Alamo Bowl Data: Ohio State vs. Oklahoma State
The Alamo Bowl
The Alamo Bowl
Managing Editor
Posted Dec 24, 2004


We go inside the numbers, share the depth charts and pertinent and one man's pick for the Alamo Bowl (Wednesday, 8 p.m., ESPN).

Alamo Bowl Data

* Date, Time: Wed., Dec. 29; 8 p.m. (Eastern)

* Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas

* TV: ESPN; Announcers: Mike Tirico, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso.

* 2004 Records, Rankings: Ohio State, 7-4 overall, 4-4 Big Ten, ranked 22nd in ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, ranked 25th in Associated Press poll; Oklahoma State, 7-4 overall, 4-4 Big 12 South, unranked.

* Coaches: Ohio State, Jim Tressel (fourth year at OSU, 39-11; 19th year overall, 174-68-2; vs. Oklahoma State, first meeting; bowl record, 2-1); Oklahoma State, Les Miles (fourth year at OSU, 29-19; vs. Ohio State, first meeting; bowl record, 1-1).

* Series History: Ohio State leads 1-0 (Ohio State won 37-13 in 1989 in Columbus.).

* Oklahoma State Schedule: Sept. 4, at UCLA, W 31-20; Sept. 11, Tulsa, W 38-21; Sept. 18, SMU, W 59-7; Oct. 2, Iowa State, W 36-7; Oct. 9, at Colorado, W 42-14; Oct. 16, Texas A&M, L 36-20; Oct. 23, at Missouri, W 20-17; Oct. 30, Oklahoma, L 38-35; Nov. 6, at Texas, L 56-35; Nov. 13, Baylor, W 49-21; Nov. 27, at Texas Tech, L 31-15; Dec. 29, vs. Ohio State (Alamo Bowl).

* Oklahoma State Key Players: QB Donovan Woods (82 of 153 passing, 1,491 yards, 13 TDs, 4 INTs; 111 carries, 364 yards, 10 TDs), TB Vernand Morency (250 carries, 1,454 yards, 12 TDs), WR D’Juan Woods (29 catches, 650 yards, 6 TDs), TE Billy Bajema (18 carries, 264 yards, 1 TD), WS Jamie Thompson (81 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 INTs), FS Jon Holland (64 tackles), DE Darnell Smith (3 sacks), LB Paul Duren (63 tackles, 2 INTs).

* Oklahoma State Fast Facts: Location: Stillwater, Okla.; Enrollment, 27,000; Nickname, Cowboys; Colors, Black and Orange; Stadium, Boone Pickens Stadium (surface, AstroPlay; capacity, 47,800).

Depth Charts

Ohio State Offense

SE 4 Santonio Holmes, 5-11, 185, So.

8 Roy Hall, 6-3, 228. So.

LT 77 Rob Sims, 6-4, 310, Jr.

71 Steve Rehring, 6-8, 315, Fr.

LG 72 T.J. Downing, 6-5, 305, So.

50 Doug Datish, 6-5, 295, So.

C 55 Nick Mangold, 6-4, 290, Jr.

73 Steve Winner, 6-6, 290, Jr.

RG 52 Mike Kne, 6-4, 303, Sr.

59 John Conroy, 6-3, 295, Jr.

RT 74 Kirk Barton, 6-6, 305, Fr.

68 Tim Schafer, 6-5, 290, So.

TE 80 Ryan Hamby, 6-5, 250, Jr.

81 R.J. Coleman, 6-5, 295, So.

FL 7 Ted Ginn Jr., 6-0, 170, Fr.

11 Anthony Gonzalez, 6-0, 200, Fr.

QB 12 Justin Zwick, 6-4, 225, So.

17 Todd Boeckman, 6-5, 235, Fr.

TB 28 Maurice Hall, 5-10, 205, Sr.

30 Lydell Ross, 6-0, 225, Sr.

25 Antonio Pittman, 5-11, 190, Fr.

FB 38 Branden Joe, 6-2, 250, Jr.

49 Dionte Johnson, 6-0, 220, Fr.

K 85 Mike Nugent, 5-10, 180, Sr.

23 Josh Huston, 6-1, 195, Sr.

Ohio State Defense

DE 75 Simon Fraser, 6-6, 280, Sr.

99 Jay Richardson, 6-6, 270, So.

DT 94 Marcus Green, 6-3, 290, Jr.

97 David Patterson, 6-3, 285, So.

DT 90 Quinn Pitcock, 6-3, 295, So.

98 Joel Penton, 6-5, 275, So.

DE 57 Mike Kudla, 6-3, 265, Jr.

50 Vernon Gholston, 6-4, 250, Fr.

SLB 42 Bobby Carpenter, 6-3, 255, Jr.

17 Marcus Freeman, 6-2, 230, Fr.

MLB 51 Anthony Schlegel, 6-2, 245, Jr.

46 Chad Hoobler, 6-3, 215, Fr.

WLB 47 A.J. Hawk, 6-1, 238, Jr.

1 Thomas Matthews, 6-2, 220, Sr.

CB 26 Ashton Youboty, 6-1, 188, So.

