The Stumbler: Volume Seven - Combat of the Pro Variety

By Jeff Beck on January 31, 2013 at 12:00p
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Oh, hi there. Welcome back to The Stumbler. This column is your weekly Internet investigator, scouring the web (well mostly eBay) for “for-sale” bits of Buckeye bodaciousness. Once found, it seeks to tell stories about said bits that are equal parts educational and interesting. You with me? Cool. You really with me? Send me something you found and I might write about it.

Let’s get to it.

The item: A Nike Pro Combat Helmet Brought To You By Riddell

The year was 2009, the month was November and this Buckeye squad was doing what Jim Tressel-led teams did best during the tail end of the season: they were finishing.

Heading into the final game on the slate, emotions were running high. Just a week before, the team had clinched their fifth straight B1G championship against Iowa off the foot of Devin Barclay. Additionally, the overtime dramatics earned the Scarlet and Gray a trip to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl, Tressel’s first.

Even with their BCS future solidified, one thing stood between the 2009 Buckeyes and satisfaction: Michigan.

The November 21 contest would pit two teams against each other who were headed down very different paths.

The Buckeyes were 10-2 (7-1 in conference), had dominated the B1G for half a decade and had dealt consecutive Ls to the Wolverines for just as long.

The Maize and Blue were 5-7 (1-7 in conference) with Michigan faithful beginning to question the hiring of head coach Rich Rodriguez and the system he was trying to get off the ground in Ann Arbor.

Needless to say, Ohio State was heavily favored and a Buckeye win would come as no surprise to fans of either squad. 

A black number affairThe last thing Forcier saw before the darkness

However, what would be unexpected is how the Scarlet and Gray would look sporting a throwback version of the unis worn by the 1954 national champion Buckeye team. 

An integral part of that uniform was this helmet, which featured a thick scarlet center stripe and bold black numbers on both sides.

This particular replica (Nike brought to you by Riddell) features the number of defensive lineman Thaddeus Gibson. Gibson was a mountain of a man who struck fear into the heart of many an opposing player. I mean, just look at this.

He would go on to finish the 2009 season with second-team All-Big Ten honors, 13 tackles for loss, four sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. But before all of that, he had some Michigan business to take care of. 

Which brings us to:

The Clips: We Miss You Rich Rod

If that helmet wasn’t a replica, you might still see some blue paint from this hit. The Buckeye defense opened up scoring in the contest after Cameron Heyward recovered a Tate Forcier fumble in the end zone. Making sure Forcier wouldn’t be the first one picking up the pigskin was our man Gibson.

A lack of offense from either side and a missed chip shot 24-yard FG by Michigan kept the score at 7-0 Buckeyes to end the first.

The Maize and Blue finally got on the board in the middle of the second with a 46-yard FG, but on the ensuing possession the Buckeyes answered right back with six.

A Terrelle Pryor interception in the beginning of the third led to a short field for UM. Forcier and company were able to march 49 yards to paydirt to make it 14-10. But, once again, the Buckeyes were able to answer with a score.

Nice floater TP.

The touchdown would end the scoring on the day, but #90 would surface one last time to put the game on ice with this little beauty.

Did you see the ups on young Thaddeus? My goodness. The interception would be Forcier’s fifth turnover on the day, sealing Michigan’s fate.

The win marked the sixth victory in a row against dem boys up North, was the Buckeyes' third straight win in Ann Arbor and afforded them the B1G title outright.

Not a bad day in a godforsaken place.

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

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