Stoneburner's Big Day

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Established October 31, 1996
Front Page Columns and Features
Last updated: 09/04/2011 9:12 PM

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Stoneburner’s ‘Big Day’ Years in the Making
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Jake Stoneburner broke for the corner of the end zone, he looked back for the ball.

Jake Stoneburner
Photo by Jim Davidson
Jake Stoneburner

Now, tight ends are not used to catching touchdown passes in Ohio State’s offense, so expecting a third one in the same game seems a bit greedy.

He had only caught two in his entire career heading into Saturday’s season-opener against Akron, but as Stoneburner broke towards the outside, he knew his quarterback would be looking for him in the red zone.

As he turned back for the ball, it was already at his hands. All he had to do was catch it.

“I was just fortunate to be out there and be in the right place at the right time and have Joe looking for me when I’m open,” said Stoneburner, a fourth-year junior out of Dublin Coffman. 

“He made some great plays in order for me to get in the end zone.”

Jake Stoneburner
Photo by Jim Davidson
Jake Stoneburner

To the fans, it looked like a first-time starter making an instant connection with the team’s top returning weapon in the passing game. Stoneburner came on strong at the end of last season with nine catches over the last three games, but he has done more than just pick up where he left off.

“Me and Joe have had a pretty good connection all camp, every since I've been here,” the 6-5 Stoneburner said.

“I think he likes throwing to the tight end and I think he has confidence in me, and I think he's starting to get confidence in himself. I think he showed it out there today.”

With three touchdowns through the air and another on the ground, Bauserman may not have silenced his doubters Saturday, but he certainly quieted them to a dull roar. He completed his first five passes of the game for 61 yards and was putting the ball on the money all afternoon at Ohio Stadium.

Jake Stoneburner
Photo by Jim Davidson
Jake Stoneburner

“I have a lot of confidence and a good relationship with Joe,” said Stoneburner, who finished with four catches for 50 yards and the three scores.

“Today we were able to connect a few times.”

That relationship goes all the way back to Stoneburner’s first year on campus. In 2008, he was a high school receiver trying to make the transition to college tight end. Stoneburner wasn’t sure how it would go, but he quickly became one of Bauserman’s favorite targets in practice.

“When I came in I redshirted and he was the scout team quarterback,” said Stoneburner, who was part of the famous “Brew Crew” recruiting class. 

“We had pretty good chemistry there. We were always making plays on the scout team.”

Jake Stoneburner
Photo by Jim Davidson
Jake Stoneburner

Stoneburner has been a playmaker since his days as Mike Adams’ teammate at Dublin Coffman. He had over 1,200 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns as a high school senior, but making the transition to a new position didn’t happen over night.

He moved up the depth chart to become Jake Ballard’s backup as a sophomore in 2009. He even caught a pair of passes early in the season, but once again he did most of his damage working with Bauserman in practice.

“My second year he was the second quarterback and we had a good connection there,” Stoneburner said.

“Finally he was able to get out there and start and he was still looking out there looking for me.”

The first time Bauserman connected with Stoneburner, he practically walked into the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown. On the second one, however, Stoneburner turned a five-yard comeback route into an 11-yard touchdown.

He caught a strike from Bauserman that hit him the chest right in front of Akron's Troy Gilmer. Stoneburner held on, sidestepped Gilmer and then dove into the end zone for his second touchdown, carrying Zips linebacker Brian Wagner on his back.

Jake Stoneburner dives into the endzone for his second touchdown of the day against Akron
Photo by Dan Harker
Jake Stoneburner

“He's had a great camp. He's been an integral part of this offense all through camp,” OSU Head Coach Luke Fickell said.

“So I kind of expected it, to be honest with you. I expected him to have a great day. Did I expect three touchdowns? I don't know. But it's great to see.”

His buddy Joe was watching.

Game Story
Game Notes
Game Box Score and Statistics

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