Special Send-Off For OSU's 24 Seniors

The 24 members of Ohio State's senior class were honored before Saturday afternoon's game against Michigan. Thanks to yet another victory over the Wolverines, those players will leave Ohio State with either four or five pairs of gold pants and the same number of Big Ten championship rings.

For the 24 seniors on the Ohio State football team, life is certainly good.

Those Buckeyes either earned a fourth or fifth pair of gold pants and a fourth or fifth Big Ten championship ring after defeating Michigan 37-7 on Saturday afternoon at Ohio Stadium.

They will leave Ohio State never knowing what it is like to lose to their archrival or know what it is like to fall short in their quest for conference championships. The magnitude of all that success was not lost of several of the seniors as they met with the media for the final time at the Horseshoe.

"This whole week I've been thinking about how I had a chance to walk away with four rings and four wins against Michigan – that's more important," senior linebacker Brian Rolle said. "It's just something that is totally awesome. It hasn't sunk in quite yet because I haven't had a chance to sit back and think about it."

For those four-year players like Rolle, their resumes are something special. They end their final regular season with a combined record of 43-8 and a conference mark of 28-4. The fifth-year players are 55-9 (36-4).

Seniors had a hand in the latest victory over the Wolverines. Former walk-on kicker Devin Barclay made three field goals of 33, 36 and 23 yards and converted on all four extra points. Wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher caught a 7-yard TD pass in the second quarter, and four seniors led the defense in tackles. Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, linebacker Ross Homan, safety Jermale Hines and Rolle each had eight stops apiece. Hines also broke up three passes.

Hines was among the seniors reflecting back at his time as a Buckeye after the game.

"We've won four Big Ten titles since I've been here and I've never lost to Michigan. That's huge," he said. "There aren't many people who get to say that.

"I'll look back on my life and that will be amazing. I never lost to those guys and I won a Big Ten championship every year I was here."

All 24 seniors took the field for the final time before the game with 105,491 fans watching and their families on the field. Hines said it was a little more emotional than he thought.

"I thought I wasn't going to get emotional, but I teared up a little bit," Hines said. "It started last night when we had a little bonfire – just the seniors – and guys let their emotions out. It got real emotional."

That meeting after the team dinner at the OSU Golf Course led to an emotional effort against the Wolverines. Senior defensive end Cameron Heyward had six tackles and pressured Michigan quarterbacks Denard Robinson and Tate Foricer throughout the afternoon.

After the game a reporter asked him if the victory was bittersweet.

"A little bit," he said. "More sweet than bitter. We won another Big Ten championship, but to know I'll never play here again is sad. I've really enjoyed my time here.

"It's been a fun ride. I can truly say I've enjoyed my four years to the fullest. I've been blessed in so many different ways. I look forward to the future and enjoy the past. I'm so proud of my past and I can't wait for the future."

One of the biggest ovations during the Senior Day ceremonies was for offensive tackle Justin Boren. The Wolverine-turned-Buckeye does not smile much, but was happy after beating his former team yet again.

"There's a ton of emotions running through my head," Boren said. "Playing Michigan and this being my last game in the Horseshoe, it was crazy. But it was fulfilling. I've had a great three years here. I wouldn't trade them for anything."

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