Ohio State pulls out win in first trip to Cincinnati since 1911

After forcing an OSU punt to open the game, UC’s no-huddle spread offense moved 80 yards on nine plays for the game’s first touchdown. Guidugli came out hot, hitting 6 of 7 passes for 79 of the yards. The biggest play was his 36-yard pass down the left sideline to Tye Keith down to the OSU 1. Two plays later, tailback DeMarco McCleskey turned the corner and beat OSU’s Cie Grant to the pylon for the 1-yard touchdown.

Jonathan Ruffin missed the PAT kick, but UC led 6-0 with 10:13 left in the first quarter.

A 46-yard run by McCleskey on UC’s next possession put the Bearcats in the red zone. But OSU linebacker Matt Wilhelm had a pair of tackles for loss, including a sack of Guidugli, and UC had to settle for Ruffin’s 44-yard field goal and a 9-0 lead with 6:24 left in the first quarter.

The Buckeyes finally scored on their sixth possession, going 61 yards in 10 plays. Krenzel converted first downs with passes of 12 yards to Ross and 5 yards to tight end Ben Hartsock. That combination hooked up on the touchdown as Krenzel faked a handoff on third-and-2 at the 20 and threw to a wide open Hartsock for the touchdown, cutting the lead to 9-7 with 10:03 left in the first half.

UC answered by moving 33 yards in nine plays. But the drive stalled after OSU’s Simon Fraser batted down a third-down pass and UC took Ruffin’s 49-yard field goal to extend the lead to 12-7 with 6:05 left in the half.

That score stood at halftime, especially after Chris Gamble’s ensuing 94-yard kick return for an apparent score was nullified by an OSU holding penalty.

OSU won the field position battle to open the second half, pinning UC back at its own 8 on the kickoff and taking possession after a punt at the UC 36. The Buckeyes needed five plays to find the end zone with Ross ripping off gains of 16 and 15 yards to open the possession.

Facing third-and-goal at the 5, Krenzel rolled left and stayed alive just long enough to find Chris Vance at the goal line. Vance took the ball away from UC’s Zach Norton for the touchdown and OSU’s first lead at 14-12 with 10:53 left in the third quarter.

OSU moved into scoring position on its next drive, but could not convert on fourth-and-1 at the UC 33. Ross was stopped for no gain and the Bearcats took possession.

UC moved 67 yards in 11 plays to retake the lead. Guidugli hit on 6 of 9 passes on this push, including a 23-yarder to LaDaris Vann, who made a great one-handed grab. Guidugli then threw again to Vann, who beat OSU’s Will Allen for a 23-yard gain down to the OSU 4. Finally, on second-and-goal, Guidugli hit Keith for the 5-yard TD, putting UC back up 19-14 with 2:36 left in the third.

Ohio State came back with a strong possession, keyed by a 29-yard scramble by Krenzel down to the UC 6. After netting 5 yards on the first three plays, OSU called timeout to ponder its fourth-down call at the 1. But the Buckeyes came out of the break with 12 men on the field. Extra lineman Adrien Clarke appeared to be the culprit. Pushed back 5 yards, OSU had to settle for Mike Nugent’s 24-yard field goal and cut the UC advantage to 19-17 with 12:36 left in the game.

The Bearcats then drove all the way down to the OSU 13. But Guidugli tossed an interception in the end zone to OSU’s Gamble, who was filling in on defense.

OSU had to punt the ball away, but the Buckeyes got another huge turnover as well Darrion Scott blindsided Guidugli and forced a fumble, which teammate David Thompson recovered at the UC 47 with 8:11 left.

The Buckeyes needed 10 plays to find the end zone and take the lead for good. Krenzel found Jenkins for gains of 12 and 16 yards on quick outs. Ross then carried on successive plays for 4, 5, 6 and 0 yards.

Finally on second-and-goal at the 6, Krenzel rolled left and kept the ball. He absorbed hits from three UC players at the 2, but spun and put the ball over the goal line for the go-ahead TD with 3:44 left. The Buckeyes lead 23-19.

Then, it was on the defense. UC quickly moved into OSU territory and, after a 19-yard pass to McCleskey, had a first down at the OSU 15 with 1:01 left.

Guidugli threw incomplete twice to Jon Olinger in the end zone with OSU’s EJ Underwood and Gamble breaking up the passes. Then, on third down, Guidugli and George Murray appeared to hook up on the score, but the ball bounced out on the turf.

UC called a timeout with 32 seconds left to set up its final play and OSU followed with one of its own.

Finally, Guidugli tried to find inside slot man Vann on a skinny post. But Wilhelm tipped the ball up and Allen intercepted it to preserve the win.

OSU fell on the ball to close the game and the two sides, after a hard fought game, shared handshakes and hugs at midfield.

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