Archive for Sunday, August 31, 2003

Maurice who? OSU wins without Clarett

QB Krenzel leads No. 2 Buckeyes to 28-9 victory over No. 17 Washington

August 31, 2003

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— Craig Krenzel dropped back, surveyed the defense and ran 23 yards into the end zone for a score while Maurice Clarett watched from the sideline.

With Krenzel directing the offense and the same stout defense that won the national title, Ohio State didn't miss its standout running back a bit.

Krenzel accounted for 230 yards and ran for two first-half scores as the second-ranked Buckeyes opened the season with a punishing 28-9 victory over No. 17 Washington Saturday night.

"I don't think we ever relied on just one person," Krenzel said. "This year, we have so many weapons offensively that we're only going to be as good as our ability to spread the ball around."

Clarett showed little emotion as he stood on the sideline in a red sweat suit serving the first of his multigame suspension for violating NCAA rules.

But even without their best player and five defensive starters who are in the NFL, the Buckeyes looked just as tough as they did in winning their first national title in 34 years in the Fiesta Bowl against Miami in January.

"It was great to play football again," coach Jim Tressel said. "That's what we like to do. That's one of the reasons these guys are at Ohio State. It was great to play in front of 105,000 fans. The atmosphere was extraordinary."

Clarett's replacements, Maurice Hall and Lydell Ross, each ran for a score in the Buckeyes' 15th straight win, the second-longest streak in school history. Hall finished with 58 yards on 15 carries and Ross had 43 on 12.

Washington had nearly as tumultuous an offseason as Ohio State, firing coach Rick Neuheisel for taking part in an NCAA Tournament pool. Offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson, who was promoted to the head coaching job July 29, had no answers in his Huskies coaching debut.

"They are as advertised," Gilbertson said. "They are big and powerful and quick, and they have lots of athletes."

Washington, which averaged 420.7 yards per game last year, was held to 147 yards through three quarters.

No. 4 Michigan 45, Central Michigan 7

Ann Arbor, Mich. -- Chris Perry ran for a career-high 232 yards and two touchdowns for No. 4 Michigan. Michigan's John Navarre was 19-of-33 passing for 245 yards with two TDs and an interception. He joined Rick Leach as the only quarterbacks in school history to start four season openers. Braylon Edwards caught five passes for 78 yards and two TDs.

No. 11 Georgia 30, Clemson 0

Clemson, S.C. -- David Greene threw for one touchdown and ran for another as No. 11 Georgia handed Clemson its first shutout under coach Tommy Bowden. Greene went 12-of-17 for 203 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown pass to Fred Gibson. Greene added a 3-yard touchdown run and D.J. Shockley closed the scoring with a 29-yard scoring run. Georgia's defense held Clemson to 35 yards rushing and 199 yards of offense overall. Tigers quarterback Charlie Whitehurst was 19-of-33 for 151 yards.

No. 12 Tennessee 24, Fresno State 6

Knoxville, Tenn. -- Casey Clausen threw two touchdown passes, and Jabari Davis ran 44 yards for another score for No. 12 Tennessee. The Vols racked up 433 yards of total offense, the most since a six-overtime win over Arkansas last October, and 274 yards rushing behind a stronger and healthy offensive line. Fresno State's Rodney Davis had a school-record 1,586 yards rushing last season but was held to 16 yards on 13 carries.

No. 13 Florida St., 37, North Carolina 0

Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Chris Rix ran for a pair of short touchdowns and threw for another score as the 13th-ranked Seminoles built a 27-point halftime lead and cruised. Rix had four turnovers in an embarrassing 41-9 loss to the Tar Heels here in 2001 -- the program's most lopsided regular-season loss since. The junior finished 17-of-26 for 232 yards Saturday as Bobby Bowden won his 333rd game while improving to 26-2 in openers at FSU.

No. 14 LSU 49, La-Monroe 7

Baton Rouge, La. -- Matt Mauck threw three touchdown passes in a 61/2-minute span to lead No. 14 LSU over Louisiana-Monroe in the opener for both teams. Mauck, who missed the final seven games of last season with torn ligaments in his foot, finished 13-for-28 for 153 yards. He was intercepted once before being replaced by Marcus Randall in the third quarter. Louisiana-Monroe, 6-28 over the last three seasons, held the Tigers scoreless until the final 6:37 of the first half.

No. 16 N.C. State 59, Western Carolina 20

Raleigh, N.C. -- Tramain Hall had a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown, and Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes for No. 16 North Carolina State. Hall also had a 6-yard touchdown catch in his Wolfpack debut as N.C. State won its seventh straight season opener. Western Carolina fell to 0-21 against current Atlantic Coast Conference schools and 0-5 against the Wolfpack.

No. 18 Virginia 27, Duke 0

Charlottesville, Va. -- Virginia beat Duke, but the No. 18 Cavaliers lost quarterback Matt Schaub to an injury on the opening series and he watched the second half with his arm in a sling. The school said only that Schaub had injured his shoulder and did not immediately release any additional details about the 2002 ACC offensive player of the year, for whom a Heisman Trophy campaign was planned.

No. 21 Wisconsin 24, West Virginia 17

Morgantown, W.Va. -- Anthony Davis ran for a one-yard touchdown with 2:57 remaining as No. 21 Wisconsin rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit. Special team miscues and injuries to West Virginia's top two offensive players kept Wisconsin in the game. The Badgers' offense finally came alive behind the scrambling of quarterback Jim Sorgi and the running of Davis, who carried 30 times for 167 yards. Quincy Wilson ran for two scores for West Virginia, but he left with a leg injury early in the fourth quarter.

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