The Item: A Beatdown Illustrated
Jump in your mind wagon and transport yourself back to Sept. 9, 2006. Just a week prior, your #1 Buckeyes took Northern Illinois to the woodshed, launching an aerial assault against the Huskies that picked up right where Troy Smith and company left off approximately nine months earlier.
However, the 35-12 beatdown at the ‘Shoe was a mere appetizer, as the Bucks had much bigger fish to fry down in Austin against the No. 2 Longhorns.
The matchup came with much fanfare, as the No. 1 vs. No. 2 contest would be the first regular season clash of the nation’s top two teams in a decade.
The game of the century before the game of the century, the Texas v. OSU rematch was circled prior to the season as the make-or-break game for the Buckeyes on their quest for a national title.
When it was all said and done, the No. 1 team remained exactly that. The Scarlet and Gray had far too many playmakers on offense coupled with a bend-but-don’t-break D that gave freshman Colt McCoy fits all evening.
Without the services of Vince Young, the Longhorns simply didn’t have enough to hang with a team that appeared destined for far greater things.
The Texas-sized wallop announced the Buckeyes had arrived, and that’s exactly how Sports Illustrated framed it.
The cover photo features the second TD on the night for OSU, a 29-yard strike from Smith to Teddy Ginn Jr. with roughly 16 seconds left in the first half.
The speedy Ginn was able to create separation between himself and CB Aaron Ross and Troy took care of the rest, floating the ball down the sideline to hit No. 7 in stride.
The score broke the deadlock and helped catapult the Buckeyes to the win.
Which brings us to:
The Clips: The Night The Bucks Burnt the Orange
After an OSU missed FG to start the game, the two teams traded possessions until the Longhorns put together a sustained drive from their own 20. Threatening to score, Colt McCoy connected on a 5-yard pass to Billy Pittman. Then Pittman met James Laurinaitis.
The fumble was returned by Donald Washington for 48 yards to the 50-yard line and swung momentum to the Buckeyes’ corner. Following the turnover it took the Scarlet and Gray just five plays to find the end zone on a pretty route by WR Anthony Gonzalez.
The score remained 7-0 for the rest of the first quarter and into the second until the Longhorns put together a clock-killing 7-minute drive that ended in six to tie the game.
Following the score, the Buckeyes received the ball with roughly 2 minutes left to intermission and engineered a methodical drive that utilized nearly every second of the 115 they were allotted.
To cap the two-minute drill, Smith received the snap at the Texas 29 and looked left to see his Cleveland Glenville teammate streaking down the sideline wide open. 14-7, Buckeyes.
To start the third, Colt McCoy was intercepted by Laurinaitis at the Texas 31. Despite the excellent field position, the Buckeyes were unable to punch the ball into the end zone and had to settle for three, making it 17-7.
Following the FG, the Silver Bullets remained dominant, forcing the Longhorns to punt on each of their remaining two possessions of the quarter.
Heading into the fourth, Texas’ woes continued as Colt McCoy drove the Longhorns to the OSU 28, but Texas was unable to capitalize as kicker Greg Johnson missed a 45 yarder.
On the Buckeyes’ ensuing possession, Smith and company launched a balanced attack that saw Troy connect with three different receivers (Ginn, Gonzalez and Brian Robiske) for 44 yards. Antonio Pittman peppered in 5 runs for an additional 23 yards and this TD to cap the drive.
The score made it 24-7 and the Buckeyes were able to leave the deep South with a convincing win that would resonate much farther.
The devastating loss in Columbus from 2005 had been avenged, and Tressel's 2006 squad had beaten the first of three No. 2 teams they would face that season.
Thanks for stumbling in. Let's do this again sometime.