Ginn injury puts damper on OSU


Published: Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 9, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Ted Ginn Jr. electrified Ohio State the first time he got his hands on the ball Monday night. It would also be his only touch of the night.

Ginn injured his right ankle early in the first quarter and did not see another offensive down in the Buckeyes' 41-14 loss to Florida in the BCS title game.

Ginn hobbled off the field on Ohio State's second offensive play of the game. Ginn returned just once thereafter, to return a kick-off after Florida's first touchdown. But Ginn lined up in the corner of the field and teammate Anthony Gonzalez fielded the punt.

Ginn then left walked to the Buckeyes locker room. He ran back out midway through the second quarter, getting a rise out of the Ohio State fans, but never returned to the game.

Without him, the Buckeyes offense suffered. Florida held Ohio State to a season-low 73 total yards in the first half. Quarterback Troy Smith was just 2-of-8 passing for 24 yards and an interception.

The former high school track star sprinted away from the pack and into the end zone, barely touched along the way for a 7-0 lead.

It was the second kickoff return touchdown of Ginn's career, and first this season. The junior has returned six punts for touchdowns in his career.

Ginn's 93-yard kick-off return for a touchdown to open the game was first kickoff return for a score in BCS history. It was also the third opening kickoff in bowl history.

Colorado's Ben Kelly returned a kickoff 93 yards against Oregon in the 1998 Aloha Bowl and Iowa's C.J. Jones returned a kickoff 100 yards against Southern Cal in the 2003 Orange Bowl.

Making the right call

In the days leading up to Monday's BCS title game, Florida's Jemalle Cornelius said his girlfriend wanted him to call tails during the coin toss.

Earl Everett almost spoiled those plans.

Everett looked as if he was ready to make the call before Cornelius stepped up and made the tails calls.

The toss was tails and the Gators deferred to the second half. Ohio State took advantage when Ted Ginn, Jr. returned the opening kick-off 93 yards for a touchdown.

Hetland makes good

It took Chris Hetland five minutes Monday night to set a season-high for field goals.

Hetland had never more than one in a game. Hetland went 2-for-2 in the second quarter when he nailed a 42-yard field goal with 6:00 left and then a 40-yarder with 1:53 left.

Hetland entered the game 4-of-13 on field goals this season with a long of 33.

Stadium officials open, then close roof

Those who got showed up early to University of Phoenix Stadium got to see one of the buildings signature features in action.

Officials opened the stadium's retractable roof for the national anthem and pre-game fly over, then closed the roof before kick off.

The decision to close the roof was made due to temperatures falling into the low 50s Monday night in spite of the perfectly clear conditions.

This and that

The following former Gators were on the sideline of Monday's game. Lomas Brown , Reynaldo Hill, Darrell Jackson, Jason Odom, Mike Peterson, Max Starks, Ben Troupe, Lawrence Wright, Jarvis Herring, Terry Jackson, Shane Matthews, Errict Rhett. ... The following Gators were in attendance: Travis Taylor, Willie Jackson, Cedric Smith, Jeff Mitchell, Johnny Rutledge, Mo Collins, Gary Rolle, Daryl Dixon, Robin Fisher, Ray McDonald Sr. ... Chris Leak opened the game going 9-for-9 passing for 99 yards without an interception. ... Leak will appear on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" tonight.

Contact Brandon Zimmerman at 374-5051 or zimmerb@gvillesun.com.

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