|Ohio State stumbling again, LSU leads 24-10 at halftime of BCS championship|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 07 January 2008 17:32|
Mimicking the rout in the desert, Ohio State struck for a quick touchdown against its Southeastern Conference opponent but faced a big deficit by halftime. LSU - taking on the Florida role - bounced back from the early hole for a commanding 24-10 lead midway through the title game Monday night.
The only solace for the top-ranked Buckeyes: They weren't quite as far behind in this one as they were against the Gators, who led 34-14 by halftime and went on to a 41-14 blowout.
Still, it a stunning parallel to Ohio State's loss 364 days ago. This time, the Buckeyes (11-1) jumped ahead on a 65-yard touchdown run by Chris ``Beanie'' Wells on the fourth play from scrimmage.
LSU (11-2) was down 10-0 before it had a first down, but the Tigers bounced back for 24 straight points - including a three-touchdown outburst in the second quarter - to take control heading to the locker room.
Matt Flynn threw a pair of TD passes, hooking up with Richard Dickson on a 13-yarder and Brandon LaFell from 10 yards out. An interception by Chevis Jackson set up LSU's final score of the brilliant period, a 1-yard plunge by bruising runner Jacob Hester.
The Tigers left the field to chants of ``LSU! LSU!'' from the predominantly purple-and-gold crowd at the Superdome, just 90 miles from their Baton Rouge campus. The Ohio State fans looked on in silence, having seen this all before in Arizona.
Wells had 119 yards rushing at halftime, but Todd Boeckman couldn't keep up his good start. The replacement for 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith was just 6-of-13 for 111 yards.
Flynn, on the other hand, was shredding an Ohio State defense that had been the stingiest in the nation during the regular season. The big Texan was 11-of-15 for 118 yards, while Hester chipped in 56 yards on the ground.
After a slow start, an LSU defense being led for the final time by Ohio State grad Bo Pellini managed to slow the Buckeyes. Pellini is heading to Nebraska as head coach when this one is over.
Say this for Ohio State: They sure know how to start quick in these title games. After converting on third down, Wells took a handoff and headed left, then made a quick cut to his right and was gone - clearly showing the SEC doesn't have a monopoly on speed.
He left LSU All-American safety Craig Steltz in the dust to give the Buckeyes the lead just 1:26 into the game. Back on the sideline, Wells was congratulated by former Ohio State star Ted Ginn, a bit of symmetry with last year's title game in Arizona.
In that one, Ginn returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown against Florida, but it was a Gatorfest the rest of the way.
With much less star power, Ohio State made it to the championship game for the second year in a row, this time as an underdog despite the No. 1 ranking.
On their second possession, the Buckeyes struck for another big play. With Wells lingering near the line of scrimmage as a possible receiver, Brandon Saine slipped behind two defensive backs and hauled in a 44-yard pass from Boeckman.
The LSU defense stiffened there, forcing Ohio State to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Ryan Pretorius that made it 10-0.
Finally showing signs of life, the Tigers converted three times on third down before stalling too. Colt David punched through a 32-yard field goal that got LSU back within a touchdown heading to the second quarter.
LSU was trying to win its second BCS title in five seasons, on the very same Superdome where the last one came. The Tigers, who defeated Oklahoma in the 2004 title game but had to share the championship with Southern Cal, were looking to win a crown no one could dispute.
After converting on 8-of-10 third downs through the first two quarters, they were halfway to the trophy.