The Stumbler: Volume Six - Fighting the Irish

By Jeff Beck on January 23, 2013 at 5:00p
Stumble In

Hello and welcome back to another edition of the Stumbler. This weekly column scours Ebay for “For Sale” items that hold a special place in Buckeye lore.

So, without further adieu, I give you:

The Item: A 2006 Fiesta Bowl Program

With Manti Te’o apparently on the mind of the nation these days, I thought it appropriate to bring up another Irish shaming: the 2006 Fiesta Bowl.

Featured on the cover of this Ebay gem are unanimous first team All-American A.J. Hawk and the guy whose sister he was dating, Brady Quinn.

The matchup was billed as one of the best bowl games on the schedule, pitting #6 Notre Dame against #4 Ohio State.

Led by junior Troy Smith, the Buckeyes came into the game at 10-2 with two close losses to #18 Penn State and eventual national champion, #2 Texas.

The year was Smith’s coming out party. The dual-threat QB leveraged the 2005 season as a springboard for his 2006 Heisman campaign, amassing 2,282 yards, 16 TDs and 4 INTs through the air with 611 yards and 11 TDs on the ground.

Beyond Smith, the Buckeyes were stacked with talent, including five first-round draft picks in LB Hawk, DB Donte Whitner, LB Bobby Carpenter, WR Santonio Holmes and C Nick Mangold.

Irish Eyes Smiled On The BuckeyesOne Irish shaming deserves another.

Notre Dame entered the game at 9-2 with losses to unranked Michigan State and #1 USC.

Riding the arm of QB Quinn (3,919 yards, 32 TDs and 7 INTs, his best statistical collegiate season), the Fighting Irish began the 2005 campaign with back-to-back wins against #25 Pitt and #3 Michigan, catapulting them from unranked to #12 in the country. 

Much like OSU, Notre Dame’s two losses came relatively early and were incredibly close. Entering the Fiesta Bowl, the Buckeyes and Irish were riding six and five game win streaks, respectively. Needless to say, both teams felt they could play with any team in the country.

That brings us to:

The Clips:  A Long Day in the Desert for Charlie Weis

The game began with a bang for the Irish, as the wily Weises received the ball and took it 72 yards in only six plays for a score. The quick start startled Buckeye Nation, but history would promptly forget about this early dominance, as it was Notre Dame’s only lead on the day.

Smith and company weren’t fazed by the offensive explosion, primed and ready to showcase some fireworks of their own.

Receiving the ball at their own 18, the Buckeyes used five plays to move the ball to their own 38 before this happened:


Teddy Ginn did what Teddy Ginn did best and made Notre Dame’s secondary look foolish. It was early, but the amount of separation between Ginn and any other defending human gave all of Buckeye Nation a much needed boost of confidence. The secret was out: no one wearing a gold helmet could stop number seven. This was never more evident than on the Buckeye’s next scoring possession to start the second quarter.

Despite Musburger’s trademarked way-too-early TD call, Ginn took an option pitch, found the corner and cranked it to 11 on his way to paydirt.

Following the score, the Buckeye D promptly forced a three and out, giving the ball back to Troy and the gang, who drove all the way to the Irish 15 before fumbling. The OSU D held again, forcing an Irish punt that pinned the Scarlet and Gray on their own two-yard line.

Three straight rushes got the ball to the Buckeye 15. Then another OSU WR got loose.

Scoring saw a lull to finish the half, and the Buckeyes entered the locker room up 21-7.

The Irish scored in the middle of the third but missed the extra point to make it 21-13. On the Buckeyes next possession, they answered with a 40-yard Josh Huston FG go to up 24-13.

Another Huston FG to start the fourth made it 24-13, and the Buckeyes looked like they were rolling. But, a five-minute 80-yard drive orchestrated by Quinn resulted in a three-yard Darius Walker TD to bring the Irish closer at 27-20.

Not to be denied their third Fiesta Bowl win in four years, the Buckeyes put together their own TD drive capped off by this Antonio Pittman 60-yard scamper.

