Pictures of You

By Ramzy Nasrallah on October 16, 2012 at 1:00p
Entered the Michigan game as a 17-point favo-[vomits out every organ and dies]John Cooper walks off of the field at Indiana Memorial Stadium in 1996 having secured his first Rose Bowl trip at OSU.

It's been nearly 16 years since Matt Finkes scooped up the ball Andy Katzenmoyer had stripped away from Indiana QB Jay Rodgers and rumbled into the end zone to secure the Buckeyes' first trip to Pasadena in over a decade.

Finkes had been a nine-year-old kid in Piqua the previous time Ohio State played in a Rose Bowl. Upon scoring the decisive touchdown all those years later to finally send them back, he joyously tossed the ball into the air where it was immediately snatched by a kid who appeared to be as happy as Finkes was.

Then that kid - and the ball - both quickly vanished into the crowd. A different one had to be brought out for Josh Jackson's extra point.

That ball made for a hell of a memento, which is emblematic of what all those fun road trips to Bloomington - that charming hamlet where the Buckeyes have lost one game over the past 108 years - have been for Ohio State fans: A nice little memory.

While IU is quite comfortable being designated as a basketball school, it's far less welcoming of its mildly-condescending status as Columbus West whenever the Buckeyes are on the home schedule. Historically it's just been easier to get tickets to an Ohio State game if you travel four hours west. So people do it, in droves.

The Buckeyes' winning percentage on the Hoosiers' home turf is actually higher than it is on their own field, both against Indiana and everyone else. Yes, Ohio State's winning percentage in Bloomington is actually better than it is in Columbus (in large part because they're always playing IU in Bloomington).

With the exception of the Minneapolis Metrodome, the Gophers' former home where Ohio State never lost, there is no better memory maker in the conference than the one in Bloomington. 

Only Ann Arbor is closer in proximity to Columbus, but your nose could have told you that without having to check Google maps.

It's not an entirely one-sided proposition when the Buckeyes come to town: Bloomington businesses certainly benefit from the uptick in activity during what is normally a relatively sleepy home game Saturday. The IU AD has also been known to take advantage of the stadium being filled with red-clad fans to take captivating aerial photographs that don't require photoshopping.

You can almost hear the O-H-I-O chant"Just look at all that red." - actual Bill Mallory quote

But for Ohio State, there are exclusively nice memories in B-Town: In the last trip to town Duron Carter caught a touchdown pass, placing Bloomington second only to the digital stadiums of XBOX360 for venues where he has scored. In 2005, Ted Ginn Jr. did Ted Ginn Jr. things that you've undoubtedly watched and rewatched.

Prior to that we had the defending BCS champions easily taking their 21st win in 22 games, and two years earlier Lydell Ross broke the 100-yard rushing barrier as a freshman in what seemed sure to be the first of many triple-digit performances for ol' Flydell

And it goes on and on, from Finkes' Rose Bowl-securing TD in 1996 all the way back to before the RMS Titanic had been built. Just once during that span, in 1988, has Columbus West gone Crimson with Ohio State visiting. On Saturday night it briefly flirted with the idea of doing so again, but like most flirtations amounted to little more than some mild entertainment before waning.

However the postseason-free 2012 campaign is remembered once it is completed, this trip to Bloomington will present itself within the course of history like almost all of its predecessors: A little W next to the Ohio State side of the line item, which matched outcome with expectation. 

The Buckeye offense was on its way to being prolific prior to Saturday night, and its defense was already pretty far down the path of mediocrity even before facing the Hoosiers' formidable scheme. The trend should continue this weekend against Purdue, a program with one win in Columbus over the past 45 years.

Beyond that, Ohio State is now playing for a New York City trip for Braxton Miller - which now seems likely - as well as an AP National Championship which seems as remote as Indiana seizing home field advantage from the Buckeyes on their next trip to Bloomington.

It's the oddest season in memory for the Scarlet and Gray, with bountiful offense being paired with absolutely dreadful defense, no postseason to play for and the entire complexion of Ohio State football being reshaped by Urban Meyer.

The most normal thing that's happened thus far in 2012 was a victory in Bloomington. The rest is just details that are pulling you in opposite directions on the emotional spectrum.

That happy kid who got his hands on Finkes' touchdown ball didn't fade into oblivion with his souvenir. He kept it hidden in his coat until after the game when the Buckeye majority spilled onto the field in celebration.

That's when he approached the Ohio State senior, who was busy celebrating with his teammates, and gave the ball back to him to keep.

Finkes still has that memento from his final "road" game as a Buckeye, which is emblematic of all those trips to Bloomington. It's a nice little memory.


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Hasbro's picture

I've taken the wife and kids (now ages 23-19) to each of the last three games at Bloomington. Amazingly great time for family, football, and food. Indiana "jacks up" the price of tickets for this game to a whopping $60.
The camaraderie on the way to the stadium, during the game, and in celebration afterward is a blast.

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

Great as always. Yawn. ;)
The write-up touched on this a bit and I am curious; how did one terrible 4th quarter against Indiana all but negate the chances for an AP Championship? After Nebraska, an undefeated season all but guaranteed it would happen. If we do in fact go undefeated, what has changed but those 22 points?

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

Maestro's picture

I think it's more of an "OSU won't get the votes" vs. an "OSU has no chance of running the table."

vacuuming sucks

Earle's picture

Agree.  Hate to say it, but would be hard to argue against an undefeated Alabama team that would have won both its conference championship game and the NC game, when the Buckeyes can do neither.

Snarkies gonna snark. 

