Friday, June 29

Pseudo-Live Blog of ‘02 Title Game

There are a couple of things that happen each year around mid-summer. One, I get that itch for college football because it’s been so long since I’ve seen a game so I’ll watch the Ohio St/Miami 2002 National Championship game. Second, I start to feel bad that I’ve been neglecting this blog with both OSU squads in the off-season and Andy is left holding the bag and forced to nitpick at Cleveland Indians radio commercials just for material. (J/K, those commercials annoy me too.) So I decided to kill two proverbial birds with one VHS tape, as I popped in my video of the game and thought I’d jot down my random thoughts as the game goes on. Enjoy!

Keith Jackson does the voice-over as he runs through both teams' incredible seasons, campaigns that played in drastically different ways. Miami was just invincible, steamrolling their way to 34 straight wins and berth in second consecutive Championship game. Ohio St, on the other hand, had a magical year with miraculous finish after miraculous finish, from the “Holy Buckeye!” win at Purdue, to the Will Allen goal line interception to seal the fate of that school up north (another phenomenal but less popular call by Mussberger, "Let's party, Columbus!"), to all the rest. At this point after just hearing his powerful voice, I’m thinking - I miss Keith Jackson. (This thought left me after roughly his 150th mistake in the second quarter.)

Coin Toss
Can anyone tell me why Cal Ripken is here? His presence would make for a good trivia question, I suppose. As would, “What was the first commercial?” (A Jay Leno spot for Tostitos, FYI)

15:00 1st, 0-0
12 men in the huddle call on Ohio St. Good start. This prompted Dan Fouts to say, “Lot of pressure in these big games for everybody, Keith.” Immediately, I thought of this.

13:09 1st, 0-0
Andy Groom boots a 59-net-yard punt, inducing two responses from me: (1) Boy I miss this guy, and (2) Fuck Ben Buchanan.

12:33 1st, 0-0
Miami’s first offensive play results in a Will Smith sack, where he just crushed Ken Dorsey. I wonder if he got paid for that? (Yes, that was both an OSU players getting paid and Saints “Bounty Program” joke. I’ll be here all night, folks.)

10:45 1st, 0-0
Cie Grant limps off the field with an apparent leg injury. Fouts says it’ll be a huge loss for the Buckeyes if he can’t return. (SPOILER ALERT: Luckily, he does.) On a side note, he’s replaced by little-known freshman A.J. Hawk.

8:04 1st, 0-0
Miami’s Antrel Rolle “allegedly” downs a punt inside the 1. The thing is, he was clearly in the end zone.

6:42 1st, 0-0
We’re welcomed with the first of what will be hundreds of Wild Card Playoff football promos for games the following day, when Michael Vick’s Falcons will take on Brett Favre’s Packers. The thing I find funny is their lead-in to this game - a Sixers/Mavs game that they are promoting just as heavily. Forget the NFL playoffs - we got Allen Iverson vs. Dirk Nowitzki!

6:29 1st, 0-0
Another three-and-out. Ouch.

4:10 1st, 7-0 Miami
On 3rd and 15, Dorsey somehow eludes a Donnie Nickey sack and Dan Fouts’ mouth approaching his penis to find Roscoe Parrish for the TD. The thing that always stands out with me about this was that Parrish, the team’s third wideout most known for his returning prowess, was my brother’s pick for getting the first score. What a guess.

3:48 1st, 7-0 Miami
Krenzel makes a total un-Krenzel move and just tosses a ball up in the air. To make matters worse, it’s intended for Chris Vance. Sean Taylor easily out-duels Vance for the INT. Things are not off to a good start.

0:40 1st, 7-0 Miami
Hey, a first down!

13:44 2nd, 7-0 Miami
That didn’t last long. At least Groom pounds another 60-yarder to pin Miami back.

11:37 2nd, 7-0 Miami
Dorsey throws a ball directly to Dustin Fox for the pick. He was the worst winningest quarterback ever.

9:48 2nd, 7-0 Miami
Maurice Clarett at this point has 7 carries for 0 yards. Either Mo “got his goose on” before the game started or that’s just what happens when you’re running against a front-seven consisting of Vince Wilfork, Jerome McDougle, William Joseph, D.J. Williams, and Jonathan Vilma.

9:00 2nd, 7-0 Miami
Aflac Trivia Question: “Who was the last National Championship team to have a freshman as their leading rusher?” I got this live, NBD.

7:58 2nd, 7-0 Miami
Ohio St fails a fake field goal attempt. Not very Tressel-esque, but I was OK with this at the time. They were the underdog trying to make a big play. Interesting side note #2 - Luke Fickell was the special teams coach on this team.

5:37 2nd, 7-0 Miami
Dorsey’s pass deflects off of Andre Johnson’s fingers and is picked off by Mike Doss. This one was more Johnson’s fault than Dorsey’s.

4:19 2nd, 7-0 Miami
Aflac answer - Herschel Walker for the 1980 Georgia Bulldogs.

2:31 2nd, 7-7
Tressel makes his second bold call of the game, this time electing to go for it on 4th and Goal from the 1. This one pays off, as Krenzel sneaks it in to tie the game.

2:15 2nd, 7-7
Kenny Peterson sacks Dorsey and forces a fumble, picked up by Darion Scott. It seems every big defensive player for the Bucks made at least one crucial play in this game. This marks the third consecutive Miami possession resulting in a turnover.

1:10 2nd, 14-7 Ohio St
Clarett gets his longest run of the game thus far, a 7-yard score. Suck it, Miami!

Halftime, 14-7 Ohio St
Warren Sapp is a total ass. What the hell is he wearing? Eddie George on the other hand, all class.

You’re damn right both of our cheerleaders made their kicks and Miami’s didn’t. Plus, our chick was way hotter.

11:02 3rd, 14-7 Ohio St
Chris Gamble beats his man like he was Chris Brown’s new girlfriend, but has to slow down for the ball as Krenzel can’t quite lead him into the end zone. Nonetheless, the 57-yard connection is good for the Buckeyes’ longest play of the season.

10:25 3rd, 14-7 Ohio St
On the very next play, we have quite possibly the play of the game. Sean Taylor picks off Krenzel for the second time on the evening in the end zone, and has a good return going. Clarett chases him down and with Taylor carrying the ball in the wrong hand is able to strip the ball and take back possession for OSU.

8:35 3rd, 17-7 Ohio St
The Bucks can't collect a first down after the Clarett play, but the effort still nets us three points as Mike Nugent knocks in a 44-yarder.

5:05 3rd, 17-7 Ohio St
Groom shanks a punt and sets up the ‘Canes with by far their best field position of the night at their own 45.

4:17 3rd, 17-7 Ohio St
Kellen Winslow makes a 25-yard catch, the start of a dominance that he will continue for the duration of this game.

2:11 3rd, 17-14 Ohio St
Willis McGahee finally breaks free after being stifled all game long, getting to the outside for a 9-yard TD run. This score sends McGahee past Ricky Williams for third all-time for touchdowns in a single season with 28. Almost as impressive a stat, this is only the fifth rushing TD given up by this Buckeye D all year.

11:53 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Doss jumps a swing pass intended for Johnson but can only muster a couple fingertips on it. He was inches away from possibly sealing this game.

11:39 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Will Allen just killed Willis McGahee. (Don’t watch if you’re squeamish.) After seeing this injury for about the 4,000th time, it still amazes me that he ever played football again, let alone have the good and lasting NFL career that he did.

11:26 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Todd Sievers misses a 52-yard FG attempt. Unfortunately, this is not the last we’ve seen of him.

10:30 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Vilma absolutely levels Krenzel. Again, Krenzel goes against everything he’s done all season and just tosses the ball into the air instead of taking the sack. Luckily, the ball lands in between four Hurricane defenders.

9:40 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Something that is very Krenzel-like: staying in the game after that hit left him with an apparent shoulder injury, and quickly connecting with Gamble for a 15-yard strike on 3rd and 9.

6:35 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Talk about uncharacteristic - Nugent misses a 42-yard attempt. Every time I watch this, I still expect him to make it even though I know the outcome. I’m just not used to seeing him miss.

5:54 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Three straight catches for Winslow and Miami is quickly across midfield.

5:08 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Roscoe Parrish has a huge catch and run but is sandwiched by Fox and Nickey and the ball pops loose. Will Allen recovers and the feeling begin to sets in that we may be National Champions.

3:39 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Facing a 3rd and 9, Krenzel pulls the ball down and runs for 9 yards and the conversion. Just unbelievable guts and toughness.

2:18 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Gamble seemingly makes a catch good for the first down on 3rd and 6, but the pass is called incomplete. Whenever people bring up the “bullshit” pass interference call in OT, I always go back to this play, but of course no one remembers it. First of all, Gamble was being held heavily, then he still makes the catch in bounds anyway. This should have sealed this game, which never should have gone to overtime anyway.

2:00 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Parrish rips off an incredible punt return, setting the ’Canes up to start their drive already in field goal range

0:36 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
Simon Fraser sacks Dorsey, forcing a 3rd and 14 from the 30.