The score put the game on ice, 34-20, catalyzed the slow demise of Charlie Weis and paved the way for a preseason #1 ranking for the 2006 squad.

Not bad for a day’s work in the desert.

Thanks for stumbling in. Let’s do this again sometime.


Comments Show All Comments

Rooster Buckburn's picture

Watching these clips was just what the doctor ordered for the post season blahs.  Thanks!

ajbosu1's picture

I laugh when thinking of how open Teddy was on that play (or in general) against ND.

I also remember quite a bit of smack coming from their fans to the tune of "we were in it until Pittman's run!" and other illogical comments. I was never concerned we would lose even when they cut it to seven points.
The '05 squad was perhaps better than the '06. Man that Texas game still stings.

BTwrestle04's picture

Justin Zwick *sad face*

Gfunk61's picture

ND fans always have something to say when they r winning. Very quite when they get embarrassed. Anyone else notice the amount of ND fans that all of a sudden came out of the wood work this year?

Smanpoint10's picture

Smith's arm strength was phenomenal

tennbuckeye19's picture

Who could forget this image from this game? I mean seriously, Mussberger wouldn't let it go.

bedheadjc's picture

Was actually stunned that a Notre Dame QB would have a girlfriend of her...uh...less than stellar looks. No matter who her brother is.
McCarron wins again.

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

The problem is....ND's LBs get all the action on that team.

buckeye4life050233's picture

she was his sister, dating aj hawk

tennbuckeye19's picture

And now married (with children) to AJ Hawk.

bedheadjc's picture

F' me I am getting old. I forgot it was Brady's sister...and remembered it the other way around...jeez
She's just fine for Hawk then ;)

Codeezy's picture

I think thats Lennay Kekua in the background...

Hovenaut's picture

Another ND beatdown.....OSU style.


German Buckeye's picture

Mus just likes brunette lookers...can't blame him for that.

ARMYBUCK's picture

Such a huge Troy Smith fan.  Can you imagine Troy's arm with Braxtons feet? WOWZA!

okiebuck's picture

Sweet clips; now if Brax would just throw a nice long ball ala out America!!

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

BuckeyeChris's picture

Great memories... watched this game at the resort's bar on my honeymoon. Set the wife up with a spa appointment (genius!) and sat down at the bar next to a pretty young blonde woman. Soon, I noticed her "Happiness is Being Irish" t-shirt. I decided to break the silence with something cheesy yet clever. I got a roaring laugh and a smile (I'm sure, becuase I was married now and I didn't care anymore...hence mad skills).
Anyway, through ND's first drive she indicated that she too was married on New Year's Eve and that her uncle is/was the team doctor for ND. I asked what he had to say about the game. She said, "We're going to score 30 points, but if OSU figures out how much faster they are on the edge, OSU will score 100 points."  Well, fast-forward to that 1st Smith-to-Ginn bomb... she turned to me and said, "Well... looks like they figured it out. We're screwed."
Then her hubby showed up.  Then my wife.  No more words were spoken.
Good times...  

roscoe's picture

wasn't this the schematic advantage game for Charlie?


ARMYBUCK's picture

The only thing that comes close to a National Championship and beating Michigan for me is beating Notre Dame.  Awesome beat down!

farmerbuck's picture

Love those clips! Man,Troy could throw. Nothing better than a ND ass beatin!!

You have to hate losing more than you love winning! GO BUCKS!!

IBleedSandG's picture

No kidding, he threw that first TD pass for our 36 and Ginn caught it at like the 2. 62 yards in the air. Pretty impressive.


Firedup's picture

This game was always on the scoreboard the day before a home game last year.  I loved standing on the corner by Independence Hall and seeing us kick the crap out of ND.  

"Making the Great State of Ohio Proud!" UFM

IBleedSandG's picture

God, I loved that group of offensive players (Troy, Teddy, Santonio, Pittman, Gonzo). So fun to watch.
Lol, Brent said Teddy was gone before he got past ND's 40 on the option end-around play. Man, he could fly.
I'm usually not a big fan off Musberger, but his call of Pittman's clinching TD run was about as spot-on as you can be.