In the 50-year period since Ohio State’s Rose Bowl win over the OJ Simpson-led #2 USC Trojans that resulted in a consensus national title for the Buckeyes, I’ve been fortunate to witness a lot of exciting moments.
Of course, I would have liked a few more nattys in that time period but, as a diehard Knicks fan as well, believe me I’m still grateful for the consistency of excellence the Ohio State football program has had over the years.
And, in reflecting on those many outstanding moments and plays, I have come to the conclusion that probably the single most important play in those 50 years was Craig Krenzel to Michael Jenkins on 4th and 14 against Miami in OT. Because without that 4th-down conversion, the game was over and the 2002 national title trophy would not be on display at Ohio State. (Yes, I realize the same thing could be said for the interference call shortly afterward but I view that more as a call or penalty than a play successfully generated by Ohio State.)
Earlier that season there was, of course, Holy Buckeye; but even if that pass to Michael Jenkins was off the mark, the Buckeyes still had two timeouts left against Purdue. And I know the odds would have been tough, but there still would have been a possibility in that game.
There were undoubtedly more exciting plays over the 50 years—ones where you literally jumped with joy and yelled or screamed, i.e., the final play/blitz against Miami, Zeke’s 85-yard TD run against Alabama, etc.
But for one play that meant absolutely the difference between game over/national championship dream over—and in a game that ultimately ended in a natty for Ohio State—was there anything of greater impact than that?
In any case, here’s a belated New Year’s toast to Craig Krenzel and Michael Jenkins.