Coach John Cooper vows that if No. 1-ranked Ohio State loses, it won't be because the Buckeyes are taking anybody lightly.
After Ohio State rode the Joe Germaine-to-David Boston passing combination to a 45-15 victory over Minnesota on Saturday, Cooper was asked if his team would have to battle overconfidence next week against Northwestern.
First, Cooper harangued the media for asking such a question, then promised that his players would remain focused.
"I guarantee you we will get their attention because we're not satisfied with the way we're playing," Cooper said. "We will not be overconfident next week or the next week or the next week. And we're going to play hard. You can write that down and quote me on that today. We will not be overconfident, we will work hard in practice and we will get after Northwestern up there next week. Mark that down."
Germaine passed for two touchdowns and 339 yards and David Boston had 10 receptions for 191 yards as the Buckeyes gave the other teams -- including the five unranked teams left on the schedule -- a lot of reasons to be underconfident.
| Ohio State's split end David Boston turn into the end zone for a touchdown in front of Minnesota's Willie Middlebrooks in the first quarter. (AP) |
Michael Wiley added 119 yards on 12 rushes, including a 1-yard touchdown run, and Central McClellion picked off a fourth-quarter pass and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown for the Buckeyes (6-0 overall, 3-0 Big Ten).
"It's hard to play against those guys in the silver helmets," said Minnesota coach Glen Mason, a former Buckeyes player and assistant.
The Golden Gophers (3-3, 0-3) haven't won at Ohio Stadium since 1949.
Ohio State, which occasionally came out with a four-receiver set, amassed 586 yards, 350 passing.
Germaine's fifth career 300-yard game set an Ohio State record, and marked the first time that a Buckeyes quarterback has had back-to-back 300-yard passing games. He threw for 307 yards last week in a 41-0 beating of Illinois.
"I haven't had a whole lot of time to think about it," Germaine said of the record. "I do know I haven't played my best game and the team hasn't played its best game."
"He's everything you want in a quarterback," Mason said.
Germaine completed 27-of-39 passes with two interceptions. His touchdown throws to Boston covered 6 and 53 yards.
"Going one on one worked," Boston said. "I could get open with a little athletic move. I was shuffled around a lot in the offense -- inside sometimes, outside sometimes -- and it's hard to double-team somebody when you're in that situation."
The Buckeyes led 7-3 midway through the first quarter, then blew the game open by scoring on four consecutive possessions to build the margin to 31-3.
At halftime, Ohio State honored its 1968 national champions and 1973 Big Ten title teams -- ground-oriented teams that featured Jim Otis and Archie Griffin, respectively.
To show how times have changed, Boston's 10 catches was one better than the Buckeyes' leading receiver had for the entire 1973 season, tight end Fred Pagac. Pagac is now the team's defensive coordinator.
"Ohio State was known as a grind-it-out team for a long time," Germaine said. "I'm just taking advantage of the new style of today."
The Buckeyes had 402 yards by halftime, with Germaine throwing for 220, Boston catching five passes for 122 yards and Wiley totaling 115 yards.
Minnesota freshman Andy Persby was 19-of-42 for 213 yards in his first collegiate start.
He was replaced midway through the fourth quarter by Billy Cockerham. On his first play, Cockerham was hit by Buckeye linebacker Jerry Rudzinski and Cockerham's pass ended up floating into the right flat. McClellion picked it off and, behind a block by safety Gary Berry, returned it 60 yards untouched.
"That's our goal -- to make an interception and bring it back for a touchdown, then make it into a party in the end zone," McClellion said.
Luke Leverson had 12 catches for 108 yard for Minnesota, but the Golden Gophers managed just 46 yards rushing on 27 attempts.
"We want to run the football better and we can't do it," Mason said.
Minnesota's points came on field goals of 24 and 32 yards by Adam Bailey and Persby's 35-yard lob pass to Antoine Henderson.
Trevis Graham blocked a Brent Bartholomew punt in the fourth quarter, with the ball squirting through the end zone, resulting in an Ohio State safety.
"We played hard," Minnesota defensive end Curtese Poole said. "But we were a little intimidated. They've got an All-American receiver to the right, an All-American receiver to the left and an All-American quarterback."
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