O-H-I- NO! Ohio State Struggles, Holds On for 800th Victory

Kristofer GreenSenior Writer ISeptember 6, 2008

Photo courtesy of ESPN.com (Defensive End Lawrence Wilson intercepts Ohio quarterback Theo Scott)

The Buckeyes looked to secure an easy tune-up victory, their 800th all-time.  Superstar running back Chris "Beanie" Wells wouldn't play, but would it really matter?

Turns out, the Ohio Bobcats had different ideas.  And Ohio State, without its emotional leader, lacked passion and intensity.

This was not the tune-up Ohio State needed before heading to Los Angeles for their much heralded match-up with USC next Saturday.

The Ohio Bobcats played inspired football and put a scare in the Buckeyes, who finally rallied to finish with a hard fought 24-16 win and a 2-0 record. 

The upset minded Bobcats came to play and even when Ohio starting quarterback Theo Scott went down in the first quarter with an injury, the Bobcats kept their composure and didn't lose their intensity.

The Buckeyes had plenty of chances.  After going three-and-out on their first possession, Ohio State defensive end Lawrence Wilson made an outstanding individual play when he tipped a Theo Scott pass to himself and raced to the Ohio 24-yard line. 

The Buckeyes failed to convert the interception into a touchdown and had to settle for a field goal.

The Ohio State offense began their first possession of the third quarter much the same way they ended the first half: with sloppy play. 

Facing a third-and-nine from their own 16-yard line, Todd Boeckman failed to catch a high snap that went into the end zone.  Boeckman recovered the ball, then fumbled it and it was recovered by the Bobcats for their second touchdown of the game. 

The Ohio State offense finally showed up late in the third quarter when Todd Boeckman led the offense on a 13-play, 73-yard scoring drive capped by a touchdown from Daniel "Boom" Herron, the first of his career.

After the Buckeye defense forced a three-and-out to begin the fourth, the Buckeyes recovered a muffed punt by Ohio's Mark Parson at the Bobcats' 25-yard line, setting up another scoring drive that ended with Brandon Saine running the ball into the end zone from 2-yards out to give the Buckeyes the lead for good.

Ray Small put the game away with a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown with 5:57 remaining in the game.

The Ohio State defense forced another punt and freshman phenom Terrelle Pryor entered the game to run out the clock and preserve a 26-14 victory for Ohio State.

Ohio State did become only the fifth program to reach 800 victories, joining Michigan (870), Notre Dame (824), Texas (821), and Nebraska (818), but the victory was much tougher to get than anyone expected.