Sunday, December 19, 2010

Buckeyes get last shot at Mallett

Another year, another BCS bowl trip for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Their record run will continue as the Buckeyes are headed back to where their BCS legend all started in 1999, the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas.

"The Buckeyes are excited to be going to the Sugar Bowl," coach Jim Tressel said. "The things I remember the most about the Sugar Bowl are the people [of New Orleans] and how excited they are to host the game, and the great pride they have in their city and in the history of the Sugar Bowl. When you think of the games that have been played in the Sugar Bowl, it's neat to be a part of this long history."

It will be only the Buckeyes second trip to the Sugar Bowl but the third time New Orleans has been their bowl destination since the BCS started.

While OSU won only its Sugar Bowl appearance in 1999 against Texas A&M, the Buckeyes beaten by LSU in the Superdome in the 2008 BCS National Championship game.

No championship will be on the line come January 4th but the Buckeyes can look at this game as a chance for redemption.

Beaten the last two times they have taken on the SEC in bowl games (both the 07’ and 08’ title games) one of the most famous stats used to insult the Buckeyes is 0-8.

Ohio State’s shocking record vs. SEC teams in bowl games.

It is something OSU definitely isn’t proud of and should be one of its biggest motivations heading into the contest.

For Arkansas, and more importantly its star quarterback, it is another shot to beat the Buckeyes.

In 2007 Ryan Mallett was getting reps in the Michigan offense behind fourth year starter Chad Henne. Henne was playing injured against OSU and Henne even got some snaps against the hated rival.

Since then, for Mallett and Michigan, things haven’t gone as planned.

A new coach and scheme lead the highly touted Mallett to transfer and he has never seen the Buckeyes again.

Even though he is no longer a Wolverine, their must still be some Buckeye hatred that Mallett has held inside over the years.

"It's going to be a fun game," Mallett said. "It's two great teams. Obviously, I had the traditional rivalry hatred (at Michigan). I've still got a little Michigan in me from that. I've never really been a big fan (of Ohio State)."

Mallett didn’t hold back, when asked how much he disliked OSU.

"I don't know if it's something you can say on air or in the paper," Mallett said.

You can be sure the Buckeyes will have some added incentive in sending their former rival QB to the NFL with a loss.

It should be an interesting matchup between two of the countries better quarterbacks.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Buckeyes Whoop Wolverines...Seven Years Running

For yet another 365 days, the Buckeyes own the Wolverines.

After a contested, scoreless first quarter, Ohio State opened the flood gates on Michigan the final three quarters, winning 37-7, over the hated Wolverines and extending their record to nine and one under coach Jim Tressel including seven straight victories.

“We can talk about key plays or whatever, but our guys fought all day long.” coach Jim Tressel said of his players efforts. “I thought that kickoff return after they had scored and, boom, all of a sudden it's back to 10 points was a key factor, but our kids prepared very hard and played hard and they deserve everything they have coming to them.”

It was a day filled with big plays on both offense and defense.

The Buckeyes forced several turnovers, including a fumble early in the first to keep the game scoreless.  After feeling out the Wolverines in the first quarter, the Buckeyes blew the game open before halftime with 24 points, including several that will go in the all-time Michigan highlight real.

Pryor found senior captain Dane Sanzenbacher on a precision throw for a seven-yard touchdown.  The ball was perfectly fit into a tight window to give the Buckeyes a 10-0 lead.

After a successful drive for a touchdown by the Wolverines, the Buckeyes answered the best way they knew how.

With one dramatic play.

Jordan Hall, who would have made past legends happy with how he represented the famed #7 jersey in “The Game”, exploded up the middle of the field and broke several on an 85-yard kickoff return.

“I don't know about turning point, but that was a critical point, because they worked very hard to go down and get their touchdown, and all of a sudden it took us 20 seconds to answer, and Jordan Hall is a great football player.” Tressel said.  “I wish there were more opportunities for him to have the ball in his hands because, man, he can play, and we love him as a punt returner”

It was the turning point of the game for the Buckeyes and after another thrilling 33-yard, diving score by Devier Posey, the Buckeyes blew the game open.

