Friday Fun #1

A new thing we’re going to be doing here at MotSaG is something we’re calling “Friday Fun” (at least until we come up with a better name), where we’ll propose a question and then the MotSaG bloggers will respond with their answers. You, as a reader, are also encouraged to add your answers in the comments (or, if you’re a blogger, with a link/trackback to the post). The first Friday Fun questions is:

What are your 3 top moments from the 2005 college football season?

It’s funny how Buckeye fans think alike. Here are the responses:

#3: First SDSU drive & the OSU defense from that point on
September 17th – A crowd of 105,000 people sat quietly. Millions more were staring at their TV sets, jaws hanging open at what had just transpired.

Just one week after a heartbreaking loss to Texas, the Buckeyes took the field against a cheesecake non-conference opponent, San Diego State. On the first play from scrimmage, Kevin O’Connell threw a quick sideline pass to wide receiver Brett Swain, who then ran untouched for an 80-yard TD.

Millions of people thinking the same thing: No way that just happened. I thought we were supposed to be good this year… Last week, Texas; now this on the very first play of the game? What is going on?

This was the bucket of cold water dumped on the sleeping Buckeye defense. Huddling back on the sideline, the anger over the TD motivated the team to shake off the cobwebs from the previous week’s defeat, and bonded them with one purpose: Destroy.Everyone.From.Now.On.

As you no doubt know by now, that’s exactly what happened. From that point on, the OSU defense was merciless. Poor SDSU, having gotten 80 yards on the very first play, ended up with 99 yards on their next 40 plays. They only had three first downs the entire game, eking out only 13 yards on the ground – making it the worst offensive performance ever in the history of SDSU football. And the Bucks weren’t done there… they continued to dominate, week in and week out, for the rest of the season, ending up as the toughest defense in the country.

And it all started in the seconds following this very play.

#2: UM loses to Texas at the Rose Bowl
January 1st – Because USC was playing for the national title, the Rose Bowl’s PAC-10 slot was left open. For the first time in history, another team would have a chance to step up against the Big Te(leve)n winner. Texas was chosen for the spot, and it was wonderful to see how enthusiastic they were for the opportunity. They took it seriously, played hard, played for respect, and won the game in a last second FG.

Oh, and Texas’ victory was UM’s defeat. (Or, was it rather that UM’s choke was Texas’ victory? Hmmm…)

#3: Even though OSU lost the game, the atmosphere in Ohio Stadium during the Texas game last year epitomizes college football. The loss aside, standing in the ‘Shoe for that game was one of my top moments last year.

#2: Top “money” performance of last year: I know A.J. Hawk is a beast and was going to go high in the draft no matter what, but check out this stat line:
12 tackles
3.5 tackles for loss
2 sacks
He had a “money” game in the Fiesta Bowl which in turn solidified his place in the top 5 in the NFL draft.

I know the offense got all those well deserved accolades in the Fiesta Bowl last year because of all the big plays, but after the first Notre Dame drive I think the defense, led by A.J., was just as dominant.

A.J. Hawk

el Kaiser
#3: I’m gonna echo Zeke’s sentiments on my #3 most memorable moment, the Texas game. I had the pleasure of accompanying Zeke to The Game and what a game it was. The atmosphere at that game was amazing. The ‘Shoe was the loudest I’ve ever heard it, the place was rocking and two heavy-weights were pounding each other, absorbing body shots and delivering right hooks. There were so many “what ifs?” that resulted from that game — what if Troy Smith played the whole game? What if Ryan Hamby catches that touchdown? What if OSU’s kick cover tackles the Texas kick returner in the endzone? What if?! In the end, we were left stunned, like someone had just punched us in the gut and then pushed us on the ground. It was an emotional roller coaster. I envy the Longhorn fans who get to experience it down in Austin this year. You guys are lucky.

#2: Mike Kudla catches Maroney from behind. You can see it happen here (and here’s a replay). The Minnesota game was still close in the opening minutes of the 3rd quarter when the Gophers went for it on 4th down. The play was an option to the right, straight at stand-out defensive end Kudla. Cupito didn’t sell the option long enough and pitched straight away to Maroney. He should have had an angle at the corner but Kudla motored him down and threw him to the ground, effectively ending Minnesota chances. OSU went on to win big, but that play has always stuck out to me.

Sylvester-Yon Rambo
Sylvester-Yon Rambo (SYR) is a man of few words. He’s another one of our bloggers that is currently in “lurk” mode, working on another preseason preview. When I asked him last night on IM for his top three, he was clear and concise:

SYR: Gonzo’s catch is #3
SYR: Gonzo’s catch is #2
SYR: … and Troy Smith eluding tacklers and throwing the ball to Gonzo is #1

He summed up what all of us feel was the greatest moment of the 2005 college football season. You know what we’re talking about:

Anthony Gonzalez


Everyone’s #1: Troy Smith’s final drive
November 19th – Down by three points against his biggest rival, pinned to his own 12-yard line, and with just enough time left for one last drive, Troy Smith jogged out to the field. In the most superb act of leadership since becoming the starting QB, Smith calmed everyone down, then took the reins and led an 88-yard, 12-play, nearly flawless touchdown drive.

Both Pittman and Smith rushed for first downs, and all three WRs had first-down catches as well – the most amazing being an acrobatic 27-yard catch by Gonzalez that put the Bucks on the 4-yard-line. Two plays later, Pittman scores the go-ahead touchdown, and the Big House becomes as quiet as a doormouse, as everyone futilely watches the last seconds tick away.

So those are our Top 3 Moments of the 2005 season. What are yours?

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