OSU NOTEBOOK
Beach or Bourbon Street?

Sunday, November 22, 1998

BY JOHN ERARDI
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COLUMBUS - The Buckeyes are Orange- or Sugar Bowl-bound and hoping to avoid the massacre that Florida State administered last year in the latter.

There is a reason this year to avoid a postseason funk.

It is called OSU, 31, Michigan 16.

Despite not living up to the preseason No. 1 billing that endured until Week 9 (28-24 shocker of a loss here to Michigan State), the Buckeyes said they will maintain the momentum that comes with Saturday's victory.

"We're happy to be co-Big Ten Champs (with Wisconsin and Michigan)," OSU senior flanker Dee Miller said. "We'll sit around the next few weeks and see which bowl we get accepted to, and go down there and hopefully play a game like we did today."

This doesn't mean the Buckeyes don't rue what might have been.

"As soon as we came in the locker room (after the game), I was thinking: 'If we'd have just won that (Michigan State) game.' But we have accepted it, and are going to live in the present," Miller said.

It was OSU's 28th Big Ten championship.

"But beating Michigan was bigger than getting (a share of) the ring," OSU junior fullback Matt Keller said.

It was the seniors' 42nd victory in four years, setting a new OSU record. The victory snapped UM's 16-game winning streak in the Big Ten and eight-game winning streak this season.

CARR WRECK: Michigan coach Lloyd Carr was magnanimous in his praise of the Buckeyes. "Ohio State has a great team," he said. "We have always been a team that prides itself on not giving up big plays."

The Wolverines gave up more big plays Saturday than in the past three years combined to OSU.

Carr noted that when talented UM tight end Jerame Tuman left the game early with a concussion, the Wolverines' game plan had to be shelved.

"It became more of a passing game, and that's not our ideal type of game," Carr said.

UM quarterback Tom Brady was 31-of-56 for 375 yards.

CROWDED HOUSE: OSU coach John Cooper and the players dished out kudos like game balls to the crowd.

"I've never heard the crowd like that here," said senior strong safety Damon Moore, a fifth-year senior who had a career-best 10 tackles. "The crowd was into it from the first play to the last. When things went against us, the fans picked it up louder."

ODDS-AND-ENDS: David Boston's 74 catches this season broke OSU's single-season mark of 73 last year by, you guessed it -- Boston...Steve Bellisari, OSU's possible quarterback of the future, had five tackles (three unassisted) on special teams...Ahmed Plummer's fourth-quarter interception was his fourth of the season and ninth in his career.



Sports Headlines for Sunday, November 22, 1998

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
By the numbers
CENTRAL STATE 86, NKU 82
Horton will miss Alaska
Lebanon, Wyoming await foes
Looking for a home
MIAMI 20, AKRON 14
Miami must get up for Flyers
Namath: Ewbank 'like father'
NFL INSIDER
No. 1 Vols heap misery on UK
OHIO STATE 31, MICHIGAN 16
OSU NOTEBOOK
OSU seniors chase demons
Players to watch
Ravens scouting report
Reds collectibles scattered
UC 51, ARKANSAS STATE 7
Who's got the edge?
Wildcats didn't have it in them
XU 90, CHICAGO STATE 50
XU NOTEBOOK