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Smith guides Ohio State to rout of Michigan State

Oct 14, 2006 - 10:45 PM EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- Troy Smith and top-ranked Ohio State certainly did not overlook Michigan State.

The Heisman Trophy favorite, Smith threw for 234 yards and two touchdowns as the Buckeyes crushed the reeling Spartans, 38-7, in a Big Ten Conference matchup.

Ted Ginn Jr. recorded his sixth career punt return for a touchdown and Anthony Gonzalez had seven catches for 118 yards and a score for Ohio State (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten), which extended the nation's longest winning streak to 14 games.

In 1998, Michigan State stunned No. 1 Ohio State in Columbus, 28-24, to dash the Buckeyes' hopes of a national title. The Spartans also posted a 23-7 win over the Buckeyes here the following year, but they have lost the last five meetings since.

While Smith completed 15-of-22 passes without an interception, friend and counterpart Drew Stanton went just 8-of-16 for 54 yards and a pick before being replaced early in the third quarter after colliding with equipment on the Ohio State sideline following an eight-yard run.

The Buckeyes outgained the Spartans on the ground, 182-63, and held a 421-198 total advantage.

"It wasn't picturesque by any means," Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel said. "Looking at the statistics, we outgained them significantly, getting the punt return for a touchdown was gigantic and our guys played real steady."

Antonio Pittman opened the scoring with a two-yard run with 6:12 left in the first quarter before the Buckeyes pulled away in the second on a 32-yard field goal by Aaron Pettrey, Ginn's 60-yard punt return and a 12-yard pass from Smith to Gonzalez.

"We always practice with their backs up against the wall and they have to punt out," Ginn said. "I told (Gonzalez) one of us is going to take it to the house because of the short field. He happened to punt it right to me and there I went."

Ginn set a Big Ten record for career punt returns for touchdowns.

Smith pushed the advantage to 31-0 on a seven-yard TD toss to Brian Robiskie before true freshman Chris Wells added a five-yard TD run with 12:49 to play.

"Troy has got a lot of poise," Tressel said. "In the red zone, the whole deal is that he has a little more pressure on him. Everything going on around him doesn't bother him. He reads what's going on and has a lot of confidence in his receivers and has the ability to make great passes."

A.J. Jimmerson scored on a six-yard run with just over a minute left for Michigan State (3-4, 0-3), which has lost four straight games.

"We played an awfully good football team tonight and you have to give them credit," embattled Spartans coach John L. Smith said. "We had an opportunity or two early that we needed to capitalize on and we didn't, which makes for a long day."

Already without leading rusher Javon Ringer, who is out for the year with a knee injury, the Spartans lost 6-6 wideout Matt Trannon to a sprained ankle in last week's setback to Michigan, and he did not suit up for this one.

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