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Smith, Pittman spark Ohio State rout of Minnesota

Oct 28, 2006 - 10:37 PM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Troy Smith, Antonio Pittman and top-ranked Ohio State hardly are being challenged this season.

Smith accounted for two touchdowns and Pittman rushed for two TDs as the Buckeyes crushed Big Ten Conference rival Minnesota, 44-0, to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 16 games.

The Heisman Trophy favorite, Smith completed 14-of-21 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score for the Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten), who have won every game this season by at least 17 points and the last two by a combined 85.

"Offensively, we've still got work to do," Smith said. "Putting points on the board is cool, but I guess the way you do it, how you do it is the most important thing. We've just got to keep rolling."

Pittman gained 116 yards on 21 carries for Ohio State, which visits lowly Illinois and Northwestern before hosting No. 2 Michigan on November 18. It was the sixth time this season and 14th time in his career that the junior surpassed 100 yards on the ground.

"We work hard no matter who we are playing against," said freshman Chris Wells, who ran for 90 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. "It is hard not to think about Michigan, but we need to take it one game at a time."

The Buckeyes outrushed the Golden Gophers, 266-47, and held a 484-182 edge in total offense. They have held eight of their nine opponents to one touchdown or fewer.

"Anytime you hold Minnesota, who knows how to run the ball, to 47 yards, that's huge, and then whenever we rush for 200, I just think that's wonderful," Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel said. "And even in these games that are a little shorter, that goal we always have of 200 becomes a little harder when there's less plays."

Pittman opened the scoring on a 10-yard run just over four minutes into the contest.

The score was 10-0 early in the second quarter when Smith was stripped of the ball by defensive end Steve Davis and defensive tackle Neel Allen recovered at the Ohio State 38. But the Buckeyes stuffed running back Amir Pinnix for no gain on 4th-and-1 at the 29, and Smith capped a 10-play drive with an 18-yard TD toss to Brian Robiskie for a 17-0 cushion with 3:49 to go in the half.

The Buckeyes pulled away in the third quarter on a 21-yard TD scamper by Smith and a 13-yard run by Pittman. Both scores followed interceptions of Golden Gophers quarterback Bryan Cupito.

A senior, Cupito went just 13-of-25 for 120 yards with three interceptions for Minnesota (3-6, 0-5), which has gone just 2-32 in the series since 1969.

Gophers coach Glen Mason graduated from Ohio State in 1972 and was a member of the Buckeyes' staff from 1978-85, including a six-season stint as offensive coordinator.

"Today we faced an incredible football team," Mason said. "We have had many problems and we continue to have problems. It is hard to get past those problems and get better when you play a team like Ohio State."

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