The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

By Michael Citro on June 7, 2013 at 11:30a
58 Comments
Wait for it...

On Jan. 3, 2003, the Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Miami Hurricanes 31-24 in two overtimes. It was Ohio State’s first outright national championship since 1968—when I was two years old, living in New Jersey, and had no idea that something called “Buckeyes” existed or even what football was.

Winning a national championship has to be the greatest feeling one can experience in college sports. As a college football fan and an alumnus of Ohio State, Jan. 3, 2003 should have been one of the greatest nights of my life. It wasn’t, and it’s entirely my fault.

This is a very difficult story to write. It’s tough to even discuss in person. Further, it makes me look like the petulant child that I was, despite being a grown man in his late 30s at the time. Some of my friends know what I'm about to reveal, but many don’t. It’s not something I generally bring up.

(I really hate to say this next part.)

You see, I went to bed on Jan. 3, 2003, thinking the Buckeyes had lost.

This is the story of how that happened.

The 2002 Season

In 2002, while the Buckeyes were working their way through a nerve-wracking series of (mostly) very narrow wins, I was working in South Florida in the communications department of the NHL’s Florida Panthers.  Although my free time was limited and we often had games scheduled on Saturdays, I was still able to see much of Ohio State’s season (there was no BTN back then). I watched all of the televised OSU games that didn’t conflict with Panthers home games, and I was able to sneak in a few that did conflict by stealing off to the press box and turning on ESPN under the guise of “game prep.”

As usual, I reveled in each Buckeye victory. What was happily unusual that season was the dearth of defeats to agonize over. I watched Ohio State complete its undefeated season alone on the couch of my then-fiancee’s (now wife) parents’ house in Las Vegas. I was out there to meet her family for the first time, and it was their first exposure to the intensity of my feelings for Ohio State football. They accepted me anyway.

Krenzel thought it was over.It was supposed to be over.

Like other games against TTUN, I yelled at the television. I cheered the big plays. I probably cursed a few times, although I made an effort not to, and to at least avoid the really bad ones.

When it was over, my beloved Buckeyes were unbeaten and on their way to the Fiesta Bowl to play for a national title. I was giddy, and I’m sure my future in-laws thought I was out of my mind.

The Buildup

The weeks of anticipation before the game were excruciating for me. I was happy Ohio State was playing for a championship, but I was in South Florida. I was surrounded by perhaps the cockiest bunch of bandwagon fans in existence, plus a few legitimate Hurricanes fans, and some interested third parties without a dog in the fight—all of whom assured me that Ohio State was about to get annihilated by mighty Miami.

I tried to distract myself with work and my fiancee’s move from Vegas to come join me in Broward County, but it was futile. That game was looming, and it was looming very large. In hindsight, I should have been savoring every moment between Michigan and Miami.

One day in early December, my boss came into my office and looked up at the OSU flag hanging on my wall. One of our stats guys had Chris Spielman sign it during the football season and it was proudly on display. I never hid my passion for OSU sports. Everyone I worked with knew I went to Ohio State. In addition to the flag, I also had an OSU hockey poster on the wall and various Buckeye knickknacks on my desk, including an actual buckeye.

“You know your Buckeyes are going to get killed, right?” asked my boss, himself a Minnesota graduate and die-hard Golden Gophers fan. “Miami’s going to smoke Ohio State.”

“We’ll see,” I replied.

He laughed. “You really think Ohio State has a chance?”

I considered his question carefully before answering. “Hey, our defense can keep us in the game, so yeah; I do think we have a shot. Even if we lose, the game will be closer than people think.”

My reply was an honest one, and perhaps a bit defensive, but I had no idea of the ripple effect it would cause. Word quickly got out that I thought Ohio State could win the game against the heavily-favored local team. As often happens, the grapevine distorted the message and one innocent reply in my office somehow turned into me being the homer fan, boasting about how Ohio State was going to crush Miami. I have never been that guy, mostly for superstitious reasons, but people were saying it. I was an island of Buckeye in a sea of enemies.

