First Posted: Sep 01, 2012 04:33 PM EDT

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (R) and vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan wave to the audience after Romney's acceptance speech at the final session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida August 30, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Mike Carlson )

As millions of Americans welcomed the return of college football on Saturday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tried to get in on the game.

Both Romney and running mate Paul Ryan appeared in the critical swing state and football haven of Ohio on Saturday, with Ryan attending a game at his alma mater and Romney blasting President Barack Obama by telling a crowd of 3,000 supporters that America needs a new coach.

"If you have a coach that's zero and 23 million, you say it's time to get a new coach," Romney told a rally in Cincinnati, referring to the number of Americans the Romney campaign says are unemployed and underemployed. "It's time for America to see a winning season again, and we're going to bring it to them."

Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman and graduate of Miami University of Ohio, attended his alma mater's opening game against perennial college football powerhouse Ohio State University.

According to media reports, Ryan joined students and football fans in the American tradition of tailgating -- flipping a few hamburgers on the grill before the game.

Ohio is a key state in the November 6 election, enjoying routine visits from Romney, Ryan and their Democratic rivals.

In 2008, Obama won the state en route to winning the presidency.

Romney and Ryan were scheduled to campaign together later Saturday at a rally in Florida.

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