The most amazing number in Thursday night's Thrifty Car Rental Holiday Bowl wasn't 235 - Buckeye running back Raymont Harris' rushing yardage - or 389 - John Walsh's passing yardage. Those, after all, we've seen before.

No, the most remarkable number was 6 - the number of times Ohio State punted. Remember, this is a BYU team that had forced opponents to punt just 4.4 times per game this season, and most of those came against teams like Air Force and UTEP.And four of those punts came on four straight possessions in the second and third quarters.

HARD YARDS: Harris was an impressive running back, but as backs do, he gave most of the credit to his line and to 240-pound fullback Jeff Cothran, who he followed on most plays.

"The holes were there," he said. "On numerous occasions I had to choose what hole to go through."

Not once in Harris' 39 carries did he lose yardage, and he never fumbled. His total is a Holiday Bowl record, breaking the mark of 225 yards set by Craig James of SMU in 1980.

PLEASE EXPLAIN: Ohio State coach John Cooper made a somewhat cryptic comment about Walsh that it would have been nice to hear explained at greater length.

Asked his opinion of BYU's sophomore quarterback, Cooper said, "I'm not trying to demean Walsh, but I don't think it makes much difference, it's like whoever plays at quarterback (at BYU) is great."

Was he trying to say it's the system that makes them great, or what?

Speaking of QBs, Ohio State's sophomore signalcaller, Bobby Hoying, was singularly unimpressive, throwing against a defensive secondary that hasn't struck fear in too many receivers' hearts lately. With Hoying back there, it's a good thing Harris is around to run 39 times.

JUST A LOSS: BYU players had a difference of opinion on the theory that they had scored a moral victory by staying close to Ohio State, much as the 1989 Holiday Bowl team is said to have done by threatening to upset heavily favored Penn State.

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"It was a moral victory," said noseguard Lenny Gomes. "We did everything we could do."

"Moral victories suck," wide receiver Eric Drage summed up.

SHORT STUFF: Chad Lewis and Tyler Anderson led BYU in receptions, with four each; Bryce Doman had the most yards catching, 82 . . . BYU's running backs, Jamal Willis, Kalin Hall and Hema Heimuli, gained 79 yards on 22 carries, a 3.6 average. Hall had the most yards, 42.

BYU had more yards total offense, 439-391, but that was offset by two turnovers to none for OSU . . . Walsh was sacked three times; BYU had one sack, by Matt Redden . . . The Cougs' leading tackler, by a lot, was safety Cory Cook, with 15. Redden and linebacker Todd Herget were next, with six each.

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