I found the buildup to the game so unbearable that Jan. 3 was a sweet relief for me. I had to be up early the next morning to prepare for our game against the Canucks in Vancouver. Even though I wasn’t on the road with the team, it was my turn to prepare the morning press clips for the coaching staff and GM, and have them faxed to the team hotel. So I knew I couldn’t go out to a sports bar to see the game. I would watch the game on our bedroom TV, sans alcohol.

The Game

For big Ohio State games, I have always been a bundle of nerves. I was much worse back then than I am now, partly owing to the events of this story. But as the game unfolded, I found I was enjoying it. The Buckeyes were holding their own. The defense was playing great. The offense wasn’t doing much, but I thought someone like Mo Clarett, Chris Gamble or Michael Jenkins would eventually make a play.

Miami took the lead late in the first quarter and I started to grind my teeth a little. Ken Dorsey hit Roscoe Parrish for a 25-yard score. I felt like the game was on a knife edge at that point. For the Buckeyes to fall behind by more than one score would be inviting disaster, I thought. It could lead to a blowout. I wanted Ohio State to win, but if that failed, I at least wanted a close game. I knew that would at least shut up those who would otherwise never stop goading me over my “prediction.”

Ohio State’s defense stopped Miami after an arm punt by Craig Krenzel, marking a pivotal moment in that opening quarter. But the Buckeyes forced a punt and held the ball until the end of the period, trailing just 7-0 after one.

After an OSU punt, Dustin Fox intercepted Dorsey, setting his teammates up at the Miami 37.  One first down later, the Buckeyes lined up for a field goal. Punter/holder Andy Groom kept the ball but failed to pick up the first down. I was in agony. The Buckeyes could not move the football and had just left points on the field.

But the defense held again and Mike Doss returned a punt to the Miami 17, renewing my hope that points could indeed be scored. Krenzel’s keeper and Mike Nugent’s point after tied the game a few plays later. It was a ball game! A couple plays later, the Bucks were in business again when Darrion Scott fell on Dorsey’s fumble. Clarett scored from seven yards out and suddenly the Buckeyes had a 14-7 lead at the half.

I won’t bore you with all the well-known details from here on out. Miami trimmed the lead to three points in the third, but I felt pretty good. The defense was spectacular. I was by no means confident of the win but I felt like Jim Tressel’s bunch had figured out how to win the close games that year. Still, Miami was dangerous and my nerves persisted.

My Turning Point

The clock wound down in the fourth quarter. Every tick of the clock felt like an eternity. Ohio State found itself facing a critical third down with six yards to go. A conversion would all but guarantee the win. Technically, Miami could still get the ball back but with very little time. Krenzel dropped back, rolled right, found his man beyond the sticks and…incomplete? What?

I still can’t tell if Gamble caught the ball in bounds. I’ve paused the commemorative DVD hundreds of times and it still looks like a catch to me. But regardless of whether he caught the ball, Kelly Jennings committed an obvious hold on the play that should have resulted in a first down for Ohio State. As I watched from my South Florida bedroom I was livid. That penalty was obvious and directly in view of an official paid to make such calls. Ohio State had to punt with less than 2:30 remaining instead of having three more downs to kill clock and expend Miami's timeouts.

“How can we win a game like this?” I wondered. I got a familiar and very bad feeling in the pit of my stomach when Groom trotted onto the field to punt the ball back to Miami. Two missed tackles later, Parrish’s return of Groom’s kick had Miami in position for a game tying field goal. My cynicism had me convinced Ohio State had just lost the game.

The steel of my football pessimism was forged in the fires of close Rose Bowl losses to USC in 1975, 1980 and 1985; a decade of Michigan misery under John Cooper; and an adolescence of watching Dan Marino’s Dolphins come up short. I knew what was coming, and I turned to the woman who would become my wife four months later and said, “I am not watching these assholes celebrate if they win. This game should be over.”

A sack by Simon Fraser gave me a little hope, but two plays later Eric Sievers made a 40-yard field goal at the final gun, because of course he did.

