave. start--OSU 41​
1st Down--31 plays (49%) for 265 yards
12 pass (39%)--9/12 for 151 yards 1 TD
19 runs (61%) for 114 yards--6.0 ypc
ave. gain of 8.5 yards​
2nd Down--21 plays (33%) for 142 yards
7 pass (33%)--6/7 for 99 yards
14 runs (67%) for 43 yards 1 TD--3.1 ypc
ave. of 6.5 yards to go
ave. gain of 6.8 yards​
3rd Down--10 plays (16%) for 74 yards
8 pass (80%)--5/8 for 68 yards 2 TD
2 runs (20%) for 6 yards 1 TD--3.0 ypc
ave. of 5.8 yards to go
ave. gain of 7.4 yards
conversions--6/10 (60%)​
4th Down--1 play (2%) for 8 yards
1 run (100%) for 8 yards--8.0 ypc
ave. of 1 yard to go
ave. gain of 8.0 yards
conversions--1/1 (100%)​
Playaction Passing
5/6 for 153 yards 1 TD​
First Downs--20
11 by run
9 by pass

Two back formations--28 plays (44%)
5 pass (18%)--4/5 for 142 yards 1 TD
23 runs (82%) for 116 yards 2 TD--5.0 ypc​
Shotgun Formations--21 plays (33%)
18 pass (86%)--14/18 for 167 yards 1 TD
3 runs (14%) for 5 yards--1.7 ypc​
One back formations--14 plays (22%)
4 pass (29%)--2/4 for 9 yards 1 TD
10 runs (71%) for 50 yards--5.0 ypc

draw--3 (8%) for 16 yards--5.3 ypc
sweep--1 (3%) for 10 yards--10.0 ypc
end around--none
base/Iso--11 (31%) for 36 yards 1 TD--3.3 ypc
power--2 (6%) for 4 yards--2.0 ypc
QB run/scramble--none
option--1 (3%) for -1 yards--(-1.0) ypc
stretch--17 (47%) for 108 yards 1 TD--6.4 ypc
TEAM--1 (3%) for -2 yards--(-2.0) ypc
Other Stats of Note
  • 1 offensive penalty for the game
  • Ohio State started on NIU side of the 50 three times--3 TD's
  • 4 for 6 in red zone scoring (4 TD's)
  • No sacks and 2 turnovers (2 fumbles)
  • 43 of 63 offensive plays took place on NIU's side of the 50--(68%)
  • 14 of 63 plays went for no gain or loss--(22%)
  • Number of Troy Smith scrambles--0
  • Number of OSU drives ending in a punt--1
  • Number of OSU offensive players with at least one touch--12
Before we start taking a closer look at the Ohio State offense and defense, some credit needs to go to Northern Illinois, especially halfback Garrett Wolfe. Wolfe ended the game with nearly 300 yards of total offense (rushing and receiving) and pretty much put on a one man show of making the Ohio State defense look silly trying to tackle him. Wolfe will be one of the, if not THE, best back the Buckeyes will face this season.

Moving on to the Buckeyes, there was a lot to take away from this game. The Buckeyes played a lot of players on both sides of the ball, and we got some glimpses of players that make up the future of Buckeye football. There has been a lot of concern about the Buckeye defense and their inability to shut down the Huskies, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it looked at times.

When you talk about what went right for the Buckeyes on Saturday, it mostly centers around the offense. The Buckeye offense looked to be an unstoppable juggernaut through the first 15:04 of the game, scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions, and despite a couple of turnovers and missed field goals, looked pretty strong through the rest of the game. Ten of the eleven Buckeye possessions for the day ended in Northern Illinois territory (44.5 yards per drive) and the Buckeyes punted only once.

Troy Smith picked up right where he left off in the second half of last season, throwing for nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns. Troy looked completely in control of the offense, and strong in the passing game, hitting 13 of 17 passes for over 200 yards in the first half alone. The amazing thing about Troy's game Saturday, especially considering his play over the past two seasons, was that he didn't scramble even once during the game, and ran only one option play. He stayed in the pocket and made all of his throws in the face of whatever pressure the Huskies could get on him. There's no way to still qualify him as a running back who can throw after that game. He has developed into a great quarterback.