0:08 4th, 17-14 Ohio St
After a quick screen pass to get a little closer, Miami inexplicably rushes the field goal team out and tries to set up before a freshman realizes what’s going on and calls a time out. Man, I wish they would have let Sievers rush in and kick it right there. I have no idea what Larry Coker was thinking.

0:00 4th, 17-17
After two OSU attempted “icing” timeouts, Todd Sievers’ kick is true. This season was so much fun, why stop now?

1st OT, 24-17 Miami
Winslow continues to plow the Buckeye D. After being held and drawing a flag, Kellen makes a fabulous catch, literally grabbing the ball off of the top of Will Allen’s helmet.

1st OT, 24-17 Miami
On 4th and 14, Michael Jenkins keeps the season alive with a 16-yard catch down the sideline, showing great awareness by keeping his feet in bounds. It was a poor game throwing for Krenzel and Jenkins was held to a mere two catches up until this point, but the two big time playmakers still come up with the huge play. Goosebumps.

1st OT, 24-17 Miami
“The Call.” We all know the play. Fourth down and Krenzel throws an incomplete pass attended for Gamble (a ball that absolutely should have been caught, by the way) and the Miami celebration begins. The only problem is Glenn Sharpe is called for pass interference. No, it was not an obvious call, and I’m not so blindly in love with Ohio St that I can’t admit it probably shouldn’t have been called. I will say that Sharpe did have one arm around Gamble’s waist, and as Jackson pointed out it looked like there could have been contact before the camera found the two players. Regardless, P.I. was called and the Bucks have it 1st and Goal at the 1.

1st OT, 24-24
Craig Krenzel gets his second rushing TD of the game on another QB sneak, sending the game to double overtime.

2nd OT, 31-24 Ohio St
Less theatrics from the Buckeyes on this scoring drive. After Krenzel picked up a 3rd and 1 with yet another sneak, it was Mo Clarett hitting paydirt for the lead.

2nd OT, 31-24 Ohio St
Matt Wilhelm just flattens Dorsey, forcing him out of the game and replaced by a guy named Daryl Crudup on a crucial 3rd and 11. Crudup hits FB Quadtrine Hill for a 7-yard gain. I’d be willing to bet it was the most important Crudup-Hill pass connection ever.

2nd OT, 31-24 Ohio St
Dorsey comes back in on 4th and 3 and gets the conversion by completing a pass to (who else?) Kellen Winslow. A facemask penalty gives the ‘Canes another five yards and sets up 1st and Goal.

2nd OT, 31-24 Ohio St
After an interference call on Gamble, Miami now has it 1st and Goal from the 2. The ensuing four plays looked like this:

Payton 1-yard run
Dorsey incomplete pass
Hill 0-yard run
Dorsey incomplete pass

On the final play, it was (Andy’s high school’s own) Cie Grant rushing untouched off the edge and getting in Dorsey’s grill immediately. Dorsey’s errant pass was closest to four different Buckeyes, with Donnie Nickey, making sure no more miracles would happen on the night, knocking it down.

Final 2OT, 31-24 Ohio St
This win was just so improbable, the monumental David and Goliath battle. Miami comes in with a roster loaded with future NFL Pro Bowlers, a 34-game winning streak, and as 19-point favorites. Sure, the haters will go back to The Call and the McGahee injury, and of course those were important events and the outcome would have been different had they not happened, but it just seemed that Ohio St was a team of destiny all year. I described it earlier as “magical,” I think that’s the best way to express it.



Andy said...

This was terrific - got me very excited for the upcoming Renegade Buckeyes season.

I wouldn't call my anti-"What If?" article "nitpicking" so much as "hating on," but admittedly it was a bit of a stretch for content.

What is that Fouts/Musberger clip from?

Interesting that Dorsey, Fraser, and R2 all ended up on the '06 and '07 Browns teams.

New Phila, baby - go Quakers! Must be something about knees from that town - both NP-raised FCF'ers have had knee surgeries and knee problems derailed Grant's pro career.

Wow, I had never heard about getting one's goose on. That's amazing.

Some pretty good names in this game, especially "Roscoe Parrish" and "Quadtrine Hill."

I watched this game at JHH's place in New Phila, supported by plenty of Tostitos and PBR. We had the right number of beers for a regulation game, but I have to say the OT forced us to raid his Dad's stash of Beast Light. You do what is necessary.

Go Bucks!

Figgs said...

That Fouts clip was from Waterboy, he said that a bunch of times during the Bourbon Bowl.

"Getting his goose on" was a direct quote from Mo.