Tressels, Fickells and Urbans,
Do you remember when you were 10 years old, playing football on the playground at recess and running off tackle with only a few seconds left in the game to seal a victory?
Neither do I...
At that age, football was meant to be spectacular. Every pass was a long bomb into the endzone. Sometimes we would intentionally try to make a one-hand grab if the catch was going to be too simple. Every touchdown resulted in coordinated group celebration; typically, a variation of the "Fun Bunch."
I know Wisky is coming to Ohio Stadium this weekend...and I know, traditionally, that has meant power football for Ohio State; controlling field position and waiting to pull out a close game. Nothing has been easy in this one...against Wisky, I think yardage and points should count double.
Add bad blood to the mix with midwest power football tradition and this match-up has been heated recently. Over the last decade or so, there have been some great OSU vs. Wisky moments:
2002: An injured Mo C carries the ball for over 160 yards at Satan's liar...and OSU edges Wisky on a quest for the national championship
2003: Robert Reynolds chokes Jim Sorgi; Lee Evans catches a long TD late in a dark, rainy night game in Satan's liar and OSU's consecutive win streak is snapped
2008: With a minute left in the game, Terrelle (as a true freshman) runs for a game-winning TD in Satan's Liar
2010: Wisky takes back the opening kickoff the length of the field and you know it's going to be a long night for the top-ranked Bucks in Satan's Liar
2011: Four TDs are scored in the final 5 minutes; but, Braxton (as a true freshman) hits Devin Smith deep in the end zone with a minute left for the game winner
2012: Shazier forces overtime when he causes a Wisky fumble at the goal line near the end of regulation; Carlos scores the final TD in overtime
There just has been something about this game...and this one on Saturday has all the elements to be even more spectacular than all of them combined.
One key ingredient is a rare night game in Ohio Stadium. The atmosphere should be electric. A primetime kickoff gives fans the opportunity to spend all day drinking about the game. (.,.and some fans will be drinking about the game at the "Eat Too Brutus" festivities. :) ) The night game two years ago during Braxton's freshman season was incredible. You could feel the excitement building all day...and you just had a sense Braxton was going to hit that long strike to win the game. When Devin caught that game winning bomb, I think someone in the stadium double-bounced me into the row in front of us. :)
Another key element that leads to the spectacular is the intrigue of Ohio State's offensive lineup...a very popular topic this week. How much will Braxton and Carlos play? Both Songbird and Jordan Hall have been outstanding in relief. Do they deserve to keep going? In my opinion, if Braxton doesn't answer the bell for this one, he may be headed for a medical redshirt this season. Personally, I think he will play...and play well. But, if for some reason he doesn't, does Songbird have it in him for another record-breaking performance? Kenny G already owns the record for longest TD pass and most TD passes in a game in Ohio State football history. Not too shabby for a kid headed to Prairie View before his OSU offer.
I'm enjoying the progression that is occurring with Ohio State football. Urban tells it like it is. For instance, Urban said when he arrived Kenny was not very good. So, he kicked Kenny off the team until Kenny proved that he wanted to put in the effort. It is not by luck, or by chance, that Kenny is playing well. He didn't suddenly happen upon a winning lottery ticket laying on the ground outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Urban says Songbird decided to be completely committed. If a player commits to this coaching staff, then luck has nothing to do with it anymore. By the time Saturday rolls around, Kenny just has to go out and play. The players say practices are so hard, the actual game is very easy in comparison.
I'm really interested in watching what happens with #34. Don't underestimate the return of Carlos...it is huge. In my opinion, Hyde is the best back in the Big Ten...and one of the best in the country. He could be pivotal in this game. I know Jordan has been very good carrying the load, but this is different...Hyde is big, bruising, nasty and determined. Late last season, Carlos put the team on his back; he could play a huge role this weekend coming back into the lineup.
You have to believe the Ohio State defense is well-prepared to face the strong Wisky rushing attack. The scout team back they've been facing over the last month is Carlos. I'm assuming Hyde probably gave the defensive line and linebackers a pretty good look. :)
Something is happening here. Over the last couple weeks, I'm beginning to peer into the future. This team is really fun to watch. They are finally getting into an offensive rhythm for Hurbanball; quick, crisp and very difficult to defend. Offensive possessions are not an opportunity to just run clock anymore. :)
So, it's here. This is it....finally. The schedule this year is really weak, but this is the first real test. The storylines are thick and involved.
I think this game, the trip to Evanston and the trip up north make or break the season...and determine where (I hope) the Buckeyes end up in December and January.
In the second year of Urban's system, I think the players that are in the game are well-prepared for any challenge. I would love to see Ohio State set a new tone in this clash that is not all about field position and managing the clock.
The team should be ready and the atmosphere should be eager. Now it's time to just go play...and have some fun.
I have a feeling this one is going to be spectacular.
Touchdowns: Hall, Philly, Hyde, Hyde,Devin Smith, Dontre, Heuerman
OSU 52 Wisky 49
Go Bucks! Beat Wisky! Jack Mewhort for Heisman!