13 Harlen Jacobs, 6-1, 197, Sr.

FS 21 Nate Salley, 6-3, 215, Jr.

32 Brandon Mitchell, 6-3, 205, So.

SS 9 Donte Whitner, 5-11, 200, So.

6 Tyler Everett, 5-11, 196, Jr.

CB 37 Dustin Fox, 6-0, 190, Sr.

29 E.J. Underwood, 6-1, 175, Jr.

P 86 Kyle Turano, 6-0, 205, Sr.

23 Josh Huston, 6-1, 195, Sr.

LS 60 Kyle Andrews, 5-11, 245, Sr.

68 Drew Norman, 6-0, 230, So.

Oklahoma State Offense

LT 75 Corey Hilliard, 6-5, 300, So.

61 David Koenig, 6-4, 280, Fr.

LG 66 Corey Curtis, 6-4, 290, Jr.

74 Doug Bond, 6-2, 305, So.

C 68 Chris Akin, 6-2, 300, Sr.

72 Kurt Seifried, 6-4, 305, So.

RG 76 Sam Mayes, 6-3, 330, Sr.

70 Phil Friess, 6-5, 280, Fr.

RT 78 Kellen Davis, 6-5, 290, Jr.

68 Adam Gourley, 6-6, 290, Jr.

TE 86 Billy Bajema, 6-5, 265, Sr.

80 Charlie Johnson, 6-4, 280, Jr.

QB 8 Donovan Woods, 6-2, 215, Fr.

4 Al Pena, 6-2, 210, Fr.

WR 84 D’Juan Woods, 6-1, 195, So.

24 Luke Frazier, 6-0, 205, Jr.

WR 83 Chijuan Mack, 6-3, 185, Fr.

11 Prentiss Elliott, 6-0, 175, Fr.

FB 37 Shawn Willis, 6-1, 260, Jr.

32 Julius Crosslin, 5-11, 230, Fr.

TB 33 Vernand Morency, 5-10, 215, Jr.

2 Seymore Shaw, 5-11, 215, Sr.

K 47 Jason Ricks, 6-1, 180, Fr.

Oklahoma State Defense

DE 50 Darnell Smith, 6-0, 260, So.

51 Victor DeGrate, 6-3, 245, So.

DT 95 Efe Mowarin, 6-1, 310, Sr.

90 Xavier Lawson-Kennedy, 6-1, 310, So.

NG 96 Clay Coe, 6-2, 295, Sr.

77 Walter Thomas, 6-5, 340, Fr.

DE 97 Marque Fountain, 6-1, 260, So.

81 Jerry Don Bray, 6-5, 265, Jr.

MLB 99 Lawrence Pinson, 6-1, 240, Jr.

2 Rodrick Johnson, 6-3, 255, Fr.

LB 12 Paul Duren, 6-1, 240, Jr.

41 Pagitte McGee, 6-1, 235, Jr.

LCB 4 Daniel McLemore, 5-7, 160, Jr.

26 Andrew Alexander, 5-8, 160, Fr.

SS 20 Vernon Grant, 5-9, 180, Jr.

30 Grant Jones, 5-10, 195, So.

FS 17 Jon Holland, 5-11, 185, Jr.

10 Thomas Wright, 6-0, 185, Jr.

WS 23 Jamie Thompson, 6-0, 190, Jr.

19 Jeremy Nethon, 5-9, 180, So.

RCB 6 Robert Jones, 5-11, 190, Sr.

7 Martel Van Zant, 6-2, 200, Fr.

P 18 Cole Farden, 5-11, 200, Sr.

Also Notable

* Despite having much success on the college gridiron since its inception in 1996, the Big 12 has not fared well in the Alamo Bowl, winning only three times in 10 appearances.

Oklahoma State lost its initial Alamo Bowl to Purdue in 1997. Nebraska has the conference’s only winning record (2-0). Other team records are: Baylor 0-1; Colorado 0-1; Kansas State 0-1; Oklahoma State 0-1; Texas A&M 1-1; Texas Tech 0-2.

* The Big Ten has been the dominant conference in past Alamo Bowls. The conference sports a 6-4 record, with losses only to Nebraska (2000 and 2003) and Texas A&M in 1995.

Big Ten records at the Alamo Bowl: Iowa 2-1; Michigan 0-1; Purdue 2-0; Penn State 1-0; Wisconsin 1-0; Northwestern 0-1; Michigan State 0-1.

* The Buckeyes have won the last 12 games against Big 12 opponents dating back to a 1977 home loss to Oklahoma and are 26-3-1 overall. OSU last faced a Big 12 team in a bowl in last year's Fiesta Bowl, defeating Kansas State 35-28. The Buckeyes also stopped Texas A&M in the 1999 Sugar Bowl and the 1987 Cotton Bowl and Colorado in the 1977 Orange Bowl.

* The Alamo Bowl is known for its exciting finishes as five of eleven games have been decided by seven or fewer points with an average margin of victory of 3.6 points-per-game in these contests.