This, of course, wouldn't be possible without the play of the offensive line in front of him and the guys to which he is throwing the ball. The 2006 version of the Buckeye's offensive line will be as much of a strength as last season, and the receiver corps looks as if it will live up to the lofty pre-season expectations. Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez were their usual good selves, but we also witnessed the emergence of several other young receivers to add to the mix, lead by sophomore Brian Robiskie. It looks as if the passing game won't miss a beat without Santonio Holmes from last season.

When it came to the running game against the Huskies, it was a solid, but unspectacular game for the Buckeyes. Starter Antonio Pittman ended up with just over 100 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown, but that wasn't what got the Buckeye faithful excited. Prized recruit Chris Wells saw his first action in a Buckeye uniform, and didn't disappoint (as long as you excuse his fumble inside the NIU 5), finishing the day with 52 yards on 10 carries and his first career touchdown. Add to that a decent showing from Maurice Wells and it's pretty clear that the running game is likely to be a good compliment to the passing game this season.

Overall, it was a good game for the offense, despite the little mistakes. In the first half, the Buckeyes gave Texas plenty to think about with multiple formations and personnel groupings on offense. It was interesting to see the Buckeyes run so much out of the classic I formation, as well as calling only one running play for Troy Smith. Running out of the I so well enabled the Buckeyes to hit some big plays to Ted Ginn off of playaction.

Flipping over to the defense, the water gets a lot muddier. On the surface, it looks like the Buckeye defense had a fairly bad day. Northern Illinois finished the game with over 350 yards of total offense, with halfback Garrett Wolfe accounting for 285 of those. Those statistics are a bit misleading. While it wasn't the best game for the defense, there were several circumstances that contributed to Wolfe's big day.

First, the Buckeyes played a lot of different players on defense...25 different players to be exact. It seemed as if the coaching staff was trying to see as many different players in action as they could, and considering they are replacing nine starters from last season, they had good reason. It didn't do much for defensive continuity, however. A big portion of playing good defense comes from knowing and trusting where your teammates are going to be, and it's pretty safe to say that this defense hasn't developed that yet.

Second, after the Buckeyes built their 28-0 lead, the defense was very vanilla. They played a lot of cover three defense with very little blitzing in the second half, which, in case you don't know how cover three works, has the cornerbacks dropping back to get a deep third of the field, effectively taking them out of run support.

Third, the vast majority of Northern Illinois' offensive output came on just two types of plays. The Buckeyes were caught by screen passes to Wolfe on two different occasions for big yardage, and in the running game, Northern Illinois ran the same pull play to the outside over and over to great success in the second half. The success of that play owed a little bit to the fact that the Buckeyes were playing so much cover three and had no run support from the corners. All of the pursuit was coming inside out, and the Huskies had great success cutting that off for big gains.

All excuses aside, it still wasn't the greatest day for the linebackers and safeties. Not only did they look timid and hesitant on many plays, but their angles and tackling left a lot to be desired as well. I feel most of this can be attributed to inexperience as individuals and as a group and will improve as the season goes on, but leaves most Buckeye fans a little less confident about going up against Texas next week. Those worries may be a little pre-mature because of the circumstances that led to Wolfe's big day.

On the bright side, the defensive line looked very tough from the first snap of the game, and will obviously be the strength of the defense this season. They finished the day with six sacks and many tackles for loss on the day. Vernon Gholston stood out over the course of the game, as it seemed he was in the backfield wreaking havoc on nearly every play.

Also on the bright side, Northern Illinois didn't really do anything with the ball when it mattered in the first quarter. So much was made about Wolfe and the Huskie offense after they managed to get things going in the second half, but no one seems to bring up the fact that the Huskies barely managed anything in the first half outside of the long screen pass play to Wolfe. I think most Buckeye fans are going to be pleasantly surprised by the Buckeye defense against Texas. It just wasn't as bad as it seemed.

