November 23, 2002

btalbert25's picture
November 22, 2012 at 10:44a

It's been ten years and I still remember the date of the most memorable game I never went to.  On November 22, 2002 my 21 year old drunk self decided at about 2am I'd be making the 100 mile drive to Columbus for The Game.  My beloved Buckeyes were 12-0 and a win assured them a trip to the Fiesta Bowl to take on the mighty Hurricanes.  I didn't have tickets or any money to get myself a ticket to The Game, but I was determined to at least take part in some tailgating and enjoy the festivities of the day.  So, going on about two hours of sleep I woke up on the floor of a friend's house, stopped to pick up a friend, and headed up 71 to get to campus.

We dropped our anchor (Our Coleman Cooler full of Silver Bullets) at the Game Day Set.  We decided with no tickets, this would be the ideal place for viewing the game.  We were right.  There were few people there at 9AM when we first got there, but come gametime it was packed full of people.  I don't know how many exactly, but we went from having plenty of room to no room on the grass and people were climbing trees to get a place to watch the game from.  It was quite a scene.  

I'm not really going to get into the details of the game because most of us saw it and to be quite honest, I don't remember a whole lot about the actual game.  It was close and I was really nervous the whole time, and from the feel in the air so was all of Columbus.  One silly detail of that day I remember were the Ohio State tins of altoids thrown out to us at the Game Day set.  I also remember idiots in Michigan garb standing up on something with a little elevation and acting like fools, then consequently getting pelted with beers and those tins of mints that everyone got.  

The amazing part of this day that I'll never forget was what happened when Will Allen caught the interception to clinch the win.  The pure joy I felt, the joy of everyone around me.  We were high fiving and bear hugging people we didn't know at all.  It was awesome. In the area around the set it was raining altoids and beer.  Several hundred people were shaking up their beers, cracking them and launching them in the air.  I know it doesn't sound like fun getting pelted with mints, tins, and empty beer cans while we're being showered with that beer, but to me it was like being in the locker room of a team after they win a world series and you see the champagne flying all over the place.  The most amazing thing after that INT though, was the sheer volume coming from the whole city really.  I once had a professor tell me the most incredible thing he's ever been a part of was sitting in a bar in Dakar Senegal when they beat their former colonizer France in a soccer game.  He said the whole city of 6 million people were all screaming at once.  I always though man that would be pretty neat.  Well I got a little taste of it that day.  The noise was like a wave.  You heard it come from the Shoe first and it just got closer and closer then hit the set and went on to Lane street.  It may not have been 6 million but I bet it was about 500,000 screaming at the same time.  I still get goosebumps thinking about it. 

Being the 10 year anniversary and this team going for 12-0 I thought it was appropriate to take this trip down memory lane.  The atmosphere of that day was amazing, and it was only my 2nd time on campus so maybe it was even more amazing to me because it was a pretty new feeling.  I'll never forget November 23, 2002, and it will always be one of my favorite memories from a sporting event.  


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Baroclinicity's picture

Great story.  I think we'd be hard pressed to find a Buckeye that didn't experience an elation that most of us had never felt before.
A ticket fell into my lap at the last minute at face value that year.  Friend of a friend couldn't go for some reason, so I found out on Thursday I would be going.  In retrospect, the fact that we won it all that year made the win even that much sweeter when it seemed like we kept dropping big games over the last decade.

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

btalbert25's picture

Yeah, to me that was the biggest Michigan Game because of what happened after and hindsight being what it was.  After the 2006 game (and hand I been on campus that day) that game may have been easily the best.  I'm most excited about this Saturday's game though to be honest.  Anyway, I'm sure other moments have been bigger, and others will, but the moment of that interception was amazing.  Few moments have made me that happy in sports. 

Frankly Scarlet's picture

I was in Columbus for the Game, but was unable to scalp a ticket for under $300. Ended up sneaking into the Blackwell where some guys from another Buckeye site had rented a banquet room and were showing it on the projection screen. 
After the game, my buddy and I were amazed at the mayhem we witnessed while scurrying back to our car for a victory cigar - people spraying beer from up in the trees, what seemed like 100,000 Buckeye fans loose on Lane, and so many flattened 12-pack boxes that we couldn't see cement beneath our feet. It was a sea of hugs and high-fives.  We heard about the dumpster fires while listening to the radio on the way home.
To make it sweeter, I live north of the border, and took great joy in listening to the TTUN post-mortem on WJR. Here's hoping for a repeat this Saturday. 

"Buclkle your chinstrap, we're gonna grind meat!" - Woody Hayes  

btalbert25's picture

Yeah we walked to Lane after the game.  I told my buddy we better get the hell out of there because it was going to go south.  Just can't put that many drunk, excited people together in one place, it never ends well!

tampa buckeye's picture

I was there at heinegate in 02' wasted drunk.  There were close to 200k outside the stadium(during the game) that day as far as you could see down Lane there were people.  That fourth quarter after we got the lead it seemed like we couldn't put them away.
 It was a wild time after the game much of it I don't recall, but I do remember going down on the field after the game and grabbing a big piece of the turf. Ah the memories ...Go Bucks!!

PWLafferty. TBDBITL. TRow.'s picture

My god, your story just made me break out an enormous smile...Sitting here grinning like an idiot and tearing up.  Thank you for sharing this, Go Bucks, Beat Michigan.

"I'm up there with Chris and Dave Pass, getting ready to broadcast that game, and that band came out of that tunnel, I was wiping tears out of my eyes and all the memories came back." ~Urban Meyer

Bucksfan's picture

It was a fraternity brother of mine's birthday that day.  We stuffed our pockets full of Coors Lights and drank them on the way to the stadium.  Normally, we would just cut through campus, but that day we took Lane to get the full effect.  Unreal atmosphere that day.  It was gray, cold, people were losing their freakin' minds.  It was the first time I had ever laid eyes on those winged helmets, and something inside of me snapped.  It was surreal, I literally turned into a mad man, weaving a tapestry of obscenity that still hangs high over the Olentangy.
Great, great day.  Enjoy being there this Saturday.  I'm jealous of anyone who's going to relive that experience!

BoFuquel's picture


I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.