By Gary R. Rasberry
COLUMBUS -- For the third time, Todd Boeckman looked to show his wares in the annual Ohio State Spring Game.
Rather than split his time between the two teams like he has the past two years, Boeckman guided the Gray for the final 31-plus minutes of the game, putting up some nice numbers but being shut out of the end zone in a 12-0 loss to the Scarlet.
"We had a lot of opportunities to put the ball into the end zone," said Boeckman during the post-game player interviews. "We definitely have to get into the end zone to win some ball games. Definitely frustrating, but we'll work on it in the summer.
"It's a great experience to get out there. I don't know how many fans we had out there today, but once you get into the stadium, it's an unbelievable feeling. Good experience for us," added Boeckman, a St. Henry graduate.
Boeckman got into the game with 7:20 left in the second quarter, starting from his own one after a punt. His first series lasted just one play as Maurice Wells was tackled in the end zone by Todd Denlinger to make it 9-0 Scarlet, following the safety. Boeckman had a little better field position with his second series with 2:23 to go in the first after Ryan Petrorius hit an on-side kick with Andre Amos snagging the ball for the Gray. Boeckman was sacked on his first play but hit Roy Hall for a completion in his first attempt on a six-yard gain. His third play was an attempt to hook up with Ted Ginn Jr., which was incomplete, but on fourth down, Boeckman found Hall for a first down.
Boeckman kept moving the Gray on the drive, getting the team down to the one and trying a sneak on fourth down on the final play of the half, but getting stopped short as the half ended.
"I thought I was in the end zone, actually," said Boeckman of the play. "I just rolled around right and I thought I got that ball over. It's the refs' call, but it was in."
The Gray continued to make some decent drives in the second half, but were unable to score. Boeckman was picked off by Kurt Coleman, an early enrollee looking to battle for a spot in the defensive backfield, and Jamario O'Neal during the second half.
Boeckman finished his day 13-of-27 for 189 yards and two interceptions.
"We had a few long drives, we just couldn't capitalize on getting into the end zone," said Boeckman. "We have to work on putting the ball into the end zone.
"You know, I have a lot to learn yet," said Boeckman, who has three years of eligibility. "I'll get better during the summer.
Boeckman is in a battle with Rob Schoenhoft, who also played the majority of the game for the Scarlet, for third-string duties behind Troy Smith and Justin Zwick, so Boeckman knows the summer will be big.
"We'll be all right with Troy coming back," said Boeckman. "I think we all had a good spring. We're starting to all come together, push each other. Hopefully someone will step up there."