* OSU coach Jim Tressel has been successful in close games, compiling a 16-7 record during his tenure at Ohio State, including two bowl wins and one national title (Fiesta Bowl, 2002). Les Miles has built a 6-6 record in close games at Oklahoma State.

* The 2004 MasterCard Alamo Bowl is the fourth sellout in Alamo Bowl history and the first time the game has sold out without a team from Texas as a participant.

In 1999, No. 13 Penn State shut out No. 18 Texas A&M, 24-0, in front of a bowl-record, standing room only crowd of 65,380. In 2001, Iowa beat Texas Tech 19-16 with 65,232 fans in the stands. The bowl’s first sellout was the 1995 game when 64,597 watched No. 19 Texas A&M upset No. 14 Michigan, 22-20.

Breaking It Down

* When Ohio State Has The Ball: This is a big question mark, obviously, since Troy Smith is ineligible and Justin Zwick will move back into the starting spot at quarterback. All eyes will be on Zwick, who has not played since Oct. 16 at Iowa. It would be un-Jim Tressel-like to pin all of Ohio State’s hopes on Zwick here. The conventional wisdom is that Ohio State will try and establish the run with Branden Joe and Lydell Ross (and maybe Antonio Pittman, too). Then, if need be, they will turn to Zwick. My guess is he probably will throw fewer than 25 passes.

Of course, the passing game is where Ohio State’s fleet of fleet receivers, Santonio Holmes, Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez, all flourish. Playing on a fast track at the Alamodome, the Buckeyes could try to go to the jugular early and often. And Zwick could be going into this game believing this may be his last and best shot to reclaim the starting job Smith snatched away from him. Makes things a little more interesting, huh?

But again, the smart play with a rusty quarterback is to lean on the running game. Oklahoma State, which runs a 4-2-5 defensive scheme, wasn’t especially adept at stopping the run (70th nationally) or the pass (73rd nationally). Moreover, the Cowboys seem undersized in the secondary (four of the starters are 5-11 are under). Even with Zwick at the controls – and that’s not a knock at him, just a nod to the fact he hasn’t played competitively in 2-1/2 months – I expect OSU to have a modicum of success here.

* When Oklahoma State Has The Ball: The Cowboys have a nice blend of veterans (TB Vernand Morency, a junior) and youngsters (QB Donovan Woods, a redshirt freshman, and WR D’Juan Woods, a sophomore) at the key spots on offense. Oklahoma State’s philosophy is to run the ball first, second and third, then stun you with a bomb – usually from Woods to Woods – when you least expect it.

The Cowboys ran the ball 77 percent of the time in the regular season. Their rushing attack, which averaged 245 yards per game, ranked second in the Big 12 and eighth nationally. Morency was the workhorse, averaging 25 carries in the 10 games he played in and finishing with 1,454 yards and 12 touchdowns. Playing in the shadow of Texas’ Cedric Benson, he may be one of the most underrated backs in the country.

Donovan Woods took over as the starting quarterback and immediately helped the Cowboys reel off five straight wins to open the season. He kept mistakes to a minimum (just 4 INTs) and touchdowns to a maximum (13 passing, 10 rushing). At 6-2, 215 pounds, he is the perfect size to stand in the pocket or step up and go. He must be contained or it could be a long night.

The keys are simple: The defensive line must make strong first hits on the 215-pound Morency to prevent him from reaching the second level. The linebackers will be needed to both bring Morency down and also to track down Donovan Woods on the perimeter. The secondary will have to avoid being lulled to sleep, lest they fall prey to Oklahoma State’s bait-and-switch big pass play capability.

* How It Will Go: Les Miles has built a nice program at Oklahoma State and they typically get up to play big-name opponents. They had nice double-digit road wins at UCLA and Colorado this year, but could not get it done against any of the Big 12 South’s best: Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

Meanwhile, Ohio State just has this innate ability to play through controversy. The coaching staff does a phenomenal job of insulating the players from all of the noise outside the program, which is a good thing because there always seems to be a lot of it.

The single biggest factor in this game – other than Zwick avoiding costly picks, something he couldn’t do during his six-game starting stint early in the year – is how Ohio State stops Oklahoma State’s run. I keep coming back to the fact that Michigan hadn’t been held under 190 yards rushing in five games, then played OSU and got 71. The Cowboys seem to play right into Ohio State’s strong suit here.

Prior to the news that Troy Smith was suspended, I picked Ohio State as an easy 31-21 winner. I’m not as convinced it will be as easy, but it will still be a win. Ginn will make a run at the NCAA single-season punt return touchdown mark, but probably won’t get it here. (Hey, there’s always next year.)

There is no tomorrow, though, for kicker Mike Nugent. He needs just eight points to break Pete Johnson’s OSU career scoring mark. I say he kicks two field goals and three extra points, meaning he’ll break the record with one point to spare. I’ve got it: Ohio State 27-21

* For The Record: I was 6-5 straight-up on Ohio State this season and 4-7 against-the-spread. (Oklahoma State is favored by 1-1/2 points in the Alamo Bowl.)

-- Steve Helwagen



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