The one thing that might have been most impressive is the Buckeyes defense. Forcing several turnovers and holding the Wolverines high powered offense to only seven points.

“our kids get a feel for things and they learn on the job very well and they can run and they hold a lot of people under their average when they're playing,” Tressel said of his defense.

“So I think the combination of those defensive guys learning and adapting and getting a feel and mounting pressure on both quarterbacks. You know, Forcier played -- Denard threw it 18 times and Forcier 15, so they played almost equal, and our guys just keep coming and that's why they're a good defense.”

Senior Class Strikes Gold

One of the biggest senior classes in recent memory said goodbye to the Horseshoe on Saturday.

It was emotional to say the least but those Buckeyes are going out in style.

One of the most successful classes in OSU history, the seniors will be taking (depending on redshirt status) four or five Big Ten rings with them.

More importantly, they will take the same number of golden pants with them.

“I think first and foremost, it's important to never lose to Michigan as a Buckeye, which is unusual, and to end up with five rings from championships is another accolade,” Senior captain Ross Homan said. “I'm so blessed with these guys, these seniors, these coaches, this whole team. It's a dream come true.”

To be successful every season in not only winning the Big Ten but also not dropping a game in the biggest rivalry in college football, the seniors can finally show how proud they are of their accomplishments.

“It's incredible. It's obviously a goal you have coming in and you never want to be on the other side or the losing side of this rivalry,” Sanzenbacher said. “Especially [being] from Toledo, since we're a town with a large amount of Ohio State and Michigan fans, it's always been a huge game for me and I'm proud to say I'm leaving here never losing to them.”

For the six senior captains and the several other seniors who suited up for the last time and won at Ohio Stadium, the feeling might not have set in.

They still have one game remaining but their legacy is pretty set.

“"I hope we leave a legacy of great leadership. I feel that guys in this class held themselves accountable as well as held each other accountable.” Sanzenbacher said. To be with these other five captains, it's an honor to be a part of this class."

Officials and Nike? What’s the deal?

The Buckeyes sure looked different on Saturday, for better or worse.

For the second season in a row the Buckeyes put on throwback jerseys to play “The Game”.

Honoring past National Championship teams, Ohio State must do their best to represent those who were winners before them.

The officiating crew and Nike, however, couldn’t agree on how exactly to do that.

While the look of the uniforms is technically “a throwback” the style of the uniforms in nothing but futuristic.

The Nike Pro Combat Uniforms supposedly make playing the game easier but for Ohio State, their flashy new gear got them a lot of yellow.

The Buckeyes were flagged twice on Saturday for supposed “hand gestures” which according to Big Ten officials is excessive celebration.

The hand gestures were made by the Buckeyes to show off their “super cool” Nike Vapor Jet gloves, which when placed together in a diamond shape, formed a block “O” on the palm and fingers.

It’s a pretty awesome concept and actually looked quit cool whenever the other 11 teams including Alabama, who took part in the Nike project, had thrown up their symbols in the past.

The officials in Saturday’s game, however, weren’t hip to the idea.

At first many thought the excessive celebration came on Posey’s beautiful dive into the endzone but a frustrated Tressel set the record straight.

“Well, you know, excessive celebration. No, it was not the dive. I can't answer that.” Tressel said, rejecting to answer on the gloves in question.

When the captains were asked about the situation, Sanzenbacher, who also threw up the block “O” symbol went further.

“I think they said that was what it was,” He said. “They didn't want any hand gestures or anything like that and just celebrate with your teammates. So I think it's safe to say we will never wear gloves with anything on them again.”

To say that was the only head-scratching call by the officials on Saturday would be an understatement.
Boom Herron, who had a monster day against Michigan (22 carries for 175), had a record 98-yard run taken away from him just yards short of the endzone. Sanzenbacher was called for a phantom holding call which turned Herron’s run, instead into a record tying 89-yarder.

“"I didn't think it was a penalty but I don't make the calls,” Sanzebacher said. “I wouldn't change what I did if I could do the play again if that makes it any better. Sorry to Boom to steal his touchdown. I was just trying to help clear the way for him to get into the end zone."