NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Ohio State picked up LSU's penalty problem in the BCS national championship game Monday night.
LSU came in as the second-most penalized team in the nation, drawing 8.7 per game. The Buckeyes were 21st best at about 5.5 per game.
Ohio State wasn't so disciplined Monday night, racking up five personal fouls in a 38-24 loss to LSU. Four of the 15-yard penalties came during LSU scoring drives and the other helped stall an Ohio State drive in Tigers' territory.
``We can't win when we play like that,'' Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman said. ``I don't know where that came from.''
The Buckeyes picked up three personal fouls in a span of eight plays in the second quarter.
The first two helped LSU's first touchdown drive and the third slowed the Buckeyes down after they had driven to the Tigers' 28.
Defensive tackle Todd Denlinger was flagged for a late hit that added 15 yards to a 10-yard run by Keiland Williams for LSU. Two plays later, All-America linebacker James Laurinaitis was penalized for grabbing Demetrius Byrd's facemask on a 20-yard pass play.
On the next play, LSU's Matt Flynn hit a wide-open Richard Dickson for a 13-yard touchdown that tied the score at 10.
``Those penalties did help us a little bit but this offense was clicking and I think that we would have made those yards,'' Flynn said.
Ohio State was on the move on their next possession when receiver Brian Hartline drew another 15-yard personal foul. Ohio State kicker Ryan Pretorious ended up having his 38-yard field goal attempt blocked on the drive.
On the opening possession of the third quarter, Ohio State backup linebacker Austin Spitler got free up the middle on an LSU punt, but missed blocking the kick and ran over Patrick Fisher.
The 15-yard penalty gave LSU an automatic first down and on the next play Ohio State was called for another personal foul. That drive ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Flynn to Early Doucet.
Ohio State finished with seven penalties for 83 yards.
The Tigers had four penalties for 36 yards.
``Through the course of the year we became a smarter team,'' Flynn said.
FAST START: Chris ``Beanie'' Wells' 65-yard run on the game's fourth play was the longest ever in a Bowl Championship Series title game, eclipsing by a yard the run by LSU's Justin Vincent against Oklahoma in the Jan. 4, 2004, title game.
Wells had 89 yards on six carries in the first quarter and 119 on 10 attempts by halftime but could be seen hobbling around the sideline during the break. The sophomore tailback had ankle and foot problems much of the year, despite rushing for 1,463 yards during the regular season.
STELTZ STINGER: LSU All-America safety Craig Steltz sat out most of the BCS national championship game against Ohio State with a stinger in his right shoulder he picked up in the second quarter.
His replacement ended up being involved in a big play for the Tigers.
Harry Coleman got a free on a blitz up the middle, pressuring Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman into a slightly underthrown pass that was intercepted with one hand by Chevis Jackson.
Jackson's 34-yard return to the Ohio State 24 set up 1-yard touchdown run by Jacob Hester that put the Tigers up 24-10.
Coleman also recovered a fumble in the second half.
Steltz was suited up with his helmet on for most of the second half, but didn't get back in the game.
CAPTAIN SMITH: This time, Will Smith stood side-by-side with the ``visiting team'' in the Louisiana Superdome.
Technically, the BCS national championship was held at a neutral site. From a practical standpoint, it was more like a home game for LSU, which is a 90-minute drive away, not to mention that New Orleans is home to countless LSU graduates and even more Tigers fans.
Smith, a defensive end for the New Orleans Saints, played for the Ohio State squad that won a national title in the 2002 season. He accepted an invitation to be an honorary captain for the Buckeyes against LSU.
Smith said he was proud to see how the city is slowly being rebuilt after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina 2 1/2 years ago.
``Unfortunately we had to go through it, but just to see all the positive people, seeing all the outside people coming in trying to do as much as they can to help the city rebuild itself has been great,'' he said. ``Just as long as we can keep it going and get this city back to where it used to be.''
UP NEXT: Ohio State and LSU face tough tests next September.
Ohio State takes on USC in Los Angeles on Sept. 13 after opening against Youngstown State and Ohio University.
The Buckeyes also visit Wisconsin and Illinois, and they play Penn State and Michigan at home.
After three nonconference home games, LSU opens the SEC schedule at Auburn. It's the first of three tough road trips in a four-week span, along with games at Florida and South Carolina.
The Tigers get Georgia and Alabama at home, and the Nov. 8 game against the Crimson Tide will mark the return of Nick Saban to Baton Rouge for the first time since he left for the NFL's Miami Dolphins.
QUICK-HITTERS: Among the former players on the sideline for Ohio State was Miami Dolphins receiver/return man Ted Ginn Jr., who returned the opening kickoff 93 yards in the BCS final against Florida a year earlier. ... LSU's Patrick Fisher had a 62-yard punt in the first quarter that matched the longest for any BCS game. In the second quarter, Ohio State's A.J. Trapasso broke the record with a 63-yard punt. ... LSU converted 8-or-10 third downs in the first half and 11-of-18 in the game.

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