Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Ohio State Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer and his wife, Shelley Meyer, and the Ohio State Buckeyes arrive at Louis Armstrong International Airport on Saturday.

The lead

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer on Saturday evening termed the status of H-back Dontre Wilson for the national semifinal as “50/50.” WIlson is recovering from a broken foot suffered in a Nov. 8 win at Michigan State.

“He’s still (walking) in a boot,” Myer said.

Before the injury, Wilson, a sophomore, rushed for 100 yards (5.6 per carry) and caught 21 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns through nine games, offering the Buckeyes offense a change-of-pace playmaker. He also averaged 24 yards on kickoff returns and 9.7 yards on punt returns.

The challenge may be finding a place to fit Wilson back into the offense. Without him, Ohio State has had few problems scoring and enters the Sugar Bowl averaging 45.2 points and 507.6 yards per game.

Player to watch

Running back Ezekiel Elliott is coming off a career outing in the Big Ten Championship game where he rushed for 220 yards, including an 81-yard score which marked the longest run of his career. Both Elliott and fellow running back Curtis Samuel reached the end zone twice, joining Montee Ball and James White of Wisconsin, who accomplished the feat in the Big Ten’s 2012 title game.

During his past three games, he’s averaging nine yards per carry. For the season, Elliott has rushed for 1,448 yards and 12 TDs.


“It was the biggest plane I’ve ever been on in my life, biggest plane I’ve ever seen. But in first class, it was very comfortable. You could get up and walk. There was just so much space. The seat turned into a bed. I’ve never seen that before. I slept real good, except when we hit turbulence, because that scared me.” — Junior defensive lineman Adolphus Washington, whose football team arrived on a Boeing 747 at the Louis Armstrong International Airport in Kenner

“My first time being on one of those. I actually walked upstairs to see what it looked like. Style, I guess.” — Meyer on the Boeing 747

Did you know?

Ohio State’s 11-game winning streak is the second-longest in the nation.


The Ohio State defense has to feel good about itself heading into its Jan. 1 matchup against Alabama. And it should, after its 59-0 shutout against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship. The Buckeyes held Wisconsin to 260 yards on offense — 244 below its season average. Ohio State also held Melvin Gordon, the nation’s leading rusher (2,336 yards this season), to 76 yards on 26 carries en route to recording the first shutout in a Power 5 conference championship game. ... Ohio State is officially 1-2 in Sugar Bowl Classics. ... Meyer is 7-2 coaching in bowl games and 15-5 at neutral sites. ... Meyer said he resisted talking to NFL coaching peers about preparing for a potential two-game playoff, deciding to focus all efforts on Alabama. “We’re just treating this like a one-game season,” Meyer said.