When compiling a list of the best linebackers ever to play at Ohio State, the list is long. Spielman, Cousineau, Hawk, Laurinaitis, Gradishar, Pepper Johnson, etc etc etc.
While he rarely shows up on the list of all-time best LB, Matt Wilhelm is one of my favorites. And on his next-to-last play of his career, he saved a National Championship for us.
In the Fiesta Bowl in 2003, Miami was facing third down and goal from the Ohio State 1 yard line. The Buckeyes led 31-24 in the second overtime, and the Hurricanes had to score a touchdown or lose the game.
QB Ken Dorsey turned and handed the ball on an off-tackle run to Quadtraine Hill. He was hit at the line of scrimmage by Wilhelm, but kept his legs moving. Hill’s momentum kept him moving forward to the 1-foot line, and Wilhelm used his upper body strength to force the ball carrier backwards. He stayed on top of Hill and rode him to the ground, keeping him just shy of the end zone. Miami would fail on fourth down when LB Cie Grant forced a bad throw from Dorsey into the end zone and the title was ours.
Matt Wilhelm, you are our guest of honor today!
35 days until kickoff!
With 41 days left before the kickoff to Ohio State football 2009, there was only one way to promote the day. We found the greatest player ever to wear the jersey at that number, Keith Byars.
In 1984, Byars rushed for over 1,700 yards and 22 touchdowns. In one game against Illinois, he set the single-game record by carving up 274 and five touchdowns. And yes, the legend is true….he scored one of those touchdowns with only one shoe on. The other came flying off halfway down the field.
Unfortunately, I can’t seem to locate that video online anywhere (OHD is slacking off), so please enjoy the 99-yard TD by Byars in the 1984 Fiesta Bowl;
Wanna see something really wicked? Here’s Byars as a pro, completely destroying Pepper Johnson. Hardest hit I’ve ever seen….
41 days until kickoff!
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!
This is a stat I have been admiring for a long time, and it just keeps growing….
Despite what some will say about our beloved Buckeyes, there is one factor which still makes us the best team in the NCAA.
We do NOT lose to teams we should beat. Period. There is no Appalachian State in our loss column.
Take a look at our last four seasons. Ohio State is 43-8. That number 43 stands out loud and clear….but even more impressive is the 8. Take a look at those 8 losses, look at who defeated us, and you’ll see what I mean.
2005 – lost to Texas. Texas went on to win the National Championship
2005 – lost to Penn State. Penn State went to the BCS and beat Florida State
2006 – lost to Florida. Florida won the National Championship
2007 – lost to Illinois. Illinois went to the BCS, in the Rose Bowl
2007 – lost to LSU. LSU won the National Championship
2008 – lost to USC. USC went to the BCS and beat Penn State in the Rose Bowl
2008 – lost to Penn State. PSU went to the BCS, in the Rose Bowl
2008 – lost to Texas. Texas was a BCS team that year, winning the Fiesta Bowl
All 8 losses were to BCS-Bowl teams that year, and three of them won it all.
So yes, we’ve lost some high-profile games. But ask yourselves this, fans of lesser schools….have YOU lost to a team you should have defeated in the last 4 seasons?
Ohio State hasn’t. That’s what makes us elite.
By now you’ve seen it several hundred times. LeBron James burying a buzzer-beating three-point shot to win Game 2 and save the Cavaliers season.
The BBC and many others have quickly labeled it as “The Greatest Moment In Cleveland Sports History”. But is it truly? I’ve spent 36 hours, since the shot went through the rim, debating that very topic. Frankly, I can’t find another moment that would top it.
Yes, I do believe that Cie Grant wrapping his arms around Ken Dorsey and forcing an incomplete pass to win the 2003 Fiesta Bowl (and the National Championship) for Ohio State to be the best moment I have ever experienced in sports….but that’s not Cleveland sports. It’s Ohio State, and many Clevelanders adopt OSU as their second home, yet that moment is not a Cleveland moment.
So, can you find a better moment in Cleveland history? Here’s a few of my personal favorites;
All of these moments are legendary in Cleveland. But do any of them really top what we saw two nights ago?
To be truthful, that hasn’t fully been determined yet. If the Cavs go on to win the series and the Finals, yes. Without a doubt. But as was the case with most great moments, they were wiped away when the corresponding Cleveland team failed in the goal to win a title.
If LeBron James wants his moment to live forever the way it should, he needs 7 more wins to do it.
Tonight, Mr. James, you can defend your moment. Beat the Magic and continue that goal.
OK, so we’ve all seen the “teh Big Ten suuuucks” comments all over the place, and we know that nobody outside of this glorious state isn’t giving the Buckeyes a chance in hell tomorrow night. But let’s take a step back from the bash-fest and discuss what I think will happen in Arizona.
Ohio State will win tomorrow night’s Fiesta Bowl.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that. Everyone’s too busy reminding us that we’re 0-for the SEC and lost two bowls in a row. But we are a perfect 5-0 against the Big 12 in bowls, knocking off top 10 schools twice in the last 10 years.
- The Fiesta Bowl is where we beat Miami to win the title after the 2002 season.
- The Fiesta Bowl is where we beat Kansas State after the 2003 season
- The Fiesta Bowl is where we beat Notre Dame after the 2005 season
And before anybody says anything about the Florida game, that wasn’t the Fiesta Bowl, it was the BCS National Championship game. Boise State beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta that year, we just played in the same stadium a week later.
The stats of Big 12 schools are loaded with high-powered passing games, and as a result the defenses are built to stop the pass. They (Texas especially) are not set up for success against the run. In what should be Beanie Wells’ final game as a Buckeye, expect him to put out a bruising performance. Also, expect them to keep handing him the ball, unlike his last two bowl games when we abandoned the run for some reason.