At this point, I forgot to be hopeful. I forgot to be nervous. I was only angry—at what I perceived as a third-down catch and the uncalled obvious penalty that should have rendered it moot; on poor punt coverage tackling; and even on the failed fake field goal from the first half. I felt cheated and the game hadn’t even ended yet.

Miami got the ball first to start overtime and in five plays they had their first lead since the second quarter. I became even more incensed when Will Allen was flagged for pass interference on the go-ahead Kellen Winslow Jr. touchdown. What Allen did didn’t affect Winslow at all, whereas Jennings had fully stretched Gamble’s jersey with his late hold, preventing him from getting to Krenzel’s pass earlier. I perceived it as another slight.

“How can we win a game like this?” I wondered. "We had it. We should have been in victory formation."

Ohio State’s turn came. Krenzel began with a five-yard scramble and afterward looked exhausted. I wondered if he had anything left or if he, like me, thought the game had slipped away with the punt that should never have happened. A penalty, a sack, and an incompletion brought up fourth-and-14. I just knew it was over. Krenzel had completed five passes all night. However, Michael Jenkins shook free on fourth down and gave Ohio State new life. But all the while, that missed third-down penalty call was still bugging me.

Three plays later and Ohio State faced fourth down again. Miami twisted the knife in me by calling timeout, prolonging the agony. When the players returned to the field, Krenzel took the snap from the gun in a five-wide set and threw right for Gamble. There was a lot of contact and the ball fell incomplete. I waited a beat, saw no flag, turned off the game and threw my remote at the wall. The refs who missed that third down hold on Gamble had missed another call.

Or so I thought.

Looking back at the film repeatedly in the years since, I must have turned the TV off maybe one or two tenths of a second before official Terry Porter let his flag fly. That was it. That was the difference between me eventually weeping tears of joy and going to bed so angry that both my head and stomach hurt.

The Aftermath

I rolled over and began a long night of tossing and turning that my wife still talks about today. Thinking back later, in a way, my sleeplessness was aided and abetted by my friends and family.  No one—not my dad, my brother or any of my old college buddies—called me after the game. It was the weirdest part of that whole thing. Not one celebratory call came. It wouldn’t have made up for missing the end, but it would have saved me a restless night of torment. I saw that third down play over and over in my head; Gamble’s jersey stretched out from his shoulder to Jennings’ fist. How could they not see it? How could they not call it? How come no one called, looking to share the celebratory moment I had missed with a fellow Buckeye?

The next morning, I was on clips duty, so I stopped at the corner gas station to pick up the local newspapers. I walked in, reached for the stack of papers, and was greeted by a photo of a dejected Ken Dorsey, kneeling in defeat.

I looked at the headline ("In Battle of Kings, Ohio State One Yard Better"). I looked back at the photo. I read the first few paragraphs of the story. I looked at the picture again. Ohio State had won? Controversial pass interference call? Wait, what?

I paid for the newspapers and dialed home from the car. Jamie answered, groggy. It was early.

Dan Fouts is still pissed

“Hello?”

“Do we live in Bizarro world?” I asked.

“What are you talking about?” She was sleepy, disoriented.

“Ohio State won.”

"What?"

"The Buckeyes are national champions. They won last night." "Ohio State won."                   
"what?"

“How did that happen?”

“I’m looking at the paper now and it says Ohio State won. They threw a late flag on that last play. The game was still going and I’m an idiot and I MISSED IT!"

I went about my business the rest of the day but I was in shock. It was surreal. The whole world was telling me something that I knew couldn’t be true. Even the strange sense of relief I had at finding out the Buckeyes had won couldn’t exactly be called “joy” or “happiness,” and certainly not “elation”—words I would have associated with seeing Ohio State win a title.

The funny thing to me is that there is still a part of my ego keeping me sane by irrationally asserting that if I hadn’t turned off that television set, Terry Porter never would have thrown the flag. (You’re welcome, America.)

