Indiana QB Kellen Lewis went from player of the week to playing weak.
By TOM WILLIAMS
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
COLUMBUS -- Indiana freshman quarterback Kellen Lewis walked into Ohio Stadium as the reigning co-Big Ten offensive player of the week.
He earned the prestigious honor after engineering a 31-28 upset of then-No. 15 Iowa.
He didn't have a chance against No. 1 Ohio State. By halftime of Saturday's 44-3 romp, the top-ranked Buckeye defenders had ensured that Lewis would not be a repeat selection.
Lewis completed 15-of-28 passes for 106 yards. He also rushed 11 times, losing 10 yards, as the Buckeyes stifled the Hoosiers, limiting them to 7 yards rushing on 28 tries.
"That's a big thing for us," Buckeyes senior defensive tackle Joel Penton said. "Ohio State defense traditionally concentrates on stopping the run so it's exciting. Down in the trenches, we often take a lot of the responsibility to stop the run."
Leading the way for the Buckeyes was senior cornerback Antonio Smith who made 11 solo tackles and one assisted takedown.
"I don't know what was going on with [Smith] today, but he was mad at somebody," said sophomore middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, who made five tackles. "He plays with such heart, with a passion.
"He could have said 'let's relax,' but then he goes out in the second half and starts hitting people harder."
After trailing 3-0 midway through the first quarter, the Buckeyes' defenders overwhelmed the Hoosiers. Lewis suffered four sacks in the second quarter and was penalized for intentional grounding after the fourth.
"They didn't allow us to do the things we've been able to do off and on the past two weeks," Indiana coach Terry Hoeppner said. "They have an excellent scheme and they execute it well."
With Ohio State ahead 14-3 in the second quarter, Smith nailed Lewis for a 10-yard loss. Later, defensive end Jay Richardson sacked Lewis for a 5-yard loss at the Ohio State 45. Two plays later, the Hoosiers punted.
After another Buckeyes touchdown, Richardson sacked Lewis for a 7-yard loss at midfield. Then defensive end Vernon Gholston chased Lewis and caught him for a 24-yard sack.
"When you get 11 guys running to the ball, it leads to turnovers and big plays, and it keeps people off the scoreboard," said Smith, a former walk-on.
Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel praised Smith for his work ethic.
"Seems like every time I looked up, he was making a hit in the backfield," Tressel said. "He's such a smart player, he's an amazing person. Academically, he's in engineering, which is hours and hours of studying.
"He comes dragging into Woody Hayes [training center] about an hour late every day and makes up the film time because he was in lab or whatever," Tressel said. "He knows things inside and out."
Smith said practicing against the Buckeyes' more famous Smith -- quarterback Troy -- and the offense prepares the defense.
"Every day we face one of the better offenses in the country," Smith said. "We practice against them one versus one and that definitely prepares us for what we see on Saturday. There aren't too many offenses better than what we have."