As we arrived in Columbus, the anticipation for kickoff was almost unbearable and we were a mere five hours away. It’s become a yearly ritual that a group of us attend the Ohio State/Wisconsin game every year and we were all giddy with excitement to reunite once again for this rivalry.
After a little tailgating and shopping, we made our way over to the skull session but watched from the entrance where the band and the team would enter in St John’s arena. I met the mom of a bass drummer who was participating in his first ramp entrance that evening. It’s stories like this that adds to the mystique of going to games in Columbus. As Urban Meyer and daughter Nikki entered through the old doors of the aging arena, a tall dark figure appeared behind them and it clicked, it was none other than two-time NBA champion LeBron James. After everyone filed in, I heard the King was greeted by a good mixture of boos and cheers as he gave the annual speech to the Buckeye faithful.
One. One more day. Tomorrow is the 2013 kickoff.
As we get ready for an amazing season, let’s also celebrate number 1 via an epic come from behind victory over Iowa at Kinnick Stadium on November 10th, 1990, 27-26. Game narrative from Joe-S-U at The Buckeye 50-Yard Line.
Ohio State QB Greg Frey entered the game ranked #1 in Big Ten passing efficiency. The Iowa defense, led by nose tackle Bret Bielema would have none of it. Through 59 minutes of game time, Frey was 10-31, 175 yards, 3 TD’s, 1 INT. Not particularly good numbers.
Below is Joe’s narrative, which matches up with the sequence in the game highlight video.
The Buckeyes jumped offsides to spot Hujsak five yards, but he hit a low kick that Jeff Graham fair caught at the Hawkeye 48. Ohio State had no timeouts and 59 seconds to navigate the 48 yards, and on first down Frey rolled to his right to evade the blitz and fired over the middle to Olive for a huge 23-yard pickup. Frey then found Jeff Graham for 7, but in the middle of the field, and by the time OSU lined up again the clock had ticked to 24 seconds. A short throw to Scottie Graham was incomplete and the clock stopped at 18 seconds. With great protection on the next snap, Frey threw down the middle to Jeff Graham, who turned and lunged to the Iowa 3 with 13 ticks on the clock. The Bucks hurried to the line and with the entire Buckeye sideline signaling for Frey to spike the ball, Greg threw a corner route towards Jeff Graham that was incomplete. Fortunately, the clock stopped but only 7 seconds remained and what’s worse is that Graham had his man beaten and could’ve scored had Frey’s pass not sailed out of bounds.
Frey sent Bobby Olive wide right and had Jeff Graham in the right slot. In almost a mirror image of the play that beat Minnesota a year earlier in the record comeback, Graham broke towards the corner, but this time Frey locked in on Olive. The pass was high but Olive made a leaping grab and landed just inside the endline for the touchdown. One second remained on the Kinnick Stadium clock and Ohio State led for the first time all day at 27-26 as bedlam broke out on the Buckeye sideline. A dead ball unsportsmanlike flag was thrown, but who really cared? To prevent any runback of a blocked extra point kick, Frey took a knee on the two-point conversion.
Iowa’s return of the ensuing squib kickoff produced 3 forward laterals and the final second burned off, giving Ohio State a dramatic upset and earning John Cooper his 100th career collegiate win.
As always, Vico delivers:
For this HOF Article, we revisit one I did in May of last year.
One thing is for sure when you take over as the head coach at THE Ohio State University, you better know what it means to be an Ohio person. A lot of people believe Coach John Cooper got the top post at Ohio State back in 1988 simply because he beat TTUN in the Rose Bowl the year before while at Arizona State. Truth is he really probably got the job because of his history as a head coach and as a person.
John Cooper grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee in the 1940’s and 50’s. He went into the U.S. Army right out of high school for two years before playing college ball at Iowa State. People then knew he was going to have a special talent for coaching with his abilities on the field that eventually led to him being team MVP and captain his senior year. He stayed on as an assistant coach with the Cyclones before taking a similar position with Oregon State. He made stops at UCLA, Kansas, and Kentucky before landing his first head coaching position at Tulsa in 1977.