The worst thing about having missed the end of that game didn’t materialize for years.  Those back-to-back losses to Florida and LSU were probably much harder for me than many of you reading this now. If you’d seen (all of) the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, you at least got an opportunity to experience the pinnacle. I was more desperate than ever to see it happen in my lifetime (ok, in my lifetime after age two). In the buildup to both Florida and LSU, I had to listen to friends tell me repeatedly not to turn off the game early (HURRRR). I kind of wish I had.

The loss in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game was particularly cruel. Not only was it my favorite OSU team in many years, but I was also using it as a coping mechanism for the sudden death of my mother in an automobile accident just 23 days before the game. I more or less shelved all of my grief with the misguided notion that somehow Ohio State would win and make everything better. When that didn’t happen (in spectacular crash-and-burn fashion, I might add), all that pent-up grief finally broke through the emotional dam I’d constructed and almost killed me.

Cruel as that year was, it was almost as bad to dangle another carrot in front of me just a year later, only to give me the stick yet again.

So here I am, 46 years old and still waiting to actually see an Ohio State national championship. I’m very hopeful it will come, and that it will occur at the expense of the SEC’s best. It would be a lie to say I’ve made peace with what happened, but I’ve learned to live with it and can even laugh a little about it.

I’ve learned from it and have grown in a way that allows me to enjoy the games more than I used to. I still have emotional highs and lows, but I’m able to better keep things in perspective now. I’m not nearly as vocal or demonstrative watching the games from my recliner these days. I make an effort to try to savor the good plays and the wins and shrug off the bad plays and the losses—to enjoy the experience that is Buckeye football. And, most importantly, I’ve learned to reign in my anger.

I missed all of this.

I’m happy to say that I’m not that petulant 36-year-old anymore. I’ve been humbled in a way that is probably unique among sports fans and I’ve come out the other side. I’ve learned not to rage at the fickle finger of fate, God, or karma. I still get angry at officials, but only as much as I would anyone else doing a terrible job, like a bad waitress. I don’t take it personally anymore, because I’ve realized the fallacy of my own paranoiac version of solipsism. Bad refs aren’t out to screw me or Ohio State. They just suck.

Although I’ve moved on to a degree, it would be a lie to say I didn’t sometimes still kick myself for what I did.

Why am I putting all of this out there, for anyone to see? It's partly to serve as a cautionary tale to others, and maybe it's one last cathartic act to forever exorcize the demons of that night—a night I will both never forget and never truly get to remember.

58 Comments

Comments

osu07asu10's picture

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

Chief B1G Dump's picture

I wont inundate everyone with my tales...but that season was so unbelievably awesome for me personally.  I lived on 12th, student, student tix, south stands.  The roller coaster every week.  Watching us climb the rankings 1 week at a time.  Amazing upsets ahead of us and we'd slowly climb each week.  The grinding style of play that was heart attack city for almost 8 weeks in a row.  I played CFB on playstation as OSU so much I could tell you every play out of every set pre snap.  OT's, Holy Buckeye, Clarett's injury and crying, the TTUN game, walking home after storming the field to find my whole street on fire.  What a roller coaster.
The title game itself was a microcosm of the whole season.  The ups and downs.  Listening for a month plus about how Miami was going to run us out of the stadium.  Proving them wrong.  That team was the ultimate scrapper squad and just so awesome.  Still gives me chills.

Rfahncke's picture

I have this poster proudly displayed at home for any hater who dares to question the call!

"Have you earned your buckeye today?"

mh277907's picture

Wow, takes some brass to share this. It seems surreal. Almost feels like you lived a Shakespearean play.

buckeyebobcat

jestertcf's picture

Not even Mr. T can have this much pity. Man... I am so sorry.

The only conselation I can give you is I lived through the drive and the fumble

~Because we couldn't go for three~

Rapping Bum's picture

What a self-pwn.

Help is on the way.

nickma71's picture

You didn't see the flag? It flew right in front of the ABC camera that was live.

