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Mewhort feels weird playing UT

COLUMBUS (AP) — It’s always difficult when the hometown team is on a Buckeye’s schedule. That’s what is facing OL Jack Mewhort this week.

Mewhort, a massive 6-foot-6, 303-pound redshirt sophomore who will start at LG, attended St. John’s High School in Toledo. The University of Toledo Rockets come to Ohio Stadium on Saturday to meet Mewhort and the Buckeyes.

Mewhort was a fan as a youngster.

“When I was growing up, my dad used to take me to all the UT home games,” he said.

Taking on the Rockets is a strange experience.

“It’s a different type of a game for me. It’s a weird feeling, having them come here,” he said. “I know we played them in Browns Stadium in ’09 and that was even kind of different, seeing all the Toledo people there. It’s kind of cool.”

He said he didn’t have to listen to any trash talk this summer back home.

“Not really. There’s not really that relationship with any of the Toledo people,” he said. “It’s not nasty or anything.”

Ohio State hasn’t lost to an in-state team since 1921. He doesn’t want this to be the game that breaks that spell.

“I probably wouldn’t hear the end of it just from my family members back in Toledo,” he said.

’BURNER’S HOT: TE Jake Stoneburner was named the John Mackey national tight end of the week by the sponsoring Nassau County Sports Commission.

The junior had four receptions for 50 yards and three receiving touchdowns in the Buckeyes’ 42-0 win over Akron Saturday.

Stoneburner is the first TE in modern Ohio State history to catch three touchdowns in a game. Bob Grimes caught four but is listed as an end in Ohio State’s media guides for 1950-52.

He caught four touchdowns vs. Washington State in a 1952 game.

EX-ASSISTANT: Toledo head coach Tim Beckman was an assistant at Ohio State in 2005-06. In charge of CBs, he worked closely with the LBs coach at the time, Luke Fickell.

He said it was great to coach with Fickell, now Ohio State’s interim head coach.

“I’ve known Luke even prior to his days at Ohio State,” Beckman said. “Being able to go down there for two years and coach with him, it was a great situation. Coming from being a coordinator (at Bowling Green) to going down there and coaching the corners, that (defensive coaching) room was so successful because of the minds in that room. Luke Fickell and Jim Heacock and Paul Haynes, we had a great working relationship and there was a lot of football to be learned.”

The record backs that assessment.

“We all threw in our two cents with what we thought would make us successful. We ended up winning 12 straight football games that last year and then getting beat in the (2006) national championship (by Florida),” he said. “But it was a very rewarding experience for Tim Beckman to be able to coach with Luke and the rest of the defensive staff.”

MASCOT LOVE: Ohio State’s Brutus Buckeye won his first matchup in the Capital One Mascot Challenge, beating out Testudo from the University of Maryland with a total of 24,474 votes. This week, the biggest nut is up against Wolfie Jr. from the University of Nevada.

If you want to vote for your favorite mascot, go to www.CapitalOneBowl.com.

NO BIG DEAL: C.J. Barnett won the starting SS job last year for the Buckeyes. Then came the Miami game in Week 2. He sustained a right knee injury that needed surgery and cost him the rest of the season.

Now he’s back better than ever.

If you don’t believe it, just ask him.

“My knee felt fine. Actually it felt better than it had. I was just out there just like I’ve always been,” he said of playing in last week’s opener for the first time since the injury.

Asked if it his knee actually felt stronger, he said, “Yeah, I may be able to run a little faster now because of that knee.”

So how is it that what could have been a devastating injury actually ended up making a player better? He credited the doctors.

“They hooked me up, man,” he said with a laugh.