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Original Issue

6 Ohio State


Starters returning: 7
Yards gained:


Style: 5-2
Starters returning: 7
Yards allowed:

We regard the following morsel of information as we would a rattlesnake: Ohio State has a freshman quarterback, a passing phenom, who is a fair bet to replace the seasoned senior Rod Gerald before too many Saturdays, after which Gerald would become a wide receiver. Of passes. Usually reliable sources close to the Ohio State scene say this. You may not believe it. We don't believe it. But until we all find out what they've been smoking out there, we're stuck with it.

Art Schlichter (pronounced Schleester) is the freshman's name. He stands 6'3" and weighs 195 pounds. At high school in Washington Court House, Ohio, Schlichter completed 108 of 190 passes for 1,794 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. So what? Woody Hayes doesn't play beanbag. But now we come to a fact that makes the story faintly plausible. Schlichter averaged 7.2 yards a pop when he carried the ball. Maybe he's a fullback disguised as a quarterback. Another fact: Schlichter was throwing the ball to Gerald in summer workouts.

We hurry on to more familiar data. Ohio State is approximately as strong in other departments as it has been through recorded history.

Senior Tailback Ron Springs might well pick up more than 1,000 yards and despite the loss of All-America Offensive Tackle Chris Ward, the line is typically robust.

There is excellent speed and quickness on defense. Tom Cousineau, an All-America linebacker in 1977, may be the best at that position since Randy Gradishar, the Denver nonpareil. True, Hayes is said not to be especially deep in the defensive line. Not exactly thin, either, we suspect.

Whatever Hayes has up his sleeve, the season will not be a success unless he beats Michigan, something he hasn't accomplished in three years. This time he's a good bet to do it.

Well before then, though, in fact on Sept. 16, he has another big one, against Penn State. That school was Schlichter's second choice. Penn State is a little miffed that he got away, so look for some excitement.