After Electrifying Start, Buckeyes' Collapse Was Swift

Jan. 9, 2007

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -The BCS championship game started almost too easily for Ohio State.

The No. 1 Buckeyes sprinted to a 7-0 lead after speedster Ted Ginn Jr. returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, a first in the BCS title game.

That false sense of superiority quickly disappeared Monday night in a humiliating 41-14 loss to No. 2 Florida. It was Ohio State's worst defeat since Penn State drubbed the Buckeyes 63-14 on Oct. 29, 1994.

This was a new experience for these Buckeyes, who rolled to a 12-0 regular-season record, outscoring opponents by an average of 26 points.

Immediately after Ginn's touchdown, almost everything went wrong for Ohio State on college football's biggest stage. Ginn, who admitted he got injured celebrating the touchdown, spent most of the game on the sideline with his left foot in a black boot.

The Buckeyes committed first-quarter personal fouls on a kickoff and a punt, giving the Gators possession in Ohio State territory. Florida converted those mistakes into 14 quick points.

Florida also turned two errors by Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith - an interception and fumbling deep in his territory - into touchdowns.

Even Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, known for playing it close to his sweater vest, stumbled. He went for it on fourth-and-1 at his own 29 late in the first half. Backup tailback Chris Wells was stopped short of the marker, and four plays later Florida's Chris Hetland hit a 40-yard field goal to make it 27-14.

The Buckeyes were never in the game again.



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