They were talking about this game a year in Pennsylvania, and the Keystone
State players had practiced hard all week and were focused on getting a victory.
In the end, however, it was the Buckeye State team that hung around and came out
on top in the 47th annual Big 33 classic, 34-30. Incoming Buckeye Ted Ginn was
named the MVP after putting up 142 receiving yards and a TD, throwing a 36-yard
TD pass and deflecting a key third down pass to hold Pennsylvania to a field
Ohio jumped out early as after a three-and-out by Pennsylvania, the Buckeye
State team took over and moved down the field on a scoring drive that was capped
off by a 30-yard TD pass from Brian Hoyer to Erik Haw. Pennsylvania countered on
the next drive with a 42-yard field goal to make it 7-3.
After the teams exchanged punts, Ohio struck quickly as Indiana-bound QB
Grant Gregory hit Buckeye Ted Ginn, Jr. at around midfield, who then ran away
from the defender for an 82-yard TD strike. The PAT gave Ohio a 14-3 lead.
Pennsylvania struck back on the following drive as after a few plays, Penn State-bound QB Anthony Morelli hit running back Andrew Johnson for a 57-yard
strike that moved the ball down inside the 5-yard line. Johnson then ran it in
on third down to help Pennsylvania cut the lead to 14-10.
After an Ohio punt pinned Pennsylvania back at the 5-yard line, Pennsylvania
moved down the field quickly as Morelli hit OSU-bound Devon Lyons for a long
gain that put the ball on the Ohio 26-yard line. Pennsylvania went up top 17-14
shortly after on a 1-yard run by running back Curtis Brinkley.
With less than a minute left in the half, Pennsylvania attempted a squib
kick, but the ball hit Ohio's Nii Adjei Oninku and was recovered by
Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania moved down the field quickly on a Morelli-to-Lyons
screen that Lyons turned into a big gain and a throwback from fullback James Bryant to quarterback Chad Henne that put the ball inside the Ohio 10-yard line,
but Ohio stood strong when a last-second field goal failed.
In the first half, Ohio had 167 total yards to Pa.'s 262. The Buckeye state
had just 10 rushing yards to Pennsylvania's 42. Morelli had 127 of
Pennsylvania's passing yards.
To open the second half, Ohio struck quickly as Ohio moved down the field in
four plays and scored on an Anthony Turner-to-Asante White touchdown. White was
flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but Jason Giannini kicked the
deep extra point to give Ohio the 21-17 lead.
Pennsylvania struck right back as on the opening play of the following drive,
Chad Henne hit Devon Lyons for a deep pass that brought the ball inside the 20,
and then Curtis Brinkley ran the ball in from 17 yards for the touchdown and a
23-21 lead. The extra point was blocked, and on the return, a hit on Ted Ginn
ignited a moment of tension between the two teams as players from both teams
came on the field, resulting in offsetting personal foul penalties.
The tension continued on the next drive and the coaching staffs tried to calm
down players, while Ohio's drive resulted in a punt that gave Pennsylvania the
ball at midfield. Pennsylvania was forced to punt shortly after taking
possession, and Ohio took over at their own 8-yard line. Ohio moved the ball to
around midfield before being forced to punt, but the punt was blocked by James
Bryant, the only player who rushed the punt. The ball was picked up by Bryant
and advanced inside the Ohio 20. Running back Dan Lawlor punched it in for a
2-yard TD to close the drive, and the extra point gave Pennsylvania a 30-21
Ohio would answer though as Grant Gregory led the team down the field on a
long drive that was capped off by a 6-yard TD run by Tony Howard. The Giannini
PAT closed the Pennsylvania lead to 30-28.
Pennsylvania quickly got back in the swing of things on a Curtis Brinkley
kick return that gave them the ball at the Ohio 35. Pennsylvania could not
capitalize on the field position as Ohio held on a 3rd-and-long and a blocked
field goal attempt gave Ohio the ball just past their own 20.
Brian Hoyer guided Ohio's offense down the field on a nifty drive, and then
the Buckeye state struck with a trick play as Hoyer passed the ball backwards to
Ted Ginn, who then passed the ball 36 yards downfield to a wide open Dustin Woods for an Ohio touchdown. Ohio's two-point conversion failed, leaving the
Buckeye state with a 34-30 lead with under five minutes to play.
Ohio hurt themselves once again on kickoff coverage on the next play as a
squib kick resulted in an Andrew Johnson kick return across midfield to the Ohio
41. Pennsylvania could not not get closer on the drive though as a holding
penalty knocked them back, and the ball was eventually turned back over to Ohio
on downs with 3:17 on the clock.
There was definitely a scary moment on the fourth down stop as after
defending the final pass, defensive back Brandon Underwood fell to the ground in
pain. Underwood left the field under his own power but appeared to be holding
his arm as he walked off.
Ohio was able to convert on a third down on the following drive on a Hoyer-to-Haw
pass, and Haw helped run the clock out from there to seal the 34-30 win.
"We had our opportunities," said Pennsylvania head coach George
Chaump after the game. "We were down inside four times and came up empty...
They did what they had to do to win. When you turn a bad play into a good play
and a good athlete does it, they usually win the football game."
With the win, Ohio evens the renewed series record at 6-6 and cuts the
all-time series record to 9-8. The victory is Ohio's second in a row after
Pennsylvania had previously won three straight.
- Not surprisingly, future Buckeyes were making plays all over the place in
this game. In addition to Ginn, Devon Lyons had a fine game for Pennsylvania
and looks like he could very well be in the receiver mix early for the
Buckeyes. Rory Nicol also caught a couple of passes for Pennsylvania. Erik
Haw showed he can be a pass catching threat, and Alex Barrow was disruptive
on defense. Brandon Underwood made some fine plays late in the game (the
status of his injury was not known at the time of this article), and Chad
Hoobler was also in the thick of several plays.
- Curtis Brinkley was named player of the game for Pennsylvania.
- Ohio rotated quarterbacks on every possession. Pennsylvania rotated less
frequently, but on their final possession, Henne was inserted for Morelli on
- If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the game, ABC 27 in
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is offering copies for $33. Information can be
found at http://www.abc27.com/news/stories/0704/161261.html