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When I was asked to write about my top three events in Ohio State history, my first thought was “How am I going to narrow this down to three?” To make my choices a little easier, I decided to only pick from events that have happened in my lifetime (since 1990). I know I am leaving out a great deal of important events by doing this, but it was the only way I thought would be fair and allow me to write about games I have witnessed and not just read about. Now on to the countdown…
No. 3: Ohio State 28 – Troy 10, Sept. 20, 2008
If you don’t remember much from this game, I can’t blame you. Terrelle Pryor’s first start for the Buckeyes ended with him throwing four touchdown passes on just 16 attempts. At the time, it was the smallest crowd in Ohio Stadium in six years with just 102,989 in attendance.
This game being Pryor’s first start is not why I have this game on my list. This was the first game I had the privilege of attending in person at Ohio Stadium. Walking from the parking lot, past St. John Arena, and seeing the rotunda on game day for the first time is something I will never forget.
I’ve been to other games since this one, including victories over That Team Up North in 2010 and 2012, but a rather lackluster win over a Sun Belt school will always hold a special place in my heart.
No. 2: Ohio State 85 – Tennessee 84, Mar. 22, 2007
Just five days after needing Ron Lewis and his clutch three-pointer to send an eventual second round victory over Xavier to overtime, the Buckeyes again needed late-game heroics to continue their quest for a first national basketball championship since 1960. Ohio State ended up falling in the national title game to Florida, but that does not diminish how great this game was.
I remember watching this game from my couch and being so frustrated with the performance of the first half, which ended with the Volunteers up by 17, that I seriously contemplated going to bed (this was the late game in the San Antonio regional and I had school at 7:45 the next morning) rather than allow myself to suffer through a blowout loss. I decided to give the team 10 minutes to show me something and fight their way back in it. I’m glad I stuck it out. The game was tied again halfway through the second half.
Greg Oden struggled with foul issues the entire game, playing just 18 minutes while scoring only nine points to go with three rebounds and four blocks. But that fourth block was the biggest of his career in scarlet and gray. His last-second, soaring swat of Ramar Smith’s potential game-winning lay-up is the first thing I think of when asked of Greg Oden and the 2006-07 Buckeyes.
No. 1: Ohio State 31 – Miami (FL) 24 2OT, Jan. 3, 2003
This was a no-brainer for me. Number one is the only football or basketball national championship won by Ohio State in my lifetime so far. The game no one gave Ohio State a chance to win. The game Ohio State won.
This was just a great game from start to finish between two great teams battling for the BCS National Championship. Everyone remembers Cie Grant coming on the blitz to force Ken Dorsey into throwing a poor pass on 4th and goal in the second overtime. Everyone remembers the pass interference call on Glenn Sharpe that gave Ohio State another life in the first overtime. Everyone remembers the horrific knee injury Willis McGahee suffered in the fourth quarter. The play I remember most is Maurice Clarett chasing down Sean Taylor and ripping the ball away following a Taylor interception in the third quarter.
A Mike Nugent field goal ended that drive, giving the Buckeyes a 17-7 lead. If Clarett does not pull off that outstanding play, Todd Sievers 40-yard field goal to send the game to overtime wins the game for Miami. Instead, Clarett’s final touch as a Buckeye ended up being in the second overtime as a short touchdown run that would prove to be the national championship-winning score.
What are your thoughts on my top three events in Ohio State history? Would any of these make your list?