Turning Points: The Rise of Eddie

By Jeff Beck on May 2, 2013 at 4:40p
Turning Points: A Football Series

With the long and winding offseason ahead of us (and with the Stumbler retired), it was high time to launch a new weekly column. After weeks of deliberation in an undisclosed location, 11W's finest minds spawned, “Turning Points.” 

What is Turning Points? In essence it will be a look back at one game each week and the pivotal moment in which that contest turned its gaze toward the Buckeyes and whispered, “I’m yours.” The perfect turning point is one in which NOTHING is going right for the Scarlet and Gray until a single play serves as the catalyst for a massive change of fortune. However, some turning points are a little less dramatic, requiring a series of plays to turn the tide in the Buckeyes’ favor.

So, now that we’re all up to speed, let’s kick this series off with the 1994 contest against Michigan State.

Setting the Scene


The 1994 Buckeyes were coming off a 10-1-1 season [shakes fist in the direction of Ann Arbor] that saw them grab a share of the B1G title with the Wisconsin Badgers who they played to a tie during the regular season. Unfortunately due to the conference’s tiebreaker rules, Wisconsin was able to go bowling in Pasadena instead of the Bucks. 

Even with the outstanding 1993 season, expectations were tempered in Columbus. Graduation and the draft left the team with six spots to fill on defense and seven positions to fill on offense including one very large hole left by No. 1 overall draft pick, Dan “Big Daddy” Wilkinson.

Still, the team returned a solid nucleus including second-year starting QB Bobby Hoying, All-American OT Korey Stringer, WR Joey Galloway, DE Mike Vrabel, Nose Guard Luke Fickell, and LB Greg Bellisari.

The Buckeyes opened their season a disappointing 4-2 with losses to Washington and Illinois – Ohio State's sixth loss to the Illini is seven years. 

Even with the less-than-stellar record, the Buckeyes were learning some things about their new starters, and players like Orlando Pace, Rickey Dudley and Shawn Springs were quickly making an impact.

Included in that list was a junior who went by the name of Eddie George. In 1994 the RB was finally getting his first starts as a Buckeye.

Coming into the contest against Michigan State, George had rushed for 100 yards five consecutive times and tallied a 200+ yard game against the Wildcats of Northwestern.

The Buckeyes would need more than that from Eddie against the Spartans.

Turning Point: Eddie's 76

Coming off of their loss to Illinois, the Buckeyes came out sluggish against Michigan State and found themselves down, 7-3, at the half.

Needing something to go their way, the Scarlet and Gray turned to George, who had helped them out of a similar jam against Northwestern.

Down 9-0 against the Wildcats at intermission, the Buckeyes leaned heavily on #27. He responded to the tune of 206 yards, helping the Scarlet and Gray rack up 17 points in the third quarter to win the game, 17-15.

Two weeks later, Eddie would be the rock this team would lean on once again. Straight out of the locker room he ran with a purpose. On OSU’s third play from scrimmage (a 3rd and 3 at the Buckeye 24) George rolled to the right on a Hoying option, received the pitch and took it 76 yards to pay dirt. George did most of the heavy lifting, but benefited from a huge Juan Porter block at midfield as well.


Chris Spielman, then a Detroit Lion, gave the Buckeyes a pep talk at their East Lansing hotel Friday night before the game and spent Saturday afternoon pacing the sideline at Spartan Stadium.

The score would give the Buckeyes their first lead of the game. The 76-yard scamper would prove to be the longest play from scrimmage in 1994, but more importantly, it served as the turning point in the contest.

Invigorated by the swing in momentum, the Buckeye defense would not give up another point for the remainder of the game.

OSU wasn’t done scoring, however. They would put two more TDs on the board via a Hoying 10-yard scramble and a 35-yard interception return by Bellisari.

George finished the game with 219 yards, making him the only player in Buckeye history at the time with more than 200 yards twice in the same season (the record was later tied by Chris Wells in 2007).

The 219-yard game (1 TD and 7.6 YPC) is still good enough for 11th on the Buckeyes' all-time single game rushing list.

In addition, the win against that other team up north must have inspired the Buckeyes. Five weeks later they went on to vanquish the Wolverines for the first time in John Cooper’s career.

1994: a good year for Michigan thumping.

Until next week, Turning Points...out.


Comments Show All Comments

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

Every time I hear Eddie's name I think of this photo ..... big fan

Yeti's have feelings too.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Love that photo!  I got it hanging on my wall. 
Go Bucks!

BME_Buckeye's picture

That's weird. Earlier today I was watching video from ourhonordefend on Eddie dominating Notre Dame in 95'. What a great picture! 

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


JozyMozy's picture

Honest to God, I am LOVING all of the recent Eddie content. My all-time favorite football player.
While I admire Kurt Warner, I'll never forgive those St. Louis Rams. 

Hovenaut's picture

Like to think if Ed had played in Jim Bollman's offense we'd be referring to things differently:

Run Ed

I am the Walrus, and an offensive genius

Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George (stays intact)....who led the Buckeyes to a second (and third?) national championship in the 00's, with domination over several SEC teams along the way

I am home, by the way, and en route to drunk (3 day weekend, hockey).

painterlad's picture

When I read about a 35 yard interception return by Belisari, I instantly thought of Steve.


To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

BuckeyeChief's picture

Great minds think alike;  I remember a LTjg on my second ship that grew up around them, and I broke the bad news about his DUI in 2001 to him.

"2014 National Champions...deal with it!!!"

bodast67's picture

hey Chief, may I ask what your rate is/was ?
Signed BM2




     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

ohiowhitesnake's picture

Eddie, Eddie, Eddie!

I finally got a set of Gold Pants!

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Eddie is one of the top all time Buckeyes!!  Love it!
Go Bucks!!

Young_Turk's picture

Somewhere underneath my kegger is a six-pack like that waiting to be unleashed. Anyway, may I humbly suggest theme music for this series? Big Twist and the Mello Fellows singing "Turning Point".



WC Buckeye's picture

That team was so ridiculously loaded, but Eddie was my favorite. Watching what he did to Sparty that day (and to Illinois as payback the following year) are two of my favorite memories of his great career.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

Knarcisi's picture

I was at both Illinois games ... Eddie's 2 fumbles that cost us the game ... And 2 years later for 314 and hello Heisman. 

nickma71's picture

Now that is a good looking uniform. Unlike the other post.