Big 33: Ohio pummels Pennsylvania 50-14
The Ohio team piled up several big plays as it crushed Pennsylvania 50-14 in the 54th annual Big 33 Football Classic Saturday night in Hershey, Pa. Led by Akise Teague (Ursuline), Devin Smith (Massillon) and Doran Grant (SVSM), Ohio rolled over its rival.
The Ohio team piled up several big plays as it crushed Pennsylvania 50-14 in the 54th annual Big 33 Football Classic Saturday night at Hershey, Pa.
And there were Ohio State fingerprints all over the win.
Seven OSU signees were on the winning side. That group included Massillon Washington wide receiver Devin Smith, who had three catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns. It also included Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary cornerback Doran Grant, who returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown.
"It's special, especially in this big game, Ohio versus Pennsylvania,” Grant said. “There's been a lot of tension this week. There's been a lot of trash talking and our coach told us to back it up. I'm not going to lie we was trash talking a lot and our coach said now it's time to back it and I think we backed it up pretty well.”
Other OSU signees in the game included Cleveland Glenville quarterback Cardale Jones, Canton McKinley defensive end Steve Miller, Elyria defensive lineman Chase Farris, Shaker Heights offensive lineman Antonio Underwood and Westerville Central tight end Nick Vannett.
The game MVP award went to Youngstown Ursuline running back Akise Teague. The Cincinnati-bound Teague had 102 yards and two touchdowns rushing on eight carries. Teague also had two catches for 66 yards and a score.
Linebacker Ejuan Price of Woodland Hills was on the Pennsylvania roster. Price signed with OSU in February, but his coach George Novak told reporters this week that Price wants out of his letter-of-intent following Jim Tressel’s resignation at OSU. Price, who had two tackles in the game, confirmed afterwards the game that he will not be enrolling at OSU on Monday.
Price said OSU has agreed to his request for a release from that letter-of-intent, although he does not have the official paperwork yet. Pittsburgh was believed to be his school of choice.
Jones was 4 of 6 passing for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Grant had three tackles to go with his interception, while Farris had four stops.
Other notables on the Ohio side included Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit quarterback Connor Cook, Cincinnati Colerain quarterback/running back Tyler Williams, Cincinnati Winton Woods linebacker Antonio Poole, Hilliard Davidson defensive lineman Keith Heitzman and Clyde linebacker Gabe Gilbert.
Cook, headed to Michigan State, was 3 of 10 passing for 56 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Williams, who signed with Akron, had five carries for 74 yards to go with a 45-yard catch. Poole, a Michigan signee, had six tackles and a sack. Heitzman (Michigan signee) and Gilbert (Toledo signee) each had interceptions as well.
Teague had a pair of touchdown runs to help Ohio grab a 14-0 lead. Jones then went deep to Smith for a 40-yard touchdown and a 21-7 lead with 4:49 left in the first half.
"They were pressing us (in coverage) the whole game, but I didn't think they could deal with our speed," said Smith, who won the state 100-meter title on June 4. "We just tried to take advantage of it. When they were pressing up, we usually ran a fade route. So we decided to switch it up and ran the post. It was wide open. Great throw by Cardale."
Grant then hauled in an overthrown Pennsylvania pass in the end zone, intercepted it and returned it 100 yards down the sideline for a touchdown as Ohio went up 28-7 with 1:40 left in the half.
"I saw the ball and took it,” Grant said. “I knew all I had to do was break number 9s tackle and I was off to the races. I had a convoy of blockers in front of me, I just followed them and the defense had six."
Jones then hit Teague for a 42-yard touchdown in the third quarter that made it 35-7. Smith then had a 28-yard touchdown catch from Cook to make it 43-7. Heitzman capped the scoring for Ohio with a 1-yard touchdown run with 3:47 left.
The OSU verbals – sans Jones, who will attend a prep school this upcoming year -- will travel to Columbus on Sunday and will be enrolled in summer quarter classes with the rest of the incoming freshmen on Monday.
"I just wanted to finish my last high school game strong before I enroll tomorrow and just do what I had to do and play a solid game and I think I did that,” Grant said. "It's finally here. It's time now. We move in tomorrow. Curtis (Grant) was calling me all day like, ‘Hey cuz you got to hurry up and get here’ because we're rooming together. He's already moved in. He told me to hurry up and get here so we can have some fun."
The win was Ohio’s third in a row in the Big 33 and allowed Ohio to move ahead at 10-9 since the series with Pennsylvania resumed in 1993.
"It felt good,” Grant said. “We got bragging rights, three wins in a row for Ohio. I guess we took the lead in the series, it was 9-9 and now we're ahead 10-9."