Former Players Share Fresh Insights, Never-Before-Seen Footage and New Stories From Ohio State's 2003 National Championship Game

By Kevin Harrish on May 29, 2020 at 11:46 am
Remembering the natty.
Ohio State Athletics

Buckeye fans were treated to a delightful throwback on Thursday evening when ESPN re-aired Ohio State's 2003 Fiesta Bowl win over juggernaut Miami.

But it wasn't just the fans enjoying the rewatch, the Buckeyes who played in the game took the opportunity to share some of their thoughts, insights, inside information, never-before-seen footage and stories – and we were soaking it all up.

Dustin Fox presumably has enough behind-the-scenes footage to create a 30-for-30 by himself.

Anyone who knows about Jim Tressel knows that game this wasn't just won that day or on the practice field – it was won every day, with his extremely thorough preparation and life training.

Ben Hartsock gives us a little peek at what that looks like.

As for the game itself, Craig Krenzel was the Buckeyes' workhorse on offense. Ohio State had Maurice Clarrett, but it was Krenzel who came up huge on the ground the entire day.

There are a lot of heroes from this game, but there's one in particular who probably didn't get enough credit. When the Buckeye offense wasn't getting anything going, punter Andy Groom kept them in the field position battle.

And it wasn't just him, the punting game was all-hands-on-deck.

One of the most consistent refrains from the players who appeared in this game was that it was the hardest-hitting game they've ever played.

Exhibit A:

When we talk about heroes from this game, it's impossible not to bring up arguably the most versatile Buckeye player of all time. According to his teammates, Chris Gamble was a man of few words – but many, many talents.

For all the talk about Jim Tressel's conservativeness, he really rolled the dice on one particular play. And it... did not go well.

The Buckeyes were loaded with talent themselves, but they were playing against one of the most talented lineups of all time, and they knew it.

And Nick Mangold had to block him in short-yardage situations. As a true freshman.

Miami fans love to point out that the Hurricane running game was shot when Willis McGahee left the game, but they must not have watched the first half, because it wasn't doing so hot when he was in the game, either.

But even after the strong half, everyone knew there was still work to do.

There are almost too many iconic moments from this game to count, but Maurice Clarett stripping Sean Taylor probably takes the cake – it might have saved the game for the Buckeyes.

He didn't get his touchdown, and he ended up putting his body on the line a little later. 

Then, after all that, we had overtime – despite Dustin Fox's best efforts.

The biggest play of the game came on fourth down, but it's not the one that everyone talks about.

Then, of course, there was the very good call.

And then... 

And they did it their way...

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