Craig Krenzel went out as a winner tonight, but things started out shaky for the QB as he missed on a few passes and had two first half interceptions.
"I was a little rusty, made a few throws that needed to be better," he said. "We settled down and we found ways to get the ball in the end zone."
Krenzel admitted that there were some additions to the offensive game plan just for this game.
"We had some new wrinkles coming into this game because we knew Kansas State is very well coached," he said.
Meanwhile, Krenzel's counterpart, Ell Roberson, had an inconsistent evening and may have been rattled due to the off-the-field issues. OSU defensive end Will Smith felt that Roberson and KSU's play was affected by what was going on off the field.
"I think so," Smith said. "I think his head wasn't in the game the first half. I think they underestimated our speed on defense. They made some good adjustments in the second half."
K-State head coach Bill Snyder said that the staff at KSU had the team prepared, but they didn't take care of business.
"We came into this game just as prepared mentally and physically for any ball game. We just didn't get it done," he said.
Snyder gave all the credit to OSU and stated they deserved to win but also admitted that the distractions had an adverse effect on his team.
"I think that's probably the case, but that can be an excuse, and I don't mean for it," he said.
Snyder also provided some insight to his decision to have Roberson start the game.
"A great deal of work, a great deal of... investigation by our administration gave me information that led us to believe that Ell Roberson was not guilty of what he was... seemingly implicated in," Snyder said. "Considering that, it was my decision to allow him to play in the ball game. That doesn't mean that there is not some discipline to take place."
Still, a lot of the feeling on the KSU side was that they did it to themselves this evening.
"Did we play as well as we're capable of? No, we didn't," Snyder said.
Snyder pointed out two mistakes KSU made in particular that were huge difference makers in the game: the blocked punt and the Chris Gamble interception that was turned into a TD.
"That's what they're so good at," Snyder said. "You make those mistakes... and you're inviting them to beat you and that's what they did."
After the game, Gamble stated his intention to enter the NFL draft. OSU head coach Jim Tressel said he had discussed the possibility with Gamble but not the decision.
"We wish him luck," said sophomore LB A.J. Hawk.
There was a lot of post-game talk about Michigan and how the team was able to redeem themselves tonight. One big difference was tackling as the Buckeyes did the job in that category tonight as opposed to not doing much against UM. Will Smith admitted that it was something the team focused on a great deal.
"It was," he said. "Also, we watched the film of Oklahoma, and they missed a lot of tackles. We knew the key to the game would be tackling."
One thing that stood out about this game was Ohio State's spirited play. The Buckeyes were very much into the game and wanted to end the season on a high note. Quarterback Craig Krenzel said he didn't understand the pre-game talk about OSU not being up for the game.
"We found that kind of to be a slap in the face," he said. "We did not want to be a senior class that contributed to a national championship and went on to lose our last two games."
- Seniors go out with a win: In fitting fashion, the OSU seniors
finished their careers with a win, and a typically close win at that. Craig
Krenzel finished with a 24-3 record as a starter, and the Buckeyes finish
with a 25-2 record over the past two seasons.
- Record Breaker: Senior Michael Jenkins surpassed the all-time OSU
receiving yards mark tonight as he caught 5 passes for 96 yards Jenkins
needed 54 yards to pass the 2,855 yard mark.
- They'll be missed: Several players did nothing but prove over and
over again why they will be sorely missed next year. The DL combo of Will
Smith, Darrion Scott, and Tim Anderson will be missed tremendously, and
Michael Jenkins will be missed more than people think. In addition, it will
be hard to replace the departing defensive coordinator, Mark Dantonio.
- No OT? If Kansas State would have tied the game, would Coach Bill
Snyder have gone for two? He didn't have to make that decision, but if he
did, it might have been a surprise choice.
"They don't lose overtime games, so I'm not so sure I would have taken it into overtime," he said.
- Two in a row: The Buckeyes now have a 16-19 bowl record and have
won two bowls in a row for the first time since 1985-86, when they defeated
BYU in the Citrus Bowl and Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.
- Odds and ends: The blocked punt in the first quarter was the second
blocked punt for a TD this season. The first was the Roy Hall blocked punt
against Iowa that was recovered by Donte Whitner... Of the punt play, Bill
Snyder said "It was a great effort on their part and poor protection on
our part."... The Big Ten and Big 12 both have had rough bowl seasons.
The Big Ten finishes the year at 3-5, with OSU, Minnesota and Iowa being the
winners, while the Big 12 falls to 2-5 as only Nebraska and Texas Tech have
wins. Oklahoma has a chance to improve the mark as they play in the Sugar
Bowl against LSU on Sunday night.