Michael Citro's picture

Yes, it flew across the screen about a tenth of a second or two after I switched off, a beat or two after the ball hit the turf.

avail31678's picture

On the "phantom" PI call...the defender actually gets Gamble's facemask a bit too.
And THANK YOU for bringing up the no-call PI on Gamble that ended our last drive in regulation.  OT should NEVER have happened.  So few people notice/remember this.  But the reply shows a blatant, blatant hold on us, an the ref was RIGHT there!

nickma71's picture

Glen Sharpe said it was interference. His complaint was "they did that all night, why call it now?". The game should have never gone to OT. If it was called straight, those alleged great athletes of Miami don't look so great.

niblick's picture

 
2 holds and a left knee CLEARLY in bounds.  BW3's almost had a 24oz beer chucked through their big screen that night.

buckeyefanatic's picture

I took my 7 year old to the Purdue game last year and he was having a hard time sitting through it all.  He had spilled a drink on himself and wanted to go.
When the INT was thrown in the 4th by Kenny G, people started fleeing the statium.  My son looked at me and said IT'S OVER?  CAN WE GO?  I said no not yet.  Some 7-year old fussing led us to leave with the masses.
BIGGEST. REGRET. EVER.

How many batteries does it take to beat Michigan football?   1AA
Want to beat Michigan? There's an App for that.

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

NEVER. LEAVE. EARLY.
EVER.

Menexenus's picture

Read my sig.  Live my sig.

Real fans stay for Carmen.

Oyster's picture

Somebody has to do this, so it may as well be me:
"Man, You are one pathetic loser. No offense."

I also need to add that because of that game, we have a 2nd child, which wasn't part of the master plan either. But that is another story altogether.

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

Made a bet with your wife, didn't you...
never bet against the Buckeyes.

Earle's picture

The way I read it, he came out ahead in more ways than one.

Italics are for emphasis.

jedkat's picture

you could also say he came out on top.
 
Thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the veal.

"I was tired of trying to work my way around the back, so I just ran him over"

~ Joey Bosa

albinomosquito's picture

I did the exact same thing.. but after sobbing quietly for a minute, I pulled myself together and turned the TV back on... Thank God...
 
I had a similar experience with the Purdue game this year.  I had to listen to the second half in my car as we were traveling to my parents' house.  I had to stop for gas right at the end of the 4th quarter, but I kept listening until all hope seemed lost, at which point I got out, slammed the door, and pumped my gas.  When I returned, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the game was still alive.  It's a wonder I didn't wreck my car when we hit overtime..

AngryWoody's picture

Michael, man....wow that sucks lol. I wouldn't worry too much Urbz is working on getting us another one very soon!

Our Honor Defend!

buckeye56's picture

Left the Purdue game early last year. Tickets were closed end C deck a section over from the visiting fans, and didn't want to deal with watching their fans celebrate. Made it as far as St. John Arena before turning around and running back in time to see all of overtime from AA deck.

Bigbutterbuckeye's picture

That fourth quarter incomplete call bothered me for a long time, especially when my Notre Dame loving, Ohio State hating brother started giving me crap about the game being fixed and OSU not deserving the title. What amazed me about that call was no one argued, the announcers didn't say anything, but I was in a bar full of people that were jumping up and down because we got a first down...but we didn't. 
 
And no matter how I felt after finding out I had missed the end, I would have turned around, went home and put on every bit of Buckeye paraphernalia that I had, then strutted around South Florida all day like I was going out to dot the I.

ESPN starting the SEC channel to concentrate on the SEC is like Baskin-Robbins starting a new store to concentrate on selling ice cream.

Hovenaut's picture

Doesn't make you any less of a fan, MC...its all good.

Except the maddening babble of friggin' Dan Fouts regarding the P.I. - worst ever.

Earle's picture

Fake Buckeye.
Sorry, had to say it (as if actually missing the victory and your subsequent self flagellation were not enough).  I don't really mean it.  I actually have a similar story about the Brown/Jets 2OT playoff game that I haven't been able to get off my chest yet.  My brother has turned off countless games early that he thought his teams were going to lose and missed a lot of great endings.
Props to you for confessing.  Hope it ends up being a cathartic experience for you.

Italics are for emphasis.

AngryWoody's picture

I called Urban up. He sent me this.

Our Honor Defend!

Bucksfan's picture

Man, that's awful!  I'm sure you weren't the only one out there who did the same thing, though. The game was over on that play.  Hell, the cannons were sounding and Miami was running onto the field.  Talk about walking into the Twilight Zone.
I can't tell you how many times I've switched off games on plays like that one.  None ended up the way that Fiesta Bowl did, of course, but still... can't blame you.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

That was one of the best days of my life! Living in Arizona - a bunch of friends flew out to attend the game and there were quite a few parties!  One of my closest friends called me up a month before the game to inform me she had acquired her corporate tickets to the game - GRATIS!!!  On the day of the game, I had an early lunch date with a girl I met on Match.com that afternoon because she was leaving town for 2 weeks and we wanted to meet in person before she bolted.  We were engaged 6 months later and just celebrated 9 years May 29th! 
Free tickets to the game - check
Party with a ton of friends from out of town - check
Meet your future wife on gameday - check
Buckeyes take down the U as 11 point underdogs in one of the greatest colleges games ever to win the NC - check
THAT was a great day!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

faux_maestro's picture

You should have played the lottery that day.

Inní mér syngur vitleysingur

Young_Turk's picture

I can empathize man.
I turned off the Cleveland Denver football game (the one known as "The Fumble").  Went for a 5 mile run.  Wasn't going to turn on the radio on the way back from the park.  About halfway home I relented only to listen as Cleveland was about to finish their furious comeback.  Ran into the house, turned the TV on about 4 plays before Earnest Byner was stripped of the ball just before he crossed the goal-line.  Thought I was a jinx.
Kind of unrelated, but not.  I had quit a contract about a week before 9-11.  I was addictively playing a game on my computer (not internet based) and wasn't taking calls.  Didn't find out about the twin towers till I finally listened to messages about 12 hours after the event.  I guess it was surreal regardless of whether you find out real-time or way later.
 
 
 
 

harleymanjax's picture

I feel your pain, I was living in South Florida at the time too. Fans of "The U" were so obnoxious!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

el duderino's picture

I can definitely sympathize with you in the unnecessary rage at watching sporting events. I think my fiancee is still not quite convinced that I'm sane, due to the inordinate amount of anger I have experienced over losses in the past (NC 07 & 08, Fiesta Bowl 09, etc). But I'm getting better.

And hearing your story helped me some, too, I think.

Also, just a quibble on details, but Mike Doss' return to the 17 in the 2nd quarter was an interception return, not a punt return.  To be fair, and if memory serves me, it was a wildly thrown ball by Dorsey (probably due to pressure from the Fresh Prince) and may have resembled a punt.

Thanks again for sharing!

"This is a very complicated case: a lot of ins, lot of outs, lot of what-have-yous."

OSUs12-OH's picture

That sucks Mike...I feel for you. 

"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

USMC11917's picture

I have this copied and saved on my computer for all of the defending I did for our VICTORY that night. The poster is good and here is more validation.

This of course leads to great irony of this story, being the controversial flag on Sharpe in the first overtime. It was the right call. It was just egregiously late, and Porter signaled both pass interference as well as defensive holding, further confusing the issue. The National Association of Sports Officials named it one of the 18 best calls in officiating history. Regardless, Miami fans scapegoat and misdirect their ire at Terry Porter. It’s easier than remembering details. They may not be able to fill half of a stadium, but they’re very loud, which is the defining characteristic of all angry, uninformed people.

In the age before coaches' challenges and referee reviews were included within the NCAA rules, the call was subsequently validated by the National Association of Sports Officials[9], and was also selected by Referee Magazine as one of the "Best 18 Calls of All Time."[10]
"The Call" was also discussed on the ESPN Classic show, The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame..., in an episode titled, "The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame the Referees for Miami losing the 2003 Fiesta Bowl."[11]

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I know I shouldn't, but I lol'd. It's similar to how my brother turned off the Purdue game last year(he said he made a family decision). The only difference is he found out 2 hours later on Facebook.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

stevebelliseeya's picture

I am crying for you Mike only because that (besides obvious obligatory family experiences) was the single most amazing experience I've had in my life. Which doesn't say much for my life but who cares....

