Brandon Schnittker wasn’t widely known outside of the diehard Buckeye circles. He was a great blocker and when you’re lined up in the same backfield as a freshman RB who has 1,300 yards on the season, you just KNOW you’re not getting the ball very much. So his stats are not going to dominate the world.
But one glorious day, he had an amazing catch that began the most important drive Ohio State may have ever known.
November 23rd, 2002. Ohio State is 12-0 and with only 8:40 to play in the season, the Buckeyes are trailing Michigan 9-7. Tensions are high because the Buckeyes have had a season filled with late victories pulled out of thin air….will this be the one time that we can’t will ourselves to the win column? Also, this was still in the days when we would ALWAYS seem to lose our National Championship hopes to that state up north.
Ohio State took over on their own 37-yard-line. With Mike Nugent as our kicker, we were looking to get inside the 25 of Michigan to win this game and get to the Fiesta Bowl.
On the first snap from center, QB Craig Krenzel stepped back and fired a pass to our top WR Michael Jenkins. But the pass never reached Jenkins’ sticky fingers. Schnittker, who had been running a pattern to try and draw coverage away from Jenkins and Chris Vance, found himself in the path of the ball. He snagged it and used his strong legs to power himself further up the field, into Michigan territory at their 43-yard-line.
The roar of the crowd as Schnittker rumbled upfield was intense, and the drive would not be in vain. Krenzel’s legs, a brilliant pass to He Who Shall Not Be Named, and a 3-yard scamper by Maurice Hall broke the goal line and Ohio State took a late lead 14-9. That lead held up and Ohio State went on to win the National Championship.
Thanks to Tom, here’s the video of the drive….
That’s my biggest memory of Schnittker. He intercepted a pass intended for his own teammate. And I love the guy for it.
43 days until kickoff!