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.
In today’s edition of Kickoff Countdown we celebrate the number 29, the combined score of Ohio State’s win over Iowa 19-10 on October 18th, 2003..
The B’eyes hosted the H’eyes in probably one one the oddest games I’ve seen. Iowa had 219 yards total offense on 67 plays while OSU had 185 yards on 64 plays. Each team committed two turnovers. So how did any points get scored?
Ohio State’s scoring consisted of a Mike Nugent FG, a Michael Jenkins punt return, a Donte Whitner blocked punt return and a safety. Between the 16 total punts and OSU scoring on 2 punt plays, I imagine there were good times in the Tressel household that evening.
To put an exclamation point on the weirdness, Iowa kicker Nate Kaeding scored all of Iowa’s points; a FG, a TD on a fake FG and the ensuing PAT.
This was good, though.
In today’s edition, we celebrate number 39, a thrilling Ohio State victory over Illinois on November 16th, 2002, 27-12.
The Buckeyes kept rolling towards a hoped for undefeated season One week after the Krenzel-Jenkins ‘Holy Buckeye’ moment against Purdue, OSU had to go to overtime to bet Illinois. Jenkins picked up where he left off the previous week with 6 receptions, 147 yards and 1 TD. Maurice Hall only had 69 yards rushing, but his last 8 were in overtime for the winning TD.
I love the look on Tressel’s face at post-game handshake in the video.
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.
The Buckeye Battle Cry will be counting down the Top 25 players of the past decade all spring/summer. Every Monday and Thursday, Jim will be announcing a new player. Our #1 player will be presented on Monday, August 30th. Three days later, the 2010 season officially begins. To view the previous entries in our Top 25, click here.
Michael Jenkins quietly had one of the best receiving careers in Ohio State’s storied history of producing great receivers. It may come as a surprise to many that he is the all-time leader in career receiving yards with 2,898. This mark also stands as eighth best in Big Ten football history.
The offenses that Jenkins played for may have been less than flashy, but that did not prevent him from having one of the most productive receiving careers in Buckeye football history. He gets extra special bonus points for being on the receiving end of Craig Krenzel’s clutch game saving passes more often than not. Two passes in particular come quickly to mind – the 4th and 14* reception in overtime of the national championship game and, of course, Holy Buckeye.
If you’re like most football fans you probably play some form of fantasy football. It gives me the ability to have a rooting interest in any NFL game I watch. I also like to have hometown players on my team but since I live in Cleveland that’s not such a good idea. So if you’re an Ohio State fan and are playing fantasy you may like to have a Buckeye on your team. Here’s a quick look at OSU players in the NFL and what their fantasy prospects might be.
Troy Smith – Baltimore Last year his tonsils gave the job to Joe Flacco and he’s not getting it back anytime soon. If Flacco struggles or gets injured jump on the waiver wire and snag him. Other than that he’s not worth drafting
Antonio Pittman – St Louis Rams He’s number two behind Steven Jackson and won’t get many carries while Jackson is around. If you draft Jackson in the first round he’s worth picking up as a handcuff but other than that probably not draft worthy.
Chris Wells – Arizona Cardinals This is an interesting one. I had high hopes for his rookie season when I saw he was picked by Arizona, but since then I’ve become more skeptical. He missed OTAs to actually finish his spring classes and then suffered an injury early in camp. Meanwhile Tim Hightower has been putting on quite a preseason performance. What does this mean? I don’t know – could go either way. I would definitely draft him but I wouldn’t count on starting him until we see where the season is going. Still I predict quite a future in the NFL for Beanie.
Joey Galloway – New England Patriots Injured last year, now in New England behind Moss and Welker. Could see some production if he’s healthy, and remember it is Brady throwing the ball
Ted Ginn Jr – Miami Dolphins Lots of upside here. Year three is when lots of receivers blossom in the NFL. I’d draft him as my number 3 receiver. He hasn’t shown he can do it yet but this may be the year.
Anthony Gonzalez – Indianapolis Colts His third year in the league. Marvin Harrison is gone. This guy has sleeper written all over him. I predict 1200 yards and 10+ TDS. Don’t jump too soon – he’ll probably slip into the 4th round but he will be a first round worthy pick this year.
Santonio Holmes – Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl winning catch will make him go earlier in the draft than he probably should. Still he’s a good receiver playing for a championship team. Hines Ward is getting older and Holmes will take over main receiving duties eventually. Is this the year? Maybe but don’t overreach for him.
Michael Jenkins – Atlanta Falcons Defenses will be keyed on Michael Turner running the ball and the Falcons two main aerial threats – Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. This should leave lots of one on one situations for Jenkins. He’s developed into a deep threat and could put up some numbers this year.
Brian Robiskie – Cleveland Browns Last year I went against my better judgment and drafted a Brown. That Brown was Braylon Edwards. I learned my lesson. That being said Robiskie has great hands and runs good routes. Someone has to catch the ball in Cleveland. I wouldn’t be against having him as a backup but I’d be wary of anyone wearing brown and orange this year.
Mike Nugent – Tampa Bay Buccaneers Don’t ever draft a kicker before the last round. And Nugent may not even have the starting job in TB. Stay away.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a Buckeye fan. Do I really need to explain what this picture shows?
Didn’t think so.
Michael Jenkins, today’s your day. Time and time again, you made the catch that saved our asses. You deserve a whole week to yourself for the effort and the grit you gave. Thank you from the bottoms of all our hearts!
12 days to go!
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!