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The calendar says summer, but football makes it autumn



Published: Tue, September 11, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Ohio State's 28-14 victory over the Akron University Zips wasn't the highlight of Jim Tressel's coaching career, nor was it the best football the Ohio State Buckeyes have ever played. But the boys of autumn sang OSU's alma mater after a game they won, 102,602 fans filled the renovated Ohio Stadium, and enough marching band alumni showed up to join the band in writing Script Ohio four times on the well-manicured field. So even if starting quarterback Steve Bellisari lacked luster, it wasn't the end of the world.

Meanwhile, back in Stambaugh Stadium, Youngstown State University's Penguins were continuing their winning ways under new head coach Jon Heacock.

The sports press has been uncommonly kind to former Penguin Coach Tressel -- more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in his first game in Columbus. Tressel is, of course, an uncommonly nice guy, but if this nice guy finishes last -- or even loses a couple of games along the way -- he'll learn how quickly his warm welcome will wear out.

Still, Tressel inherited quarterback Bellisari from former OSU Coach John Cooper, so he can't be held totally responsible for Bellisari's four fumbles and an almost-intercepted pass that bounced out of the hands of Akron fullback John Fuller and into the hands of Buckeye receiver Chris Vance who scored on the play.

Even if redshirt freshman Akron quarterback Charlie Frye wasn't able to win one for the Zippers, the score was still way too close for many Buckeye fans.

Heacock, on the other hand, as the beneficiary of YSU's Tressel years, is off to a good start with a 2-0 record. Saturday night's 44-0 game against Clarion University gave the Penguins a chance to shine before an enthusiastic home crowd. This Saturday he'll have the opportunity to put his own stamp on the team when they travel to Toledo to take on the Division 1-A Rockets, who've already crushed Minnesota and Temple in the first two games of their season. Heacock says he has a lot of faith in YSU football. Based on the Penguins history, he has reason for optimism.

There has to be less optimism in the ranks of the local favorite professional teams. The Cleveland Browns lost to the Seattle 9-6, on a Seahawk field goal with only three seconds on the clock. At least the Browns scored six points, which is more than can be said for the Steelers, who managed to eke out one measly field goal in the opening minute of the second quarter.




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