"We are eternal. All this pain is an illusion." - Tool

Herr Schwanz's picture

I feel your pain, as I too missed the end of this game. My family and I were on our way back home (at the time) to Utah from the annual Christmas break visit to Ohio, but our flight from Atlanta to Salt Lake was delayed FOR THREE HOURS, ensuring that we would not be home in time to see the end of the game. I remember bouncing all around Atlanta's airport trying to find any place that was still open and playing the game, but one after another they all kept closing. When our last option finally shut down I sat at the gate with my head in my hands, livid at the entire state of Georgia. When our flight finally left, one of the stewards was nice enough to provide all of the updates for us, which is how I found out we'd won. We later learned that a family friend in Utah (a tsun grad, nonetheless) had taped the game for us, knowing we were coming home that day and fearing we wouldn't get to see it.

ellspar's picture

Last year, i was watching the Purdue game at my fiancee's apartment. After the Kenny G interception, i stormed out of the living room in rage, thinking we had just lost, and disappointed that we wouldn't get another shot. Her roommate at the time (a HUGE florida fan) kept watching, and told me we had 47 seconds to go (i thought Purdue would've picked up a first down), so luckily i came back in... if he hadn't have been there, though...

progolfer107's picture

I feel your pain, Browns vs Jets playoff game, we left. Listened to fantastic finish in car. I had to convince myself if we had stayed it wouldn't have happened.  
 
 
Then after a punt, Kosar threw another interception, this time to Jerry Holmes, which set up Freeman McNeil's 25-yard touchdown run to give his team a 20-10 lead with 4:14 left in regulation.

nickma71's picture

Mark Gastineau didn't have the intelligence to win anything meaningful in his life. He is just...stupid. He was all balls and no brains.

rdubs's picture

Hey you could have been a fan of the U and had the opposite thing happen.  

USMC11917's picture

You know, I am really curious. I'd like to see a poll asking how many of us here would root for TSUN if they were in the title game against the SEC, primarily Alabama? I just don't know if I could do it. Yes, a victory would bring a better reputation back to the B1G but then the smugness would follow. I don't know what is worse, allowing the SEC an 8th straight title or the gloating of Wolverine Sprouts as they bask in the light of their accomplishment? I say whats the difference in 7 straight wins or 8. I want tOSU to be the one to break it.

cplunk's picture

TSUN v Bama? I'm rooting for a meteor strike. Or pestilence.

Earle's picture

Plagues of Biblical proportions!

Italics are for emphasis.

Poison nuts's picture

Yep - I'll take a plague in that case as well.. 

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

If it's M*chigan, Notre Dame, or Texas, i'm "rooting" for Bama. I'm hoping for another blowout if Bama were to face ND or M*chigan.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

NorthernBuckeye's picture

I had this exact experience during the 1997 Rose Bowl -- after AZ State Plummer scored that last TD with just a little over a minute to go -- I turned it off in horrible dejection.  Hour later I called my brother-in-law in Maine and sadly said, "Wasn't that game a shame?"  and he said, "What do you mean, they won!!!"  No game classic re-runs in 1997 -- I had to wait years to actually SEE that game.  And unbelieveable as it was -- the NC was better -- and last year's Purdue game ranks right up there with the most thrilling finishes of all time.  Hope some day Guiton gets the proper recognition for what he did that day...............

NorthernBuckeye

gumtape's picture

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/story/6483719
Even Tressel Hater Dennis Dodd agreed with the call on the field. I can't think of a bigger case of butthurt than miami fans.

just another psycho, irrational, delusional Ohio St fan

Geraffi's picture

Great link. 
 

