Sept. 11, 2007
GAME: Ohio State at Washington
TIME: 12:30 P.M. PST
VENUE: Husky Stadium
SEATTLE (AP) -- Ohio State has dominated unranked teams in recent years. After a flawed performance against a lowly opponent, however, the Buckeyes' win streak could be in jeopardy.
Tenth-ranked Ohio State goes for its 16th straight win against an unranked opponent on Saturday when it visits upstart Washington, which is coming off its first victory over a Top 25 team in nearly four years.
The Buckeyes (2-0) have won 15 straight games against teams not in the AP poll since a 24-17 loss at unranked Purdue on Nov. 13, 2004. Their average margin of victory in those games is 28.9 points.
Ohio State's latest win, however, wasn't too convincing. The Buckeyes needed a strong defensive effort to overcome five turnovers in a 20-2 win over Akron on Saturday.
Quarterback Todd Boeckman completed 14 of 23 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions. The Buckeyes, who led just 3-2 at halftime, also lost three fumbles.
"We can't leave our defense hanging out to dry," Ohio State offensive tackle Kirk Barton said. "They were the supermen today. They bailed us out time after time. Offensively, we need to look in the mirror. We're not on the slope that we need to be on. We need to get better. It seems like we're either flatlining or getting worse."
Luckily for the mistake-prone offense, the Buckeyes defense gave up only 69 total yards and now lead the nation in total defense at 122.5 yards allowed per game.
"Our defense was in command," said coach Jim Tressel. "They were getting off the field in three and out consistently, creating good field position."
Ohio State, which held Youngstown State to two field goals in a 38-6 win in its season opener Sept. 1, is one of only three teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision - formerly known as Division I-A - to not allow a touchdown this season.
Ohio State could struggle to maintain its defensive dominance against a surprising Washington team that's looking to win its first three games for the first time since 2001.
The Huskies (2-0) haven't had a winning season since going 7-6 in 2002, but they look like they've turned a corner in their third year under coach Tyrone Willingham.
On Saturday, the Huskies beat then-No. 22 Boise State 24-10, snapping the Broncos' 14-game win streak - the longest in major college football. It was Washington's first win in 12 games against ranked teams since a 27-19 victory over then-No. 8 Washington State on Nov. 22, 2003.
"This speaks volumes for our team and hopefully for our program," said Willingham, whose team received 95 votes in the AP poll this week.
Washington held the prolific Boise State offense to its lowest point total since Nov. 10, 2005, and redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Locker threw for 193 yards and a touchdown. Locker, who has rushed for 181 yards in his first two college games, also had his third rushing TD of the season.
The Huskies fell to 3-7 all-time against the Buckeyes with a 28-9 loss in the teams' last meeting Aug. 30, 2003.
Washington, though, has beaten a ranked Ohio State team twice, including its last victory in the series on Sept. 10, 1994, when the No. 25 Huskies defeated the 18th-ranked Buckeyes 25-16 in Seattle.
"The stakes are much higher as we get on the plane to head to Washington," Tressel said. "Hopefully the experience we've had in the first two games and (practice) this week will prepare us."