Turning Points, Volume Nine: Gamble To The House

By Jeff Beck on June 27, 2013 at 4:15p
As The Game Turns

Every season has a number of Turning Points, but arguably no season saw more than 2002.

With games like this, this and of course this, at season’s end every Buckeye fan needed a pacemaker.

By the time the Purdue win rolled around (the 11th on the season) there was a feeling this team was a team of destiny. But before Holy Buckeye there was simply Holy S#%& .

The 2002 squad nearly dropped the ball against Cincinnati, played Northwestern to a closer than it looked 27-16 win, then almost saw their 8-0 season turn to 7-1 in Madison against the unranked Badgers.

All things considered, getting to their ninth game of the season undefeated was something of a miracle.

The way the year was going, Buckeye Nation was in “expect anything” mode as the fourth-ranked Scarlet and Gray suited up to face the 17th ranked Nittany Lions.

Setting The Stage

The Buckeyes received the ball and went to their bread and butter: pound the ball inside with Maurice Clarett.

OSU went to Clarett four times on the first six plays from scrimmage. Unfortunately on that sixth play Maurice suffered a left shoulder stinger that took him out of the game indefinitely.

Even without their star freshman RB, the Buckeyes continued to work the running game, handing the ball to Lydell Ross on four of the next nine plays.

The Bucks were able to move the ball all the way down to the PSU 1-yard line, but on fourth down QB Craig Krenzel fumbled the pigskin and it was returned 57 yards by CB Anwar Phillips.

Just two plays later, LB AJ Hawk got the ball back on an interception at the OSU 40, but the Buckeyes weren’t able to capitalize on the TO and were forced to give it back via an Andy Groom punt.

On Penn State’s next possession, Joe Pa’s Lions leaned heavily on RB, Larry Johnson, who eventually found pay-dirt from the OSU 5-yard line, making it  7-0 Penn State.

The touchdown lead would stand as the two teams traded possessions until roughly 6 minutes into the second quarter when Mike Nugent was able to knock through a FG to narrow the lead to four.
From there the Buckeyes would ride the paltry three points into the locker room down 7-3 at the half.

Penn State received the ball to start the second, and in just two plays fans witnessed…

The Turning Point: Gamble's Gamble Pays Off

QB Zack Mills rolled to his left and let the ball fly. This was the result:

Chris Gamble came into the game as Ohio State’s second-leading receiver, but was called upon to play CB due to an inexperienced secondary. The two-way start made him the first Buckeye since Paul Warfield in 1963 to start on both sides of the ball for the Scarlet and Gray

Despite playing only five snaps on defense, Gamble changed the game from the CB position. The pick made it 10-7 Buckeyes and that was all the breathing room the Silver Bullets needed. Through the next two quarters, the defense didn’t give up a point, culminating in a 13-7 win.

The pick was a clear Turning Point, and Gamble had this to say after the game:

"It feels good to get my name chanted by the crowd."

You earned it No. 7.

Until next week, Turning Points…out.


Comments Show All Comments

Hovenaut's picture

Have Penn State fans in my extended family (all in-laws), they really despise the term pick six. Gamble's theft and score was by far the best of the bunch, what a tough game that was....so 2002.

Watching that clip never gets old, just knew he was going to take it to the house.

Stinson's picture

lol There have been so many pick sixes against PSU. Seemingly every time we play them:
Chris Gamble, 2002
Tyler Everett, 2004
Antonio Smith, 2006
Devon Torrence, 2010
Travis Howard, 2010
Ryan Shazier 2012
...to name a few
I remember leaning over to my buddy Tim at the Penn State game in 2010 and I said, "Wait until we get this pick 6." 
"What?" he said with a confused face. "How do you know we're going to get a pick 6?"
"Just watch," I told him.

And just at about that time...

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." -Wayne Woodrow Hayes

Powers's picture

don't forget Malcolm Jenkins also had a pick 6 in the 2006 game.

Baroclinicity's picture

This has become my favorite segment, mainly because it's drumming up great memories.  Thanks, Jeff!

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

Ken-Yon Rambo's picture

PSU = Pick Six University
You can also add to the list:
Malcolm Jenkins, 2006
Malcolm Jenkins, 2007

How firm they friendship...

Oldschoolbuck's picture

I think that season took 5 years off my life! The end result was glorious, of course, but oi vey!
Thanks for the reminder that Gamble was the first 2 way receiver/d-back since the great Paul Warfield (his trade to the Dolphins was what led me to start rooting for them in the early 70s - a burner/playmaker UFM would have loved)!

Denny's picture

Loudest I've ever heard the Shoe. I was in the south stands for that, and couldn't believe he actually made it to the end zone. Still can't.


Wilkins78's picture

Gamble was also the guy who chased down Phillips to prevent a touchdown after Krenzel's fumble.

unholy bucknut's picture

Gamble was a rare breed of football player. I think he could of succeeded at about any position outside the trenches.

BuckeyeLurker0509's picture

Probably my favorite Buckeye only because I got to know him personally in a history class.
and because he's TOSU's best corner ever (lofty claim, but I'd take Chris over Springs,Clements and Winfield) He was that good, and we have been THAT blessed at the DB position.

BeijingBucks's picture

Man that shoe is rockin!!
We gonna be louder this year?!

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

buckskin's picture

He made that return look so easy.

pjtobin's picture

I love everything about that short clip. Except for that douchebag announcers scUM reference. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad.