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First-half fumbles by quarterback Joe Germaine and wide

By Richard RosenblattAssociated Press Published: September 20, 1998 12:00 AM

First-half fumbles by quarterback Joe Germaine and wide receiver David Boston set up both Missouri touchdowns, but Ohio State rebounded from a 14-13 halftime deficit to shut down the Tigers' option directed by Corby Jones.

In the second half, Ohio State held Missouri to 66 total yards. For the game, the Buckeyes rolled to a 532-211 advantage in total yards. Jones had 32 yards on 13 carries in the final 30 minutes and totaled 91 yards on 20 carries for the game.

For the third straight game, Wiley, a 6-foot, 198-pound junior, produced a career-best effort as he carried 24 times and scored on runs of 21 yards in the first quarter and 12 yards in the fourth quarter.

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The Buckeyes (3-0), though, were sloppy and sluggish through three quarters against the Tigers (2-1), who are now 0-8 against No. 1 teams.

Boston, who caught nine passes for 112 yards, fumbled the ball away after a 42-yard reception and it led to Jones' 10-yard TD run that tied the game 7-7 early in the second period before a crowd of 93,269.

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With the Buckeyes ahead 10-7, the Tigers took the lead when Germaine _ 19 of 25 for 211 yards _ fumbled on a keeper and cornerback Carlos Posey scooped up the ball and ran 65 yards to a touchdown, putting the Tigers ahead 14-13 with 4:21 left in the half.

Ohio State, which entered the game worried about stopping the option, wore down the Tigers in the second half. Wiley broke free on a 29-yard run to the Missouri 29, and after he carried three straight times down to the 18, Joe Montgomery took over. His third straight carry produced a 6-yard TD run and the Buckeyes were ahead for good, 21-14, after a successful 2-point conversion.

After that, the Tigers wilted under the Buckeyes' defensive pressure, led by linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer and cornerback Antoine Winfield. Jones brought his team down to the Ohio State 32, but after running for a first down on fourth-and-1, he fumbled and the ball was recovered by Buckeyes' cornerback Ahmed Plummer.

Germaine directed a 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended in Wiley's 12-yard TD run and Derek Combs added a 9-yard scoring run with 3:54 left.

The Tigers came into the game as 25-point underdogs but full of confidence. They felt even better at halftime.

Ohio State's opening drive ended with Wiley's 21-yard TD run, and the Buckeyes were on the move again when Germaine hit Boston for 42 yards to the Missouri 38. But Posey stripped the ball from Boston, free safety Harold Piersey picked it up and ran 20 yards to the Ohio State 48.

Jones, the 6-foot-1, 222-pounder who took a pounding in last year's loss to Ohio State, scrambled for 27 yards and capped off the drive with a 10-yard TD run, outrunning linebacker Jerry Rudzinski and leaping the final five yards into the end zone, where he ended up on his back.

The Buckeyes were stunned, but only for an instant. On their first play after the score, Wiley ran 59 yards to the Missouri 30. But Ohio State settled for Dan Stultz's 27-yard field goal with 12:20 left in the half.

Posey was far from finished. Germaine took off running on a first-and-10 from the Missouri 42. Instead of sliding to avoid two defenders, Germaine took them on and linebacker Barry Odom knocked the ball loose with a ferocious hit. Posey grabbed the ball and ran 65 yards to put the Tigers ahead 14-10 with 4;21 left in the half.

Ohio State, which rolled up 306 yards to Missouri's 145 in the first half, closed to 14-13 on Stultz's 36-yard field goal with 1:34 to play.

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