We did it! We made it! We trudged through the winter, hammered through the spring and waded our way through the majority of summer and we have finally come to it: Football is upon us. While we yearn for the cool fall nights and big time matchups that come with October, November and now December games, we’re more than happy to welcome in 80+ degree temps for a few weeks and sweat through the opening weekends of college football. Despite the worthiness of opponents, these are meaningful games that count in the standings and they begin on Saturday. But for now it’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
Customs and traditions
Are you ready? No, I mean are you really ready for it? Did you spend last weekend or the early part of this week getting the necessities for your opening weekend prepped, planned and bought? Or are you one of those “last minute” folks that will wait until Thursday or (good Lord!) Friday evening to have the ship ready to sail?
What am I talking about? Well, I have a checklist that is broken down into two separate checklists.
Checklist 1: The week before
This list contains mostly paraphernalia and the like. It includes making sure that not only is the Buckeye flag that fly’s year round on the porch standing with perfection but adding the “in season” flag. The week before checklist reminds me that I have to make sure and dig out any gear that has been stored away for superstition purposes that can only be wore on game days and make sure that it is properly cleaned (or in some cases it is blasphemous to even consider cleaning it) and ready for use.
It reminds me to make sure all Buckeye blankets are properly placed throughout the house. It’s my list not yours.
Checklist 1 also brings attention to travel needs for road trips whether they be to the Olentangy River Road parking lots or to some venomous away stadium. Is the portable grille’s propane tank full and is there a backup? Are the drink and food coolers cleaned? You don’t want to have to deal with this stuff during game week. Get it done early, ergo checklist 1. Read More
The 2002 season was filled with many close games that came down to the wire but only one of them ended due to a play so spectacular that it earned its own nickname. On November 9th, 2002, the second ranked Ohio State Buckeyes rolled into West Lafayette to face the Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue entered the game with a 4-5 (2-3 conference) record and nobody expected the epic game that was about to unfold.
Purdue got off to a good start, moving the ball well and getting deep into Ohio State territory before Dustin Fox intercepted a Kyle Orton pass to end the scoring threat. Neither team did anything with the ball for the next few possessions until Craig Krenzel was intercepted, giving the Boilermakers the ball deep in Buckeye territory; fortunately the OSU defense held strong and limited Purdue to a field goal to go up 3-0 late in the first quarter. The Buckeye offense finally showed signs of life in the second quarter and with the clock running down and no timeouts left, Mike Nugent and the special teams unit hurried onto the field to kick a field goal as time expired in the first half.
Over the course of its long history, Ohio Stadium has played host to numerous memorable games, many of which have been or will be highlighted as part of our countdown to the 2013 season. Surprisingly, despite all the major games that happened over the years, it took the stadium until its 81st year of existence to host a game that went to overtime but when it finally happened, it was a doozy. On a warm, sunny September 13th, 2003 Ohio State, coming off of its thrilling national championship season and ranked third in the country, hosted 22nd ranked North Carolina State.
Ohio State got off to a great start to the game, scoring 14 points in a span of 44 seconds in the first quarter. After Michael Jenkins hauled in a 44 yard touchdown pass from Craig Krenzel, North Carolina State suffered a miscue on the ensuing kickoff as their two deep returners ran into each other as the ball bounced off one of their helmets and was recovered on the 3 yard line by Will Allen; it would take three plays before Lydell Ross bowled his way into the endzone to give the Buckeyes a 14-0 lead. A Wolfpack touchdown right before halftime made it a one score game but the Buckeyes responded by scoring the first 10 points of the second half to take a 24-7 lead with eleven and a half minutes remaining in the game.
Things were looking good for OSU but at this point North Carolina State’s Phillip Rivers decided to display the talent that would lead to him being selected fourth in the 2004 draft while the Buckeyes committed a series of costly miscues. The Wolfpack began their comeback thanks to Santonio Holmes fumbling a punt which was recovered at the OSU 19 yard line by Jerricho Cotchery; four plays later Rivers hit Cotchery for a 9 yard touchdown. Ohio State’s next possession also went poorly as Krenzel was intercepted and NC State took over at the Buckeye 12 yard line; the Buckeye defense would hold the Wolfpack to only a field goal but suddenly it was a one score game with just under six minutes remaining. OSU would go three and out on their next possession and North Carolina State took advantage, going 86 yards through the air to tie the game at 24 and force overtime.
