NOTEBOOK | OSU vs. Minnesota

Local connection: Minnesota sophomore punter Justin Kucek, a Canfield High graduate, punted five times for 186 yards (a 37.2 yard average). Kucek entered the game averaging 38.9 yards per kick and has put 13 inside the 20. He's one of 17 Ohio natives on the Minnesota roster. (Gophers coach Glen Mason played and coached at Ohio State and was edged out for the OSU job when Tressel was hired in 2001.) "[They have] a lot of Ohio guys and they showed up and they played just like they wanted to make a statement from the beginning," said Buckeyes quarterback Troy Smith.Dotting the "i": Ohio State graduate and professional golfer Jack Nicklaus dotted the "i" in Script Ohio during halftime of Saturday's game, becoming just the fifth non-band member to do so. "They spelled it right and I got my footwork right," said Nicklaus, who was wearing a black baseball cap with a red "O" on it, a la former coach Woody Hayes. "That was pretty neat. I'm a pretty emotional guy and Ohio State means a lot to me." The other non-band members to dot the "i" are Ohio State President Novice G. Fawcett, actor/comedian Bob Hope, Hayes and OSU ticket director Bob Ries.In memory: The Buckeyes wore a decal with the letters AP on their helmets in honor of Ohio State freshman Andrew Polakowski, who died on Oct. 20 in an elevator accident on campus.Homecoming connection: Audrey Martinko, a senior Italian major from Boardman High, was a member of the Ohio State homecoming court. Martinko was an outfielder on the Spartans' 2001 softball state championship team.Up next: Ohio State will play at Illinois on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2. The Buckeyes will play at Northwestern on Nov. 11 and the kickoff time and television coverage will be announced later.
Joe Scalzo

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