The Top 11 Buckeye Moments of 2010

By Jason Priestas on December 31, 2010 at 10:30p
20 Comments

Happy New Year, everybody! This should have probably been up a few days ago, but a certain awards-for-tats crisis took a little bit of the fun out of getting it out. At the end of the day, however, 2010 was another amazing year in the Buckeye sporting world -- OSU is currently 5th in the Director's Cup standings -- and with that, we present our 3rd annual Top Buckeye Moments of the Year.

11. Boom Gets Hot & Cracks 1,000

Over a thousand reasons to appreciate Boom

2009 was an anomaly of sorts in Columbus. Not since Lydell Ross finished with a paltry 475 yards in 2004 had a Buckeye running back failed to crack the 1,000 yard mark for a season. The good news heading into 2010 was that both of Ohio State's top two running backs would be returning so the odds of one of them ending that slump would stand to be pretty good.

Brandon Saine, the "starter" heading into 2010, got off to a great start in the opener, finishing with 103 yards on just 9 carries, but quickly disappeared, accounting for just 80 yards on the ground in his next six outings. Boom Herron didn't fare much better, picking up just 192 yards in the first four games. But, much like last season, things began to click once the Buckeyes got into Big Ten play.

Against Illinois in week five, Herron finished with 95 tough yards and then followed that up with 233 combined yards against Indiana, Wisconsin and Purdue. And then he got red hot. In a late October game against Minnesota, he notched his first 100-yard game, with a 114 yard effort and then the following week, he piled up 190 yards against Penn State. He was held to 69 by a stingy Iowa front seven days later, but rebounded for 175 yards against the Wolverines in the finale, including what should have been a 98 yard touchdown run if not for a phantom holding call.

For the season, Boom more than shouldered the load finished with 1,068 yards on 192 carries, good enough for 5.5 per pop. Oh, and he continued to find the endzone, scoring 15 touchdowns on the year with at least one in each of the final 11 weeks of the season.

10. The Comeback

Clutch when it mattered

The Buckeyes traveled to Iowa City in late November, needing a win to keep pace with conference co-leaders Michigan State and Wisconsin. They were battling for a sixth-straight Big Ten championship, but it wouldn't come easy as the the same Hawkeye team that had battled the Bucks to overtime the year before in Columbus returned virtually intact and they were set up as three point favorites for their senior day.

Vegas looked to be on the mark once again as Iowa took 17-10 lead four minutes into the fourth quarter, but OSU had an answer. The Buckeyes took the ensuing kickoff down to the Iowa 31 before the drive stalled out and they settled for a 48 yard Devin Barclay field goal to cut Iowa's lead to four. After a Hawkeye three-and-out, the OSU took over again and quickly moved the ball to midfield before three Pryor incompletions forced a 4th-and-season. After taking the snap from shotgun, Pryor rolled to his right but unable to find an open receiver, he cut back through the middle of the line and raced up the left sideline for 16 yards to keep championship hopes alive.

Looking to top himself, Pryor found Dane Sanzenbacher two plays later on an acrobatic 24 yard hookup to the two that evoked memories of Gonzo in Ann Arbor and then Boom finished things off, punching it in from the one to put Ohio State up 20-17. The Hawkeyes turned the ball over on downs and Ohio State was able to run the clock out.

9. Clarett's Life Takes a Positive Turn

Redemption song

Maurice Clarett's Ohio State career didn't exactly end on a positive note. After leading the team to a national championship as a freshman, the most exciting OSU running back in 25 years filed a false police report, lobbed academic impropriety bombs at the university via the New York Times and then spiraled into a series of run-ins with the law after flaming out of the NFL, culminating in an incident in which he was pulled over with an AK, a bullet-proof vest and, just for good measure, some Grey Goose in August of 2006.

He received no favors from the judge when it came time for sentencing and was sent away for seven and a half years. Looking to turn things around, Clarett was, by all accounts, a model inmate, starting a blog from prison to provide inspiration to others and subsequently qualified for an early release in April of 2010. Four months later, he was released from a halfway house and received permission to attend a tryout for the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL.

The motion was approved and thanks to a letter of recommendation from Jim Tressel, Clarett made the Nighthawks and recently completed his first season of football in five years. Though he left on bad terms, we're a forgiving bunch and hope Maurice builds on this opportunity.

8. Woo-Hoo College Cup

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAL

After watching the men do it, the Lady Buckeye soccer team figured it was their turn and stormed into their first-ever berth in the Women's College Cup after a handful of narrow early escapes and a huge upset.