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

Was that not the case after Nebraska? I agree, I am just trying to account for the difference in perception. Were we being overly ambitious then, or overly critical now?

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

Earle's picture

I think it has always been the case, absent the Buckeyes obliterating everyone on the schedule. My perception of that hasn't changed. I can't speak for others.

Snarkies gonna snark. 

TNbuckeye91's picture

Damn ramzy. Your stories on here are always the best.

I come from a long line high, low, and in-between, the same as you. - TVZ

buckeyeEddie27's picture

I'll hand it to that kid, that was very cool of him.  I can't say for certain I would have done the same.
That Rose Bowl was what really got me hooked on Buckeye Football.  I was 12 and Joe Cool was a living legend in my eyes.  That game also taught me a valuable life lesson:  Brent Mussberger is not to be trusted.     Rewatching that game now it sounds like ol' brent wanted to french kiss his man crush jake the snake lol.

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

tennbuckeye19's picture

Loved the story Ramzy, and I loved that 96 team. One thing though, shouldn't the caption on that pic read: 

John Cooper walks off of the field at Indiana Memorial Stadium in 1996 having secured his first and only Rose Bowl trip at OSU.

dja.ohio's picture

I read that article twice trying to find 'Bollman' or 'Walrusball'. Looks like Ramzy's Bollman touretts syndrome has been cured for this week.
Bloomington is a nice venue for Buckeye football games.  I've made the trip twice and had all-around good experiences both times tailgating and inside the stadium. 

Ethos's picture

"But for Ohio State, there are exclusively nice memories in B-Town:"
I see what you did there, clever, clever.

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

Maestro's picture

Oh, and I wonder if this article is titled with the intent of providing a remedy what ails the defense?

vacuuming sucks

Baroclinicity's picture

I was at that game in Bloomington in '96.  That game was also much closer than it needed to be well into the 4th quarter.
I also remember some girl had a pretty dramatic seizure in the stands a few rows away from me.  Scary, to say the least.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

GrayDay's picture

I attended that game with IU alum friends.  As we take our seats one leans over to the other, points behind her to the top of the stands and says "Look, its filled!  All the way to the top!"  So we gave them something they's never seen before.
Also, that was a very good OSU team that came real close to losing that night.

jccavanaugh's picture

I miss the Big Katz.  We could use him this year.

BuckeyeSki's picture

The guy over Coops left shoulder in the picture is lookin' like Steve Irwin about to wrangle a silverback gorilla in the wild.
"Hey Jimmy! Watch this, I'm gonna grab ol' Coop by the neck and let him know what I think of his job performance so far!"

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Denny's picture

Steve Irwin: Ohio State Lax Bro.


BucksfanXC's picture

Not one Crickey?!

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

741's picture

Coop saying: "Hay, who's headin' over to Sun Bubble tonight?"

jrich612's picture

I clicked on the link to watch Ted Ginn Jr. do Ted Ginn Jr. things and spent the next 30 minutes watching highlights. My God, that boy could flat out fly. What I wouldn't give for another one of him to show up soon. 

JoeinCbus's picture

I've never run on the field, save once, and that was at this game.  I had an OSU flag I'd spent about $50 on that morning - an OSU player came up, asked if he could have it, and I just handed it over.  Couldn't have cared less.  The Dispatch had a photo of him waving it the following day.
About a week later, through a mutual friend, the player sent me a different flag, complete with autographs by every player on that team.  What a memento.
I miss our old play-by-play, incidentally.

thatlillefty's picture

Wow, that's awesome. Thanks for sharing.

buckeyeEddie27's picture

That is so cool.   Give and you shall receive. 

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

ArTbkward's picture

Even more special now that players are no longer allowed to autograph anything.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

hail2victors9's picture

Is that an OSU thing?  During the season only?

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!

~Bo Schembechler

ArTbkward's picture

I don't think that any OSU player is allowed to autograph anything while they're an active player per the new 802 page Compliance Rule Book.  Ramzy summarized the new rules last week in this post.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

Hockeybuck's picture

I was at that game, nervously smoking a cigarette on the concourse while listening to the radio broadcast. 
Then I heard a loud roar and raced down the tunnel to the stands to see Finkes completing his dash to the end zone. 
I was on the field after the game as well. 
Was this the year that Buckeye fans took down the south goal posts, and tried to get the north posts before the Indiana players surrounded them to prevent the others from being torn down?  I think it was, but I've been to Bloomington so many times that each trip is lost in a haze of booze and aging. 

celtic020's picture

I graduated from OSU in 2006.  We made the trip to B-Town in 2005 when OSU was really good in the Tressel hay day and we paid 10 dollars per ticket for a seat between the 20s.  With its proximity to Cbus, it's a no brainer to attend every time the Bucks make the trip! Don't forget to Sink the Biz at Nick's when in town!  GO BUCKS!

Go Buckeyes14's picture

This game is one of my earliest/best Buckeye football memories. The loss to michigan that came the next week was a tough pill to swallow though... literally the only game that seperated us from a national title. The Rose Bowl made up for it though.

AeroBuckeye2001's picture

Bloomington is a great town to visit for the game, especially when the Buckeyes take it over. We've made the trip just about every year since I graduated in 2001. I was really surprised at how empty the student section was this year. But of course, it was still torture getting out onto 37 after the game. I guess they're not used to having that many people at their games. Champaign and Bloomington are the hardest towns to get out of after a Buckeye victory (although I've never been to Happy Valley).

The Ohio State University Class of 2001

BS Aero & Astronautical Engineering

ArTbkward's picture

Wouldn't you know The Cure came on the radio while I was answering Hail this morning.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)