The facts are right there….the Big 12 may have been the most overrated conference this year, based on how crappy they look outside of their comfort zone.
It’s also worth pointing out that EVERY Big 12 school was favored, sometimes heavily, and played poorly time and time again. This all bodes well for the Buckeyes, who might be facing the 2nd-best team in a conference overrated all year.
And if Ohio State puts the beating on Texas, the Big 12 should be terrified. And you should go put the house on Florida against Oklahoma.
When Ohio State was selected to play in the Fiesta Bowl, it slid every other team in the conference up a notch. For example, the 4th-best team in the conference was now playing in the #3 team’s bowl slot. This led to almost all of our teams playing against teams that were better than they are.
Had the Buckeyes stayed in their “#2 Big Ten team” slot, the bowl matchups would have been more in line. Here’s what we would have seen….
As you can see, the success that Ohio State had ultimately led to the overmatching of the rest of the conference. We would have likely gone 5-2 or 4-3 instead of the maximum two-win bowl season.
Will all this be enough to knock down a Texas team that feels slighted by the BCS system?
Ohio State 27
Bring it on, bitches!
Ohio State, fresh off a 30-20 win at Illinois, now gets to focus on That Team Up North without looking past anybody. The Buckeyes return home for their final regular season game at 9-2, while TTUN comes to Columbus at 3-8.
Today’s game was rather anti-climactic, but any fan of the Buckeyes could see that coming. Ohio State has a long, storied tradition of underachieving in the game before The Game. For example;
Need I go on? We just rarely play well before The Game. The only exception to the rule in Tressel’s tenure is a 48-10 pasting of Northwestern in 2005.
So I expected revenge, but I didn’t think it would be pretty. Still, we looked good enough and got the job done.
Beanie Wells moved into the #5 slot of all-time rushing leaders at Ohio State, sliding past Pepe Pearson. He cracked the 3,000 yard mark on his first carry, and kept moving all day long. Here’s the current standings;
Wells will top 1,000 yards for the season, and move past the legendary Keith Byars against TTUN at home on Saturday, barring injury and any other natural disaster. Odds are good that he’ll stay at #4 even adding in the bowl game. Getting another 410 yards against TTUN and a bowl opponent seems unlikely, even if you factor in Wells’ proven ability to rush for over 220 yards against the Wolverines.
Speaking of Wells, holy f-ing poopbags, did you see him leap four feet in the air to clear an Illinois tackler? I’ve gotta get video of that posted. Best hurdle I’ve ever seen.
Sweet Jesus, are Illinois fans the biggest WATBs you’ve ever seen? Have you ever heard ANYBODY whine about the refs in a game where they only get flagged four times? They were still moaning at the end of the game (those that hadn’t abandoned their seats before the game ended, that is).
Penn State struggled for a half against Indiana, but pulled away in the second half and won 34-7. This means that their home game next week against Michigan State will determine half of the Big Ten Championship. Ohio State plays Michigan at Noon, and if the Buckeyes win, they clinch a share of the title. PSU-MSU is at 330, and if the Bucks win, the Spartans and Lions will do battle for the other share.
Let’s speak hypothetically.
Penn State controls their own destiny. Both Sparty and the Buckeyes need help.
However, I do believe that Ohio State will secure a BCS Bowl with a win. More on that after the jump.
Ohio State stands at #11 in the current BCS Standings. Ten teams make BCS Bowls. but there are tie-ins involved that could hurt us.
Six teams will guarantee themselves BCS Bowls by winning their conferences. Let’s make some assumptions here;
This leaves two at-large bids open. The remaining schools in the Top 14 of the BCS Rankings are;
Oklahoma, Georgia, Missouri, and Oklahoma State are ineligible for the BCS, because of the rule only allowing two teams from each conference to play in the big 5 bowl games. That leaves Utah, Boise State, Ohio State and Ball State as the only possible teams able to get those final two bids.
Utah and Boise State have won BCS bowl games before and will use that in their lobbying efforts. Ball State can forget it. No MAC school is getting in, especially in a year when the #5 school will get left out.
If we don’t secure the Rose Bowl, we are left to the mercy of the selection committee. We’ll need to hope that the Fiesta Bowl remembers our massive numbers at previous bowls and how we travel better than any other team, during bowl season. But if BYU can do us a favor and knock off Utah, we can consider ourselves in. Maybe Fresno State can help out more and beat Boise State on November 28th?
So, in this order, let me just say….
And yes, I know it’s the BYU Cougars. Did you?
That’s right, the Ohio State Buckeyes are currently sitting pretty in the fine little town of Calumet, Oklahoma! Calumet’s total size is only 1.3 square miles, and their population is 535 people, but ALL that’s increased for the next six days, as Ohio State has taken up residence there.
OK, enough of this stupidity. Here’s what I’m trying to say…..
- Ohio State is 6-0.
- That’s halfway through their season’s goal of 12-0.
- Glendale, Arizona is the home of the BCS National Championship Game.
- Glendale, Arizona is 1,920 miles away from Columbus, Ohio.
- Calumet, Oklahoma is 960 miles from Columbus, Ohio.
- If you were on a quest to get to Glendale, Arizona from Columbus, Ohio, and you wanted to know when you were halfway there, you’d know it when you hit the small town of Calumet, Oklahoma.
There. That was the longest possible way to say “Ohio State is halfway to the BCS National Championship Game.” Make sure you tell your friends how wonderful it is to be here.
This concludes the stupidest post I have written at The BBC.