Both teams scored touchdowns in the first two overtimes and Ohio State got the ball to start the third overtime. Just as they had done to start the scoring, Krenzel and Jenkins hooked up for a 7 yard touchdown pass but a failed two point conversion attempt opened the door for North Carolina State. After a pair of OSU penalties gave the Wolfpack a first and goal at the 9 yard line, Buckeye fans were growing nervous. The Buckeye defense responded though, drawing energy from the crowd to come up with several crucial stops, culminating I stuffing running back T.A. McLendon just short of the goal line on fourth and one to give OSU the thrilling victory in the first overtime game in Ohio Stadium’s history.
In today’s edition, we celebrate number 55, specifically Ohio State’s 31-24 multiple overtime win over the Miami
Hurricanes Thugs on January 3rd, 2003 in the (Tostitos) Fiesta Bowl for The National Championship. Nothing mythical about this one. The double-digit underdog Buckeyes showed a tenacity and athleticism that surprised many (national) collegiate football fans. However, True Believers, such as us, pretty much knew how this game would end up.
In fact, as I write this, I have the game DVD playing, on mute of course, since Dan Fouts is such a jackass and Keith Jackson was well beyond his “whoa Nellie” days. Fouts was jones’ing so much for a Miami win.. suck it Dan.
This was as gritty performance by any Buckeye team, particularly QB Craig Krenzel. I’ll forego the stats for this game, since there weren’t any outstanding numbers other than Craig Krenzel’s 2 TD’s and Maurice Clarett’s 2 TD’s.
And thus, it was over, the season completed at 14-0 and let the celebrations begin. Special shout-out to Cie Grant of New Philadelphia, OH. A lad from Tuscarawas County seals the National Championship for Ohio State. In the previous link, Cie showed his guns; here he shows his pipes. O-Hi-O.
In today’s edition, we celebrate number 56, specifically Ohio State’s 33-23 win over Michigan State on November 8th, 2003. The defending national champion Buckeyes were enroute to an 11-2 season when they hosted Michigan State Spartans. This game had ‘Jim Tressel’ written all over it. Two of OSU’s TD’s came via passes to the tight ends (Hartsock, Hamby), Mike Nugent kicked 4 field goals and the defense picked off two Jeff Smoker passes. Good times in Tresselville.
Craig Krenzel had a good day(12-24 for 213 yards, 3 TD’s, 1 Int), as did Lydell Ross (24 carries, 125 yards). For MSU, Jeff Smoker had (statistically) a good day of 35-55 (where’s the liniment?) and 2 TD’s, which was fortunate for them, since the Spartans rushing attack attempts yielded net of 5 yards on 17 carries. In basketball parlance, those would be empty possessions…
If there’s one thing I have learned officiating two of DRIVEN’s events, it’s that the former Buckeyes involved are just as competitive now as they were when they played. A few are just recently removed from their playing days for the Scarlet and Gray and the others? Well, they all hail from the National Championship Buckeyes and a couple stole the show Friday night at Marysville High School
The night began with a dinner of fellowship with the former Buckeyes and their guests. Some of the players brought family with them and some just brought themselves. After the eating and hobnobbing finished, the emcee for the evening, Pastor Steve Rouch began a question and answer session with each player asking them all about where they went to high school and how they became a Buckeye;what it meant to be a Buckeye; what was their favorite memory, and why DRIVEN.
I know that is a very loaded title, but I feel it best suits my current thoughts.
I understand the Mark May’s and Desmond Howard’s of the world taking every chance they get to smear the Ohio State University and our transgressions- they have been waiting for this day for so long. We have been a top program for the last decade and America likes to see the giant fall.
If it was Michigan, Florida, Texas, Oregon, Auburn we would probably jump on that train as well; unless you are of the opinion those that live in glass houses don’t throw stones. Those are the haters that you brush off though, because they always do so out of spite and dislike and they never go away. It hurts sometimes to be the brunt of jokes, but get back to doing what we should be and everything will be fine.
What is hard to fathom is how we handle our own. How many ex-Buckeye players, media, or fans have you heard badmouth Coach Tressel and Terrelle Pryor, for example? Or what about “snitching” or calling for the heads of your own president to be turned over on a silver platter? I completely understand some constructive criticism, but comments like “fake buckeye”, “I hate so and so”, “This player should be kicked off the team”, etc. coming from our own fans hurt.
That’s right, only 16 days left.
That makes Mr. Krenzel excited.