Overall, this was a pretty good way for the Buckeyes to start the season. While it wasn't good that they lost the turnover battle and left 20 points on the field (two fumbles inside the opponent's 10 and two missed field goals), it is a little reassuring to know that the score could've easily been in the fifties. Going up against a back like Wolfe and giving up a lot of yards on defense also makes sure this team won't get complacent in the future. The defense has some work to do to improve, but knowing that they have work to do will help keep this team from resting on its laurels.

Now it's time to get ready for the big rematch with Texas. Let's see if the Buckeyes can do enough to erase some of those memories from last year. The first huge bump in the road to defending their number one ranking lies in Austin.
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Official Defensive Stats

Ohio State
## Player Solo Ast Tot TFL/Yds FF FR-Yd Intc BrUp Blkd Sack/Yds QH
32 Mitchell, Brandon 8 2 9.0 1.0/2 . . . . . . .
1 Freeman, Marcus 4 5 6.5 0.5/1 . . . 1 . . .
21 Russell, Anderson 4 2 5.0 1.0/1 . . . . . . .
99 Richardson, Jay 3 1 3.5 2.5/8 . . . . . 1.0/3 .
50 Gholston, Vernon 2 3 3.5 2.0/11 . . . . . 1.5/9 .
33 Laurinaitis, James 2 2 3.0 . . . . . . . .
2 Jenkins, Malcolm 2 1 2.5 . . . . . . . .
51 Homan, Ross 2 1 2.5 1.0/2 . . . . . . .
14 Smith, Antonio 1 3 2.5 0.5/3 . . . . . . .
78 Barrow, Alex 2 . 2.0 1.0/2 . . . . . . .
3 O'Neal, Jamario 1 1 1.5 0.5/4 . . . . . 0.5/4 .
97 Patterson, David 1 1 1.5 1.0/3 . . . . . . .
23 Patterson, Nick 1 1 1.5 . . . . . . . .
2C Washington, Donald 1 . 1.0 . . . . . . . .
92 Denlinger, Todd 1 . 1.0 1.0/3 . . . . . . .
8B Wilson, Lawrence 1 . 1.0 1.0/8 . . . . . 1.0/8 .
52 Kerr, John . 1 0.5 . . . . . . . .
90 Pitcock, Quinn . 1 0.5 . . . . . . . .
6 Grant, Larry . 1 0.5 . . . 1-49 1 . . .

I'm 90% sure Gholston had 2.5 sacks not 1.5.
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Nicol had two drops, but they were both tough balls... he'll be all right...
how was that NOT a TD on the Nicol catch at the goal line?

yep, contrary to some, i thought he played pretty well. i think we have a viable catching te in nicol. however, his catch down to the 1 was not a td. his knee was down before he reached out the ball. i thought he was in when i first saw the play, but the second replay was pretty conclusive that the ref made the right call.

it seemed that some people were disappointed in Brandon Mitchell, but he was around the ball the whole game...

i wouldn't say mitchell had a bad game. but he didn't play nearly as well as i would expect someone who has been in the system for as long as he has let alone seen as much game on the line experience as he has. he didn't look ready at all and there really isn't an excuse for it.

the TD by Wolfe was a thing of beauty... man, that kid's got more shake than shoot, i don't know what...

don't care if it was barry sanders, that was flat out embarrasing. if i were heacock i would hang a before and after pick of that play above freeman, mitchell, and jenkins lockers. theres no way they don't get an earful over that play. though i doubt anyone will beat them up over it more than they will themselves.

after watching it a second time, i'm much less worried about Texas than i was initially... sometimes you get one vibe the first time through, and quite another the second... the D was VERY vanilla, especially after the 1st quarter, and despite the rotation, they bent a little but really didn't break outside of a play or two...

yep, i felt better after watching the game a second time. all the mistakes can easily be chalked up to it being the first "real" game for most of these kids. however, if they keep making the same mistakes over the next week or two... we may have serious problems. personally im still confident in this group. they have a ways to go, but have all the tools.
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We all saw the game against NIU. We all heard and saw the OHIO STATE offense (looked good except for the TE position). We all heard about and saw the defense (looked okay, out of position at times, more consistant line play,attack more). We all saw the speacial teams (looked good). We all saw, but never heard about the kicking game and this is what worries me. I was not impressed at all by either kicker. Maybe I like many BUCKEYE fans have been spoiled by kickers Nugent/Huston. I am worried!
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You sound like you are.

