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Sunday Press Conference
Sept. 28, 1996
Buckeyes Defeat Irish, 29-16
Pepe Pearson ran for 173 yards and two touchdowns and Stanley
Jackson passed for two scores as fourth-ranked Ohio State made
its first visit to South Bend in 60 years a memorable one with a
29-16 victory over fifth-ranked Notre Dame.
The Buckeyes (3-0) proved that lopsided wins over Rice and
Pittsburgh were no fluke, rolling to a 22-7 halftime lead and
holding at least a double-digit lead the entire second half.
Ohio State has scored 171 points in its first three games.
The win evened the all-time series at 2-2, including a 45-26
triumph by Ohio State in Columbus last year. The Buckeyes had
not played at Notre Dame since a 7-2 loss in 1936.
"I told our squad that this is a great victory for Ohio State,
the players, and the fans," said Buckeye coach John Cooper, who
has sometimes been criticized for an inability to win big games.
"Not many teams can come in here and win against this great
Notre Dame football team."
Pearson carried 20 times for 104 yards and Ohio State outgained
the Irish, 283-93, in the first half and 391-280 overall.
"Both teams wanted a physical matchup. We overpowered them,"
said star tackle Orlando Pace of Ohio State. "Our offensive line
really came together."
Notre Dame, which won a thrilling game over Texas last week, was
dealt a serious blow to its national championship hopes in its
first loss in four games.
Ohio State struck quickly when Dimitrious Stanley returned the
opening kickoff 85 yards to the Fighting Irish 14. The tackle
was made by Allen Rossum, who had returned the opening kickoff
for a score two weeks ago against Purdue. Pearson capitalized
with a three-yard touchdown run, but the extra point was
Notre Dame took its only lead on a two-yard touchdown pass from
Ron Powlus to fullback Marc Edwards with 6:05 left in the
quarter. Linebacker Kinnon Tatum intercepted a tipped pass by
Jackson at the Buckeyes 15 to set up the score.
Ohio State responded with a two-yard touchdown pass from Jackson
to fullback Matt Calhoun with 3:37 left in the opening period.
Jackson connected on passes of 14 yards to Dee Miller and 25
yards to John Lumpkin to put the Buckeyes deep in Notre Dame
Jackson was 9-of-15 for 154 yards with one interception.
Nose guard Luke Fickell picked off Powlus and Ohio State moved
downfield in a drive that stalled before Josh Jackson kicked a
24-yard field goal with 3:52 remaining in the half.
Ohio State continued to wear down the Irish defense. Pearson
had a 23-yard run, lined up as a wideout and caught a 26-yard
slant pass and then ran into the end zone from one yard out with
54 seconds left in the half. Pearson has eight touchdowns in
"We've had a lot of great backs at Ohio State. He is one of
them," Cooper assured.
Notre Dame cut the deficit to 12 points early in the third
quarter when Powlus connected on a 34-yard pass to Emmett Mosley
that led to a 26-yard field goal by Jim Sanson.
Powlus was 13-of-30 passes for 154 yards and was picked off
An aggressive defense played a role in Ohio State's fourth
touchdown. Greg Bellisari sacked Powlus inside the 5, setting
up a punt that gave the Buckeyes a first down at the Irish 34.
Jackson followed with a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end D.J.
Jones with 1:46 left in the third quarter that gave the Buckeyes
a 29-10 lead.
Edwards scored his second touchdown of the game on a nine-yard
run midway through the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 29-16.
It was again the result of a turnover, this time a fumble by
Pearson near midfield that was recovered by Ivory Covington.
Coach Lou Holtz curiosly decided to kick for the extra point,
but it was blocked.
The two touchdowns were no consolation to Edwards.
"We embarrassed ourselves out there today in the first half," he
said. "The offense couldn't move the ball and we left the
defense in some bad situations."
Another special teams mistake prevented the Irish from moving
within a touchdown. Autry Denson returned a punt 88 yards for
an apparent score with 3:35 remaining, but the TD was nullified
by a holding penalty on Ty Goode.
Denson, who ran for 158 yards against Texas, was held to 55
yards on 19 carries.
"We didn't tackle great and they made some great catches and
great plays," Holtz said. "They have a nice offense and made
the big plays."
Ohio St (4) 12 10 7 0 -- 29
Notre Dame (5) 7 0 3 6 -- 16
OSU--TD, Pepe Pearson 3-yd run (kick failed); 1:45
ND--TD, Marc Edwards 2-yd pass from Ron Powlus
(Jim Sanson kick); 8:55
OSU--TD, Matt Calhoun 3-yd pass from Stanley Jackson
(run failed); 11:23
OSU--FG, Josh Jackson 24-yd; 11:08
OSU--TD, Pepe Pearson 1-yd run (Josh Jackson kick); 14:06
ND--FG, Jim Sanson 26-yd; 5:13
OSU--TD, D.J. Jones 13-yd pass from Stanley Jackson
(Josh Jackson kick); 13:16
ND--Marc Edwards 9-yd run (kick failed); 7:59
RUSHING: Ohio St-Pearson 29-173, Calhoun 4-16,
Montgomery 4-11, M Keller 3-7, S Jackson 3-minus 1.
Notre Dame-Denson 19-55, Kinder 7-20, Edwards 7-18,
Powlus 9-15, Mosley 1-10, Farmer 1-8.
PASSING: Ohio St-S Jackson 9-15-1-154, Germaine 4-5-0-31.
Notre Dame-Powlus 13-30-2-154.
RECEIVING: Ohio St-Pearson 2-42, Lumpkin 2-28,
Jones 2-25, Stanley 2-24, Miller 2-18, M Wiley 1-31,
M Keller 1-15, Calhoun 1-2.
Notre Dame-M Johnson 3-40, Mosley 2-32, Denson 2-11,
Edwards 2-7, Carreta 1-42, Champion 1-12, Nelson 1-10,