His first season with the Golden Hurricane was 3-8 but they became pretty good after that winning five straight Missouri Valley Conference titles. Tulsa was in and out of the MVC for a year and when they returned Coach Cooper had them loaded. He began to put together a system for how he would recruit players and used it to bolster his resume. In the Top 25 ranked season of 1982, Cooper and the Golden Hurricanes went 10-1 and their only loss on the season was to Arkansas. This same year that SMU had the Pony Express, Coach Cooper had himself two 1,000 rushers in Michael Gunter and Ken Lacy and was called the Palomino Express. Despite its ranking and great season Tulsa wasn’t invited to a bowl game. Coach Cooper had the makings of a top-notch coach and was hired to take over at Arizona State in 1985. Read More
In today’s edition of Kickoff Countdown we celebrate the number 28, the combined score of Ohio State’s win over TTUN on November 19th, 1994, 22-6.
A pretty typical beat-down by The Good Guys, but this was notable on two accounts. The game sealing touchdown drive was set up by a nice interception by one time Buckeye head coach, Luke Fickell. Well done, sir. The more noteworthy fact is that this game was OSU Coach Cooper’s first win over Michigan. Good for him
If you’re following us on the book of face, you know that I made it back from my trip to Mt. Whitney last week- when you’d usually be reading SBP, I was at 14,508 ft, as the picture to the right can attest. It’s Buckeye Nation everywhere, people.
To celebrate, today’s soundtrack is a personal favorite… And I’ll include a few more photos/notes from the trip at the end of this post.
In today’s episode of the tBBC’s Countdown to Kickoff series, we are at #78, which features the Buckeyes in their never-say-die comeback win over Minnesota on October 28, 1989, 41-37.
Coach Cooper’s Buckeyes were down 31-0 with 4:29 remaining in 1st half before getting on the board to trail 31-8 at the half. OSU rode the late 1st half momentum in the 2nd half, scoring the winning touchdown with less than a minute to play. They tied the record for largest deficit overcome for this win. And managed to commit 6 turnovers during the game.
In today’s episode of the tBBC’s Countdown to Kickoff series, we are at #79, which can only mean the point total of the November 4th, 1989 beat-down that Ohio State put on Northwestern, 52-27.
Coach Cooper had the running game going in Evanston, with three Buckeyes hitting 100 yards. They were Dante Lee (157 yds, 3 TD’s), Scottie Graham (102, 1) and Carlos Snow (100, 1).
Our friend Vico talked about this matchup over at OHD (even had video of it before it got taken down), and points out a couple of other tidbits-
Northwestern has always been an interesting matchup for Ohio State; from the “doormat” status they held early on, through the Gary Barnett successes and the 2004 upset of Coach Tressel’s team, to the great things that Pat Fitzgerald is doing now. I’m among many who believe that the game in Evanston may be one of OSU’s toughest this coming season… although I’d prefer to relive the 1989 events.
Over the past month or so I have written articles about all three of the legendary former coaches to lead the Scarlet and Gray on the gridiron. I touched on a great many things from Earle Bruce’s rise from high school to college; to coach Cooper finally understanding what it means to be a Buckeye; and about coach Tressel and his wife Ellen’s lifetime of charity.
What I didn’t cover very much of was the perception of their best and worst moments. I have invited some of my good friends to tell their side of the story. I have asked our own Mali, the newly formed Buckeye Empire’s own Chris Holloway and Grant Edgell, as well as the man who let me cut my writing teeth on the Buckeyes in Maurice Womak from Our Buckeye Hub.
I have asked each of them to describe to us what their perception of these moments are and have purposely left out coach Tressel’s worst moment. I didn’t feel like this was something needing covered or rehashed and to my comrads credit? Not a single one pointed out to me that I left it off the round table list. Let’s get started with Mr. Nine and Three.
What is your perception of Earle Bruce’s best moment as a head coach?
Mali- To be honest, Coach Bruce’s continuation of Coach Hayes’ traditions and attitudes have always been what stood out to me about his tenure. There’s a reason he’s invited back yearly during “The Game” week… and in spite of his struggles in the match up, he of all people understands the importance of what it means to represent the state of Ohio.
Chris Holloway – This is easy. Earle knew that this time at Ohio State was over. He had one last chance for glory, and he inspired his team to win. In Ann Arbor no less. When you think about it, and then consider that from that game, until Jim Tressel did it in his first year, the Buckeyes failed to beat the Wolverines in the Big House, that says something.
WVaBuckeye – it’s a long moment in Buckeye lore. I remember him replacing Coach Hayes and the time and energy he put into putting all of the fans and players at ease by reminding them who taught him how to coach. He was, is, and always will be the ultimate Woody disciple. He has carried the torch for Coach Hayes for all this time and it continues to have an effect on current coaches.
His worst moment? Read More