Hey y’all due to George Washington and a number of other founding fathers doing their ending tyranny thing we’ll be running a light story schedule this Thursday. SO light in fact there wont be any room for your weekly Turning Points (collective shudder from the crowd).
But fear not loyal 11W reader, we’ve moved this week’s edition to Monday, because...we care. So let’s jump right in.
The 2005 Buckeyes were an impressive group coming into the season with a number of veteran players including A.J. Hawk, Donte Whitner, Bobby Carpenter, Santonio Holmes, Nick Mangold, Ashton Youboty, Anthony Schlegel and Nate Salley.
The team also returned an impressive duo from Glenville in sophomore WR, Tedd Gin and Junior QB, Troy Smith.
The two burst onto the scene the year prior, Ginn with his impressive speed and Smith with his ability to lead the team to wins in four out of their last 5 games including an upset over #7 Michigan.
Anticipation was reaching a fever pitch in Columbus as the team would face one of their toughest tests in just the second game of the season: a matchup against Vince Young’s Texas.
The Buckeyes would go on to lose that contest in a 25-22 heavyweight bout, bringing their record to 1-1 on the season.
From there, the squad would defeat San Diego State and Iowa before dropping a second game to Joe Pa’s Nittany Lions (powered by Michael Robinson and Derrick Williams).
Five games into the season, the team sat at 3-2, hardly the start many OSU fans had hoped for.
Fortunately for Buckeye Nation, Troy Smith decided to kick things into another gear, leading the Scarlet and Gray to five wins in their next five games while tallying 216 yards through the air on average and accounting for 15 TDs (10 passing 5 rushing).
The impressive run moved the Buckeyes up to 8-2 on the season, cueing up a game in Ann Arbor for a share of the B1G championship.
All eyes would be on Smith, whose 386 total yards (241 Passing, 145 Rushing) and 3 TDs in last year’s contest elevated him to hero status in The Game.
Setting The Stage
The Buckeyes received the ball and Smith picked up right where he left off, driving the ball 80 yards for a 4-yard TD run. Kicker Josh Huston would miss the extra point making it 6-0 Troy Smith.
Chad Henne’s Wolverines used the following drive to take it all the way to the Buckeye 28, but a failed fourth down conversion rendered the sequence all for naught.
The Scarlet and Gray would once again put together a sustained drive that ran into the second quarter, ending with a Huston 47-yard field goal to make it 9-0 Buckeyes.
On TTUN’s next drive Lloyd Carr dialed up a heavy dose of Mike Hart, handing the ball to his tailback on four of the team’s next six plays. Unfortunately for Carr, Hart did what he always did against OSU and came up short, forcing the Wolverines to punt it away.
On the Buckeye’s very next play, HB, Maurice Wells fumbled the ball at the OSU 36 and it was recovered by Michigan. The Wolverines capitalized on the miscue and punched it into the endzone via a Henne to WR, Jason Avant quick strike. Making it 9-7 Buckeyes.
On the Scarlet and Gray’s next drive they would once again rely on the leg of Josh Huston who was able to put it through from 25 yards to make it 12-7 at the half.
Coming out in the third, the two teams would trade possessions until TTUN’s Garrett Rivas was able to knock it through the uprights from 27 yards to narrow the lead at 12-10.
Once again the two teams would trade punts before Michigan’s Kevin Grady found pay-dirt from the 2-yard line to give the
Maize Sun and Blue their first lead of the game at 16-12. Carr then dialed up a successful two-point conversion to make it 18-12 to end the third quarter.
On the Buckeyes next possession Josh Huston would miss a 46-yard FG, giving the ball back to the Wolverines. Henne and company then marched down to the OSU two-yard line and hit a chip-shot kick. The score made it 21-12 Michigan and palms began to sweat in Columbus.
The score must have awoken something in Troy because he came out swinging. Over the course of the next five plays he hit Anthony Gonzalez for 27 yards, rushed for 14 yards, then threw a 26-yard strike to Santonio Holmes bringing the Bucks within two at 21-19.
OSU forced a punt on TTUN’s next possession and with roughly four minutes to go, the Buckeyes got the ball at their own 12.
With time winding down, Troy took to the air connecting on six of seven throws, working the Buckeyes down to the Michigan 31. With 47 seconds left on the clock, OSU called a timeout.
Smart money says what happened next is NOT what Jimmy T. drew up in the huddle, but my, oh, my was it ever a…
Turning Point: The Catch
You can’t teach that. Just pure instinct taking over. Couple it with an unreal ladder climb by Gonzalez and you have the thing Turning Points are made of.
Just two plays later, RB, Antonio Pittman would take it in for a score making it 25-21.
With just 24 seconds remaining and 80 yards to cover, Henne ran out of time.
The win gave the Buckeyes a share of the B1G championship and propelled them to the Fiesta Bowl where they ransacked Charlie Weis’ Irish, ultimately setting the table for National Championship (and Heisman) talk heading into the 2006 season.
Until next week, Turning Points…out.