The fun started when the Buckeyes dropped St. Francis in the opener and then won on penalty kicks against Dayton in the second round. Up next was #2 Virginia, and after racing out to a 3-0 lead, OSU held on for a 3-2 win. After a 2-0 win against Georgetown, the Buckeyes had their place in the national semifinals -- the Big Ten's first such berth since 2005.

Unfortunately, they ran out of steam against eventual champion Notre Dame, but the future looks bright for coach Lori Walker's squad. 19 players were named Academic All-Big Ten and goalkeeper Katie Baumgardner, one of nine juniors on the squad, was named to the College Cup All-Tournament Team.

7. Heyward's Rumble

Get loose, big fella

The Miami game had been marked on the calendar since they day it was announced over five years ago. The two teams hadn't met since the 2003 Fiesta Bowl that saw the Buckeyes snap the Hurricane's 34-game winnings streak and handed Ohio State its first national championship in over three decades. Both teams had a talented junior signal caller and plenty of speed on both sides of the ball and reflecting that, each entered ranked in the top 12.

Despite a shaky first half on special teams, the Buckeyes entered the half with a 26-17 lead, but there was still plenty of concern over how easy Miami had been able to move the ball on the OSU defense when it wasn't shooting itself in the foot with turnovers.

As Ohio State nursed a nine point lead, Miami took the second half kickoff and advanced to the OSU six in just four plays, quieting the home crowd. The defense stiffened a bit, forcing a third down and then Miami quarterback Jacory Harris took the snap and proceded to throw a floater over the middle. Buckeye defensive end Cameron Heyward, dropping into zone coverage, jumped the ball in front of the tight end, coming up with the interception and then things got real.

Heyward, behind a platoon of blockers, raced down the left sideline bringing back memories of his father, the late Craig "Ironhead" Heyward. Running out of gas a little, he cut back to the middle of the field at the Miami 25 before he was finally tripped up after an 80 yard return, snuffing out any second half momentum the Hurricanes had. The Buckeyes would finish Miami off 36-24 and fans had an epic memory of a 290-pounder getting his scamper-on.

6. The Vest Gets Angry

You won't like him when he's angry.

It's no stretch to say the Nittany Lions were down this season. By the time they reached Columbus for a week 10 matchup, they already had three losses, to Alabama, Iowa and Illinois under their belt, saying nothing of their nine point win over Temple early in the season.

As such, nobody was willing to give Penn State much of a chance against Ohio State, especially considering the fact that they'd have Matt McGloin, a former walk-on at quarterback for the tilt. Naturally, you can imagine the shock of Buckeye Nation as they watched McGloin throw darts on the way to staking Penn State to a 14-0 halftime lead behind two touchdown strikes. The booing fans in the Shoe weren't the only ones unhappy: Tressel lit into the team at halftime, something out of character for the typically reserved coach. To quote center Mike Brewster:

"Tress doesn’t really come out and yell very much. He stays very even, so when he comes out and gets after it in the locker room you can see the urgency on everyone’s faces."

The team responded in kind, reeling of 35 unanswered points in the second half, including two pick-sixes, to close out the Nittany Lions 38-14 and move to 9-1 on the year.

5. Lance Palmer Slays the Beast

PWNED

Iowa wrestler Brent Metcalf might just be the best collegiate wrestler of the last 10 years. Raised by wolves (and ogres), the Michigan native finished high school with a 228-0 record and four state championships.

After losing his freshman year when he followed coach Tom Brands from Virginia Tech to Iowa, he had a monster sophomore campaign in which he won the Hodge Trophy (wrestling's Heisman), Big Ten Wrestler of the Year, and the NCAA Tournament's Outstanding Wrestler Award on the way to capturing the crown at the 149 pound weight class.

As a junior, he won his first 37 matches before being upset by North Carolina State's Darrion Caldwell in the NCAA finals. You can imagine how much anger he brought with him into the 2010 season and it was on display from the start as once again went undefeated in the regular season. Ohio State, in Lance Palmer, had the nation's 2nd-ranked wrestler at 149, but he'd fallen short of beating Metcalf in previous attempts, sometimes losing badly, but that was not to be the case in the Big Ten championships.

Tied 3-3 in the third and final period, Palmer put Metcalf on his back (which is as rare as a solar eclipse) and emerged with an 8-3 victory in what was easily the upset of the year in college wrestling. Metcalf would avenge the defeat in the NCAA finals, but for one night in March, Palmer was king of the world.

4. We're Going Streaking

Seven, six and six straight

When the Buckeyes vanquished the Wolverines in the season finale, they pushed forward quite a few noteworthy streaks. For starters, the team picked up their 7th-straight win against Michigan, moving Tressel to 9-1 against the heathens from the north. The win also captured a share of OSU's sixth-consecutive Big Ten title, matching their own conference mark set from 1972-1977 and later earned OSU a berth in their sixth-straight BCS bowl, something unmatched in modern football.

What's truly amazing about those accomplishments is that things have been so good under Tressel -- the last two wins over Michigan in Columbus have been the most lopsided since 1968 -- that it's easy for us, as fans, to take these kind of things for granted. But if you think back to how life was under Cooper or even Bruce, you quickly realize just how extraordinary these feats are.

For you, Mr. Tressel, and your fine work over the course of the last decade, we salute you at the #4 spot in our countdown. With some hard work and a little bit of luck, seven-straight is not out of reach next year.

3. Naismith'd

NAISMITH'D

They've been handing out the Naismith Award to the top college basketball player in the land for 41 years, but no Buckeye had ever won the award. Until last season.

Evan Marcel Turner, or as we affectionately call him, "The Villain", got things started the right way by recording the first triple double by a Big Ten player -- and first by a Buckeye since Dennis Hopson in the 80s -- by destroying Alcorn State in the season opener. He would repeat the feat two weeks later against Lipscomb and suddenly he had moved from being a pre-season second team All-American pick to a player who might just be the best in the nation.

Despite suffering a scary back injury, Turner returned to lead the Buckeyes in scoring, rebounds and assists, running the point for Thad Matta's squad. At the conclusion of the regular season, he had led the Buckeyes to a share of the Big Ten crown and shattered Glenn Robinson's record for most Big Ten Player of the Week awards when he captured his final honor of the season prior to the Big Ten Tournament.

In the conference tourney, it was more of the same as Turner led OSU to a championship and a two seed in the NCAA tournament. Though he and his mates were eventually bounced from the NCAA tourney by Tennessee in the Sweet Sixteen, he would go on to capture every major postseason award -- including the coveted Naismith -- and would later be selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 2nd overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft. Truly a magical season for the kid from the west side of Chicago.

Don't cry for Thad Matta over Turner's early departure, though. He inked the winner of the prep Naismith award, Jared Sullinger, as part of his loaded 2010 recruiting class and last time I checked, things were working out on that front.

2. Ducks Hunted

Ducks Hunted

Thanks to a three-game skid in marquee bowl games, not many people were giving the Buckeyes much of a chance against the Oregon Ducks in the Rose Bowl. After all, the Ducks had completely annihilated the same USC team that dropped Ohio State in Columbus and no team seemed to have an answer for the high-octane Duck offense after their opening loss to Boise State. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was on his way to posting the 8th best total offense season in Oregon history and the offense was scoring touchdowns every 9.4 seconds (slight exaggeration, but you get the picture).

It's a good thing the Buckeyes didn't buy into that. Showing up and playing their most complete game of the season, Ohio State dominated Oregon, holding the ball (and keeping Oregon's potent offense off the field) for a staggering 41:37. From a defensive standpoint, the performance was so dominating that members of the Oregon press later floated the idea that the Buckeyes had stolen the Ducks' offensive signals. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor took a step forward in his evolution, finishing with a (then) career-high 266 yards passing to go along with two touchdowns and 72 yards on the ground.

The win was Tressel's first in the Granddaddy of Them All, and Ohio State's first since beating Arizona State in 1997. So important was the win and so high was the optimism heading into 2010, that Pryor and his teammates entered the season ranked #2 behind only defending national champion Alabama. Most importantly, the game served as a huge helping of comfort food for Buckeye fans. Their team could still play with and beat elite teams when the chips were on the table.

1. The Shot

No words here, just roll tape:

HONORABLE MENTION: Bob Todd goes out in style after a stellar career as OSU's baseball coach; The Women's field hockey team made the NCAA Final Four; Pryor's 16-straight completions against Ohio.

Did we miss anything?

20 Comments

Comments

iball's picture

Jake Ballard's catch was the top moment of the Rose Bowl. Clarret piece = nice.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

JakeBuckeye's picture

I called what number one was going to be for the record!

One year from now though, when making this list for 2011, number one will read "Sully Cuts Down the Net"

Jason Priestas's picture

I hope you're right!

OHIOST1087's picture

I'm not sure if this would qualify as a Top11, but def. as an honorable mention, would be Troy Smith getting a shot a starting QB. His first start on 'OSU West Campus' came across the pond where he led the team to a comeback win over Denver and showed Europe and the world why we are still so proud of him today. (and still hoping he gets his chance to be an NFL Team's #1 qb).