Should you be worried? I'm not sure.

The kickoffs seemed well despite the new tees. As far as the fg misses, I'd prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt because of the wet conditions.
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Wolfe a bright spot for NIU

Running back gains first 100-yard rushing, 100-yard receiving game in loss


Running wild | NIU running back Garrett Wolfe ran for 171 yards Saturday moving him into fourth on the Huskies' career rushing yards list. Wolfe also had 114 yards on five receptions.

Article by: Sean Connor
Sports Reporter

[email protected]

COLUMBUS, Ohio | Despite a predicted loss coming to fruition for NIU Saturday at Ohio State, NIU running back Garrett Wolfe left his mark.
Wolfe darted through the OSU defense for 171 yards on 26 carries while catching five passes for 114 yards and a touchdown.
"That's something we got to do more," said head coach Joe Novak about involving Wolfe in the passing game. "Our wide receivers got to play better, but Garrett's a guy we got to get the ball to."
It was Wolfe's second career 100-plus-yards receiving game and the first time he ran for more than 100 yards in the same game.
"He is a great running back �- as I watched on film and here today," OSU defensive lineman Quinn Pitcock said. "He'll do great this year."
Though there were numerous big gains by the 5-foot-7 senior, the big score never came.
Screen plays of 31 and 65 yards and a 51-yard fourth quarter run didn't end with Wolfe bolting past all defenders.
The OSU defense bent, but didn't break, keeping Wolfe out of the end zone until 10:27 remaining in the game.
"It's very frustrating," Wolfe said. "I feel that any time I break away I should get to the end zone. But OSU is a very fast and athletic defense."
With his 171 yards Saturday, Wolfe passed former NIU back LeShon Johnson to move into fifth place on NIU's all-time rushing list with 3,407 yards.
The Holy Cross high school product has averaged 191.7 rushing yards against NIU's last three Big Ten opponents.
"I've always felt that I was a very effective football player," Wolfe said. "I'm playing well against great teams. No one can argue with that."


Wolfe moves up the record books

Senior running back ties former receiver for sixth in all-purpose yards

Article by: Steve Brown
Managing Editor

[email protected]

COLUMBUS, Ohio | For the first time in his career, NIU running back Garrett Wolfe recorded more than 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving in the same game Saturday against the Buckeyes. Wolfe, who now has rushed for 100-plus yards 15 times in his career, gained 171 yards on 26 carries and caught five passes for 114 receiving yards to total 285 all-purpose yards.
Wolfe tied former wide receiver P.J. Fleck - who, incidentally, is now a graduate assistant on OSU's staff - for the sixth-best all-purpose yard performance in school history.
Still, Wolfe said he was upset with the loss.
"We didn't execute," Wolfe said. "We got the ball in the redzone three or four times and we only had one touchdown."
In his last three games against Big Ten opponents - OSU on Saturday and Michigan and Northwestern last season - Wolfe has averaged 191.7 rushing yards.

Put it on the board... again
Wolfe can add Ohio State to the impressive list of schools he's scored touchdowns against. Of the 21 games in Wolfe's career, the only time he failed to reach the endzone was last year in the regular-season loss against Akron. That means Wolfe has now scored against BCS schools Maryland, Iowa State, Michigan, Northwestern and Ohio State.

No. 1 in Novak's book
NIU football coach Joe Novak revealed in the post-game press conference Saturday that his No. 1 vote for the preseason coaches poll was OSU, and said he would pick the Buckeyes again for this week's poll.
Still, OSU lost its top four tacklers from last season to graduation, and Novak said he thought the young Buckeye defense wasn't quite up to par with last season's defense.
"They're not as good as last year, but they're not bad now," the 11th-year Huskies coach said.

