COLLEGE FOOTBALL : One More Hurdle for 11-0 Ohio State : Big Ten: After beating Indiana, 42-3, Buckeyes now only need a victory over Michigan.
It was surprisingly quiet in the Ohio State dressing room after the second-ranked Buckeyes handled Indiana, 42-3, on Saturday.
With rival Michigan awaiting Ohio State’s arrival next week, every player and coach was aware there is one major task left on the Buckeyes’ to-do list.
“The locker room isn’t loud and there’s not a lot of celebrating because the players are focused on our goal,” Coach John Cooper said.
The immediate goal is the Rose Bowl, something Ohio State hasn’t reached since the 1984 season.
“We know what we have to do,” nose guard Luke Fickell said. “We’re just sort of taking this game in stride.”
Two years ago, Ohio State was 9-0-1 and ranked in the top five when it traveled to Michigan needing a victory to start booking reservations for Pasadena. But the Wolverines hung a stinging 28-0 setback on the Buckeyes.
“We had this same situation two years ago but we didn’t get the job done,” Cooper said. “Eddie [George] and Bobby [Hoying] were on that team. The seniors know what they have to do.”
Hoying and George did what they had to Saturday to keep the Buckeyes smelling roses.
Hoying passed for two touchdowns before leaving with a concussion and George rushed for 130 yards and two scores.
Ohio State improved to 11-0 for only the third time in school history and the first time since 1979. The Buckeyes are 7-0 in Big Ten play heading into next week’s game at Michigan.
“We’re right where I thought we’d be,” Cooper said.
Hoying, who completed 12 of 17 passes for 203 yards in his final game at Ohio Stadium, sustained a mild concussion in the third quarter when hit by Indiana outside linebacker Jabar Robinson.
Hoying lay motionless on the field for two minutes but was able to walk off the field with help. He did not play again.
Cooper said he was told by team doctors that Hoying would be OK with rest and should be available for the Michigan game.
Hoying was in long enough to set an Ohio State record with 2,737 yards passing this season, breaking Art Schlichter’s 1981 mark of 2,551.
George, coming off a 314-yard, 36-carry effort in the previous week’s 41-3 victory over Illinois, was limited to 130 yards in 26 carries. The nation’s leading scorer coming in, he scored twice on one-yard runs against the Hoosiers (2-8, 0-7).
After Hoying went out with the Buckeyes ahead 21-3, Stanley Jackson came in to replace him.