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.
They could make a movie about Troy Smith’s journey at Ohio State. From an athlete who struggled to find a position on the team to a Heisman winning quarterback, the path Smith took was incredible, and there were many ups and downs along the way.
Troy’s transformation from an athlete into a quarterback was almost as drastic as his transformation from an immature college student into one of the best leaders to ever play at Ohio State.
Smith had a few run ins with trouble (including accepting illegal benefits that resulted in a two game suspension) but he learned from them and grew from them like only a true champion could. Read More
Actually, since Jim’s blocked punt in the 1979 MACh1gAAn game led to another loss by TTUN, and since we seem to be making a lot of friends from “bluer” websites, let’s take day five in a different direction.
As in the last five versions of The Game:
2004- 37 to 21 Troy and Teddy lead to the upset of the #7 team in the nation.
2005- 25 to 21 “The Catch”. Oh, and the amazing tackle by Shawn Crable on Ohio State’s last score.
2007- 14 to 3 All Beanie, All Day. Plus, Jake Long allows Chad Henne into the Gun Show that is Vernon Gholston.
2008- 42 to 7 Goodbye, Beanie. Hello, Boom and Terrelle.
Just think, if they hadn’t been breaking all of those practice and training rules, they would have been shut out.
To be honest, the best thing about day five is that next year we’ll be able to use this template for countdown day six.
We had a couple of interesting pieces to publish today, so the countdown had to wait until the street lights went on….thanks for your patience!
There’s only ten days left until the Ohio State Buckeyes take the field for the opening game of the 2009 season. Now is the time that you begin to literally taste the excitement. You can begin to smell the air in Ohio turning crisp, that genuine aroma of fall that you don’t truly recognize if you’re not from the midwest. To me, that is the actual essence of college football.
Day #10 could have had so many great athletes recognized here at The BBC.
Or we could just go with the guy that still thrills us all here in Ohio and still gives them nightmares in that state up north.
Yeah, let’s go with Troy Smith.
Ohio State football has long been a force, and no single man can be credited with being the savior of the game (well, maybe Woody). But earlier this decade things did not look so good for us until Troy Smith returned the Buckeyes to greatness.
Justin Zwick was our quarterback in 2004, and we struggled a lot with him at the helm early on. It actually took a 55-yard FG at the buzzer to beat lowly Marshall. More than half of Zwick’s passes ended up incomplete or in the hands of our opponents.
Then the losses started coming. An OT loss to Northwestern showed just how bad things were about to get. The murmurs about removing Zwick for Smith began to turn into screams. The next week, a loss at home to Wisconsin started Buckeye fans into panic mode. Tressel felt the heat to make a switch at QB.
Against Iowa, with the Buckeyes trailing 17-0, Zwick fumbled the ball deep in his own territory, and the change was made. Troy Smith took over during Ohio State’s worst slump in over a decade and the weight was now on his shoulders.
Smith won 5 of the remaining 6 Buckeye games in 2004, turning a 3-3 Zwick team into an 8-4 Alamo Bowl champion….and a complete destruction over #7 Michigan, 37-21.
In 2005, his starting record was 9-1, which included a come-from-behind win at Michigan 25-21 and a 34-20 Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame.
Then came the dream season of 2006, in which the Buckeyes ended up 12-1. Smith’s final home game was known as the “Game Of The Century” between #1 Ohio State and #2 Michigan. Guess who won?
Wanna know just how much we love Troy Smith in northeast Ohio? We actually didn’t mind that he got drafted by the Baltimore Ravens.
But none of those stats are as pretty as it is to actually watch the man in action. Thank God for YouTube….
“The Catch” against Michigan, 2005;
The play that won him the Heisman against Penn State;
The entire day against Notre Dame;
And then there’s this collection of dominance over Michigan….Troy’s in WAY too many of these clips;
Troy Smith, thank you for all you did for us. This day is for you.
10 days left!
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.
Ah, Anthony Gonzalez….we do love you so.
The picture you see here was taken in the first two minutes of the game in 2004. The struggling Buckeyes were not expected to do much against #7 Michigan, but nobody told that to the boys in the uniforms. Gonzalez caught a 68-yard pass early on for a TD, and we spent the rest of the day steamrolling the Wolverines 37-21.
Oh, and we haven’t lost to them since then either.
But the play we want to focus on more at The BBC happened one year later. Let’s take you there…..
November 19, 2005 – With only 7 and a half minutes to play, Michigan fans were in celebration mode after their team took a commanding 21-12 lead over the Buckeyes. But Ohio State was prepared to show Wolverine fans that the party wasn’t started yet.
It took just 5 plays and barely over a minute of the game clock for QB Troy Smith to go down the field for a TD strike to Santonio Holmes, cutting the deficit down to 21-19. The ensuing Michigan drive stalled quickly, but a punt pinned Ohio State at their own 12 with just over 4 minutes left in the game.
The Buckeyes never even faced a third down on that winning drive, as Smth, Holmes and Ted Ginn Jr sliced through the defense in 6-to-11 yard chunks.
And then it happened.
At the Michigan 31 yard line, the Buckeyes lined up for first down. Ten seconds later, nobody could believe what they had just witnessed –
Smith dancing away from a tackle was a work of art, and Gonzalez’ catch was pure magic.
Being down two points and having a deadly placekicker, the game was all but over. But Jim Tressel didn’t want to leave much time on the clock, so he ran Smith off right tackle to burn some clock (and force Michigan to use their final time out). With under 30 seconds to play, RB Antonio Pittman blasted through a demoralized Michigan squad for the winning score, and the celebration shifted from 105,000 fans in blue to the 5K wearing scarlet.
For that amazing catch, and for a career filled with excitement for Buckeye fans….. Anthony Gonzalez, enjoy your day!