Irricoir's picture

Loved seeing the props going out to Palmer. If there was one area that could improve on 11W it is the coverage of Ohio State Wrestling. It is the second greatest sport in this state at the high school level and a personal favorite of mine. I follow it as much as I can, and will do so more often now that I have the Big10 network. Those guys deserve a lot of respect. I assure you they work harder on the mats and away from the mats, through diet and study that any other student athlete at OSU. Hmmm, lets have a couple 11W writers participate in a day of conditioning with the wrestlers and write about the experience!! I am full of great ideas for you guys!!

There are certain things you do in life that form a fraternity with others with out even knowing them. If you are a wrestler and it doesn't even matter what region you are from, there is always a bond. Now we will bicker amongst each other which region produces the best wrestlers (Just like football) but there is anonymous camaraderie amongst all.

With out a doubt the Bigten is the premiere wrestling conference in the nation. The Big12 is not far behind. At least wrestlers don't have to deal with ESSEEESSEEE speed!

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

BuckeyeChief's picture

Happy New Year everybody!
A few random thoughts:
That Pro Combat Uni looked great.

In between reading chapters of "War as they knew it", and finally cracking open "The Winners Manual" I downloaded the Elevendub podcast...good stuff, one suggestion: Can you guys enhance the volume on your end? It is kind of hard to hear without headphones. I subscribed to it though.

SEC and B12 look great so far, huh?

"War as they knew it", "Heart of a champion", and a pretty sweet workout shirt where among my (Buckeye) gifts this year; you guys?

 

"Clutch has no boundaries"

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

The confederates are o-fer so far with some intriguing match-ups today.  The big ten only needs a couple wins to make it a successful bowl season.

And we are getting closer to the big game on the 4th ... seems like an eternity

Denny's picture

I am not kidding you, Dave O'Brien.

Taquitos.

Seth4Bucks's picture

Not so much a moment, but Ohio State has never been this good in basketball and football before Thad Matta and Jim Tressel took over as coaches. I can't think of any other program in the country who have such great coaches in BOTH sports. Tressel is easily in any objective person's top 5 CFB coaches. Matta has more competition, but most schools would bend over backwards to get him as their coach.

Thad Matta has not finished a season with less than 20 wins in his entire coaching career. How many guys have been drafted from OSU under Matta? How many championships (regular season and tourney) has OSU won?* He hasn't got a national title ring yet, but that'll come if he continues to coach & recruit like he has. (Yes he does have the NIT ring  when the Bucks were snubbed)

Jim Tressel is just THE MAN. 9-1 vs those pesky varmints from up North. The streaks in BCS appearances and Big10 titles was already mentioned. He's got one NT ring and he won COY following the 14-0 national championship season. And he's even got a freaking football field at Baldwin-Wallace named in honor of him, his brothers, and his dad. Just about the only thing he doesn't have is the COY honors from the Big10.

Hats off to these great coaches and all they've done for Ohio State, both on and off the field/court.

 

* Rhetorical question :-p But it's three regular season championships & two Big10 Tourney rings.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Now that Meyer is out at Florida, yes. But if he wasn't, both he and Donovan have 2 titles and beat these current coaches for one each. It would be really hard to argue our coaches are greater but I wouldn't trade either.

btalbert25's picture

Donnovan caught lightening in a bottle down there though.  Since those 2 titles they missed the tourney twice and were lucky to make it last year.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Yes. Those teams were stacked with decent and good NBA talent and they returned when they could have gone pro. I want Tress and Matta to retire as Buckeyes.

Seth4Bucks's picture

I think heDonovan got really lucky with the players that he had. But yeah I was thinking Meyer's out now so Florida is out of the running. Besides, Tressel has a few more NC rings from Youngstown. :-p

buckeyedude's picture

I agree with #4. Tressel is under appreciated by some fans/alumni, IMO. Glad we have him.

 
 

Bieterman's picture

I think Thad Matta's reaction to the #1 moment is easily a top 10 moment.

Bobcat04's picture

+1

  I love Matta going down the scorer's table yelling and pumping his fist...

Matt's picture

I remember reading some scuttlebutt that Matta's reaction after Turner's game-winner stemmed from the fact that one Big 10 coach had not voted ET as the top player in the conference, and the accompanying suspicion that the anonymous coach was Beilein -- hence Matta's in-your-face reaction -- but that may have just been rumor.

osukdawg76's picture

I love the reaction by Matta when they pan to him.  He looks like he is telling Beilein to get on his knees and take it like a bitch.

I, for one, welcome our new coaching overlords.

 

 

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Wait. Women's soccer is played in the NCAA? I thought that was only in high school. I bet they get all kinds of free shit. Softball and soccer chicks are always smoking hot. I wonder if they are gonna be investigated for improper benefits soon.

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.

SuperBuckFan08's picture

Imagine if Gus Johnson was calling that game!?

Because I couldn't go for three.   -Woody-