Ginn returns fourth punt for TD this season

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Troy Smith barely got on the field for

Ohio State earlier this season. After the Buckeyes' biggest game of

the year, he had trouble getting off of it.

With former high school teammates Smith and Ted Ginn Jr. leading

the way, the Buckeyes pushed their troubles into the background for

at least a day with a stunning 37-21 upset of No. 7 Michigan on


"I'm pretty much at a loss for words," said Smith, the

quarterback who didn't play in three of the first five Ohio State

games after being beaten out for the starting job in preseason.

"It's unbelievable. Coming off the field, I nearly got my neck

broken by fans."

Smith was swarmed by thousands of fans who flooded onto the

field, dancing and singing and hugging -- some apparently a little

too tightly.

He ran for 145 yards and Ginn set school and Big Ten records

with his fourth punt return touchdown. The two left after the game

to catch Glenville High School's playoff game. Both starred for the

Tarblooders before choosing Ohio State.

The loss kept the Wolverines (9-2, 7-1) from clinching an

outright Big Ten title, but the Wolverines are still going to the

Rose Bowl thanks to Iowa. The Hawkeyes (9-2, 7-1) beat Wisconsin

30-7 to dash the Badgers' Rose Bowl hopes. Michigan and Iowa will

share the Big Ten title, but the Wolverines' victory over the

Hawkeyes sends them to Pasadena, Calif., for a second straight


"When you win the championship, you don't have to apologize,"

Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "You don't have to hang your head.

Are we disappointed? You're damned right we are."

This is only third time the loser of the Michigan-Ohio State

game has gone to the Rose Bowl. Michigan did it in 1982 and Ohio

State in 1996

Ohio State's fourth season under coach Jim Tressel has been a

tough one. The Buckeyes started the Big Ten season with three

straight losses and plummeted out of the rankings. Just when things

started looking better on the field, problems arose off.

Two weeks ago former Ohio State star Maurice Clarett accused

Tressel, his staff and Buckeyes boosters of giving him and other

players improper benefits. An NCAA investigation is about to begin.

But it's never a bad day in Columbus when Ohio State beats


"This was important because it's Ohio State-Michigan," said

Tressel, now 3-1 against the Buckeyes' archrivals. "(Former Ohio

State) Coach Earle Bruce always says that if the Ohio State coach

wins against Michigan he can walk down the main streets of

Columbus. If he loses, he'd better walk the back alleys. It's that


Smith had never run for more than 62 yards nor passed for more

192 since relieving the injured Justin Zwick in midseason. On a day

where little went wrong for Ohio State (7-4, 4-4), he carried 18

times and came up just one yard short of tying a school record for

yards rushing by a quarterback. He also completed 13 of 23 passes

for 241 yards and two touchdowns without an interception or a sack.

"He killed us throwing the ball and especially running the

ball," Michigan defensive back Marlin Jackson said.

Ginn, the freshman wide-out with the sprinter's gait, gathered a

punt at his own 18 midway through the third quarter with the

Buckeyes up 20-14. He broke a tackle and went into overdrive for an

82-yard touchdown. His fourth return for a score this year matched

the NCAA mark.

"I saw the guy, so I had to make something happen real quick,"

Ginn said. "Once you see a touchdown, there's no need to make a

move. You just use your speed."

Smith said of Ginn, "He's been like the sparkplug in our car.

He got us going."

After the Wolverines scored on two impressive second-quarter

drives, Ohio State's defense dominated for most of the rest of the

day. Chad Henne was intercepted twice, once at the 1 by Ashton

Youboty with the Wolverines still in the game.

Michigan, averaging 165 yards rushing a game, was limited to 71.

Henne's first-year running mate in the backfield, Big Ten rushing

leader Mike Hart, finished with just 61 yards on 18 carries.

Henne completed 27 of 54 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns

with two interceptions. Braylon Edwards had 11 catches for 172


The Buckeyes struck first on the game's fifth play from

scrimmage, Smith heaving a long pass that Anthony Gonzalez caught

before streaking to the end zone past a fallen Ernest Shazor for 68


Michigan came right back with Henne connecting with Jason Avant

on a 4-yard scoring pass. Hart's 1-yard plunge made it 14-7.

Ohio State then regained the momentum by scoring 13 straight

points in the second quarter, with Smith burrowing in on a 2-yard

keeper for a touchdown to get the lead for good.

"We always hope we'll play our best game against Michigan,"

Tressel said. "Offensively, defensively and special units, we were

in concert. Everybody had a part in it."