Miami of Brohio's picture

What I find myself thinking whenever I rewatch that game is "man, this game looks like its 25 years old..."
It amazes me the advances made in television since that time. I have no doubt that younger football fans who started watching right as HD started becoming the norm will look back at games that are only a year or two beyond that and think they are watching Baltimore Colts era games. Add in Keith Jackson on the call and it gives that classic game an even more dusty classic feel.
Though to speak on the article, If I was watching it by myself I probably would have pulled a Michael and switched it immediately after the incomplete pass too. I was half a second away from going Angry German Kid before I saw the flag.

Oldschoolbuck's picture

Not sure my emotional/mental health will ever be the same after that game... Thank you for mentioning that mugging of Gambrel that went uncalled; I was screaming at the top of my lungs. Then, utter dejection when the pass was incomplete, to euphoria and tears of joy!
You,sir, are an honest and brave man!

Poison nuts's picture

I did something very similar to you Michael although not quite as bad as missing the end of the game...I was never so nervous to watch a football game. I paced & paced & watched some & paced. When that 4th down play happened in OT, I waited a second, didn't see the flag, ran out of the bar & took a walk around the block. Fuming. Cussing. Plain PISSED. I had waited a lifetime for this & my Buckeyes had let it slip away. I got back to the bar where my wife & some friends were watching with me & everyone was still at the TV. There was only one TV & I didn't want to watch. I was cursing, asked the bartender for another & went off to a corner to sulk. My wife came up & said "what are you doing, it's not over." "What are you talking about" I said. She told me about the late flag & that it was looking like OSU was going to win. I was shocked by all this & went over to the TV where I caught the last play of the game. Elation would not begin to describe how I felt after. An emotional roller coaster would begin to describe how I felt during...

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

hetuck's picture

Everyone knows Terry Porter's name for making the correct call, but the incompetent side judge remains anonymous. Not only did he miss the blatant holds and inbounds reception on third down, he missed the facemask grab at the line of scrimmage by Sharpe three yards in front of him. Porter came from the back of the endzone. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

jestertcf's picture

From what I found, this is the best break down of the infamous play.

~Because we couldn't go for three~

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

An absolute great game.  Had all of the elements that makes a game a great one.  We were huge underdogs.  The Defense played outstanding.  Miami was very overconfident, but soon found out that the Bucks came to play.  It was definitely an emotional game.  Still brings back great memories thinking about it!
Go Bucks!!

AhhYes's picture

Oh man. This is the worst. 
But don't feel too badly, my sister and her boyfriend at the time did precisely the same thing, so I'm sure you're not alone. 
I was on campus that night and it remains one of my happiest memories. 
At the time, there had been a few "riots" on campus that were mostly the police shooting tear gas at very, very large parties that flooded out into the streets. Once the game was over and we were running towards High Street, I thought to myself: "This could get bad tonight."
But the real mood was so much more awesome that I could have anticipated. It wasn't quiet, it was serene. People were laughing and shouting and expressing themselves (loudly), but it wasn't aggressive in any way. Cars were driving down High at a leisurely pace, probably just soaking it all in. Walking on the sidewalk, I gave high-fives to several passengers as they cruised by. 
We walked up and down High Street a few times that night, and everywhere was shock, pride, camaraderie, and serene joy. It was glorious.

New alum's picture

I can understand the desire to look away. I used to always marvel at seeing the losing team of a baseball playoff series remain in their dugout and watch intently as the opposing team celebrated on the field. Searing it into their memory for future motivation? Perhaps, but what does a fan have to gain from watching?
Also reminds me of how deeply we can feel over the teams we truly care about. I have been a "fan" of many teams over the years, but only a few can truly keep up at night, rehashing the details of a loss, and every other painful moment the team has suffered during my lifetime. Great piece.
Plus, it did take an eternity for that flag to come out...

Ashtabula's picture

That Browns-Jet game was my first NFL game...I watched the thousands of fans exit as a young boy and begged my dad to stay.  We stayed (to avoid the traffic) and saw thousand of fans try to re-enter the stadium.  Message sent, message received.  I have lost hours of sleep over the years refusing to miss the miraculous comebacks.