11 days until kickoff!
As we continue our countdown until gameday, Jeff was kind enough to let me highlight someone other than a kicker. The training wheels are off, I guess.
Day seventeen brings us a recent grad- quarterback Todd Boeckman. Todd’s two years personify the expression “grace under pressure”.
As a gray shirted junior, he was asked to fill the shoes of Heisman Trophy winner, Wolverine killer, “should have his jersey retired soon” QB Troy Smith.
He responded by leading his team through a one loss Big Ten season, conference championship, and berth in the MNCG. I was lucky enough to see him play against Washington; my wife’s first Buckeye football game.
As a senior, he lost his Heisman Trophy candidate running back during the first game of the season. Playing behind a line that never seemed to live up to expectations, he eventually lost his job to the young gun freshman phenom.
During the season, the offense continued to struggle, inspiring whispers of controversy in the locker room as players chose sides behind “their” quarterbacks.
But through it all, he was a Buckeye leader and captain. He took direction from his coaches, worked to make his replacement and team better. He was, and is, a “team first, me second” student athlete who exemplified the Tradition, Honor, and Excellence that Ohio State football stands for.
To celebrate day seventeen, here are highlights from what many feel was the greatest game of his career: a victory on the road at night, against a very strong Penn State team.
Todd, thank you for representing yourself, your team, and your University with class.
EDIT by Jeff at The BBC – I will openly admit that I was angry at Boeckman’s problems at QB, and I began calling for Pryor to take over around halftime of the USC game. That interception he threw for a TD was all I could stand. Until that point, we were only down 14-3, but that broke our backs.
Boeckman had a string about seven games long ( spanning two seasons) that he struggled a lot in. We all knew Pryor was the future of the team and he needed the work. I believe that Jim Tressel made the right call.
But MaliBuckeye is right. Boeckman handled it with class to the very end. He mentored his own replacement and stood by his side through every play.
Looking back at his career, it is a fitting conclusion that Boeckman’s final TD as a Buckeye was thrown to Terrelle Pryor.
Nearly three years ago, I began this blog for multiple reasons, all of which had to do with my love of Ohio state football. One of those reasons, as I stated in my inaugural post, was a quarterback from the 50′s named John Borton.
In the mid-to-late 80s, I became friends with a wonderful person named Mary Borton. She was (and still is) brilliant, energetic and beautiful, and I considered myself lucky to have her as a friend. Plus, she was a Buckeye fan, so she pretty much had it all. I don’t even recall the conversation, but one day I learned that her father had played QB at Ohio State.
A few years later, I was a sports correspondent for a small newspaper in Massillon, Ohio. One day in the early 90s, I asked Mary if her father John would be interested in being interviewed for a feature story, and the answer was a resounding “yes”. So I went to the Borton house and stayed for hours. Borton sat in his reclining chair and gave a warm smile as he told countless stories about everything that we Buckeye fans adore. It was like I had a taste of heaven, hearing all these intricate details about Hopalong Cassady, Dave Leggett, and a man named Woody Hayes.
His warmth was astounding. I had often wondered how Mary Borton could be such an amazing person….sitting in front of me was the answer to that question. That’s how she was raised.
Later that fall, the Ohio State University was honoring their 1954 National Championship team, of which Borton was a senior QB. Injury kept him on the sideline throughout the season, and Leggett led the team to the title. Borton was not healthy enough to attend the festivities, which included a halftime ceremony during the Purdue game. My newspaper arranged a press pass for me, and Borton asked me if I would please send his love to all his former teammates.
Like I said, it was heaven.
Standing on the sidelines at Ohio Stadium, I was a guest among the heroes of the early years of Woody Hayes. The men who actually saved his job by going 10-0 back in 1954, when alumni and boosters were less than thrilled with Hayes’ 16-9-2 record over his first three years. I shook hands with the best of the best, each one of them with huge rings on their fingers. Then I got to meet Anne Hayes, a frail but sweet woman who was there to represent her late husband. The rest of the day was a blur, and I went home with the task of sending love to John Borton from so many people that I couldn’t even keep all their names and faces in my starstruck brain.
I have been in attendance for dozens and dozens of incredible games at Ohio Stadium and around the Big Ten. I saw Earle Bruce’s last game. I saw Eddie George play. Same thing for Cris Carter, Beanie Wells, Archie Griffin, Troy Smith, and a long long list of the greats.
But all of the amazing things I saw in Ohio Stadium? None will ever compare to the gift that John Borton gave me on that fall afternoon.
In April of 2002, Borton passed away. I still believe that a lot of those “miracle wins” in the 2002 season was the result of Borton and Hayes finally convincing God to intervene and help out their favorite university. Hayes wore God down, and Borton finally sold the deal.
Last Friday night, Borton was finally inducted into the Stark County High School Football Hall Of Fame. After a record-setting career at Alliance High, Ohio State University, and a short career with the Cleveland Browns, he was given his due here at home. It is a fitting tribute to a man who loved the sport and taught that love to his family and friends.
The Buckeye Battle Cry wishes to congratulate the entire Borton family on this wonderful honor.
One additional story, not widely known. On January 1, 1955, Ohio State won the National Championship by beating USC 20-7 in the Rose Bowl. Late in the game, Hayes decided to empty his bench and give more of his players a chance to smell the Roses. He called on Borton, who had missed the entire season with an injury.
Borton declined, and asked Hayes to send in the third-string QB. Borton asked Hayes to do it because the kid’s father had played at Ohio State and was in attendance watching the game.
When asked to take snaps in the Rose Bowl for a National Championship, Borton gave up the opportunity so a teammate’s father could see his son play.
How great of a man do you have to be to give a gift like that?