Fightin' words
Wolfe and OSU cornerback Malcolm Jenkins apparently had a miscommunication late in the fourth quarter that resulted in the NIU running back shoving Jenkins after the play.
"At the end of the game we had a couple of words because there was a misunderstanding," Wolfe said.
No penalty was called after the play.

Nendick notes
With NIU kicker Chris Nendick's 35-yard field goal in the second quarter, NIU extended its streak of consecutive games with a score to 79. The last time the Huskies were shut out was Sept. 18, 1999, at Iowa in a game NIU lost 24-0.
With Nendick's two field goals against the Buckeyes, the junior moved into a tie for ninth on NIU's all-time scoring list. He tied former NIU receiver Justin McCareins, who now plays for the New York Jets.

Quarterback queue
NIU quarterback Phil Horvath was sacked three times and threw an interception, completing 15-of-26 passes for 185 yards, but was replaced in the fourth quarter by Dan Nicholson, who started last year in Horvath's absense.
"We wanted to give Dan some work," Novak said. "I have two of them I like; we have two quarterbacks, but Phil's our starter.
Horvath said he didn't take the swap negatively.
"Dan's a great quarterback too," the senior said. "He's got to get in there and play, too, but I'm never ready to get out of the game. I'm ready to play Ohio State again."
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Huskies' loss not so bad after all

Article by: Steve Brown
Managing Editor

[email protected]

COLUMBUS, Ohio | It's hard to be positive about giving up 21 points in 12 minutes, even if it is to the No. 1 team in the nation.
Ohio State - er, excuse me, The Ohio State - shredded through NIU's pathetic-looking defense as if it were tinfoil, and halted the Huskies' touted offense with a brute force that only the No. 1 team in the nation can dish out. NIU was beaten by a clearly superior team Saturday, but the loss could have been much worse.
During the first quarter, NIU athletic director Jim Phillips had his head in his hands in the press box. Rightfully so: with the way NIU was playing, Huskie fans should have been hoping for a mercy rule.
Not that Ohio State's level of play didn't make NIU look even worse. Buckeye quarterback Troy Smith could've taken a lunch break in the pocket, then lobbed the football to one of many wide-open receivers.
Yeah, the first quarter was pretty bad.
Even NIU coach Joe Novak thought so. In the post-game press conference, Novak compared his first-quarter Huskies to a collective deer in headlights, saying "there was no phase of our football that was good."
Of course, let's not be hard on the fellas. Any mistake the Huskies made in the first quarter was magnified tenfold because Ohio State looked nearly perfect in every aspect of its game.
But after the forgettable first quarter, the Huskies settled down and played the way they're capable of playing, holding OSU to 14 points after the first quarter and just 7 points for the final 44:55 of the game. Maybe OSU let off the throttle a bit, or maybe NIU really can play competitively against top teams.
Either way, the Huskies got to see how they stack up against the best team in the nation, and now they can head back to DeKalb and pinpoint what they need to work on.
The OSU game is in the past. The Huskies need to look toward Saturday's home opener against The Ohio. Comparing the Buckeyes to the Bobcats is like comparing prime rib to ground beef, but this week's game against the Bobcats is far more important to NIU's season.
Sure, the first quarter was embarrassing for Huskie fans, but if the team can take something away from it, tighten up its defense and find someone other than Garrett Wolfe who can create offensive yards, the first-quarter slaughter wasn't so bad after all.
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September 5, 2006 1:40 PM

Football: The players of the week for the Northern Illinois game were announced today at Jim Tressel's weekly press luncheon.

Offensive Player of the Game - Troy Smith, who was also the Big Ten co-offensive player of the week.

Offensive Lineman of the Week - Kirk Barton who graded out at 93%.

Special Teams Player of the Week - Jamario O'Neal

Defensive Player of the Week - David Patterson

Attack Force Player of the Week - Quinn Pitcock
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