Seniors Want To Go Out With Win Over UM

OSU seniors, including kicker Mike Nugent, say a win over Michigan in their final home game Saturday (1 p.m., ABC) would be a fitting conclusion to their career. Click here for more on what the seniors had to say about their final home game.

Nineteen Ohio State seniors are scheduled to take a bow prior to Saturday's regular season finale with Michigan.

Those seniors participated in Senior Tackle on the indoor field at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. They will be recognized on the field prior to Saturday's game.

The group includes 13 fifth-year seniors. Looking at their five years on campus, they have helped OSU post a 46-15 record, play in four bowl games (this would be their fifth), win the national championship and Big Ten championship in 2002 and won a pair of bowl games.

"This is a diverse group," Tressel said. "Some of them were walk-ons who persevered and some of them earned scholarships. Some of them are fifth-year guys who had to deal with some adversity. They handled the transition. They've had some great years and some not so great years and they've seen a lot of things.

"We ask for our seniors to have a career-best year. And in this one-game season, the Michigan game, we would love nothing more than for them to have their career-best game. You know you can be remembered if you can make a difference in the Ohio State-Michigan game.

"For these seniors, I promise they will never forget this."

Fifth-year seniors making their last appearance include linebacker Thomas Matthews, flanker Bam Childress, cornerback Harlen Jacobs, running back Roshawn Parker, kicker Josh Huston, fullback Branden Joe, tailback Michael DeMaria, offensive guard Mike Kne, long snapper Kyle Andrews, offensive tackle John McLaughlin, split end John Hollins, punter Kyle Turano and defensive end Jason Caldwell. (There was hope previously that Huston could get a sixth year of eligibility due to injury.)

Fourth-year seniors set to wrap up their OSU home careers include tailback Lydell Ross, tailback Maurice Hall, strong safety Rob Harley, cornerback Dustin Fox, defensive end Simon Fraser and kicker Mike Nugent. They were all part of Tressel's first recruiting class, a group he signed just three weeks after taking the OSU coaching job in mid-January 2001.

"It's amazing how quickly it goes," Tressel said. "You talk to Dustin or Simon or Nuge or Mo Hall and Lydell and none of them had the luxury of redshirting. We tell every recruit when they come in, what's most important is the team and if the team can benefit by you playing. We don't want to violate your needs, but the team is very, very important. And when a guy plays right off the bat, his time period goes fast.

"Shane Olivea, in fact, mentioned to our team -- he flew from San Diego to West Lafayette to be with us last weekend -- and he never thought he'd say this, but he kind of wished he'd redshirted. He finds football is a little different, he's doing well and the Chargers are winning, but there's nothing like playing college football. I think that's the emotions that Simon Fraser and Dustin Fox and Lydell and Mo and Nuge and all those guys are going to have. And we appreciate how they've done things. And things haven't been perfect in every instance, but certainly their intention has been to be a winning, proud, good Buckeye. And I think every one of those guys will walk out of here with their degree and a lot of great memories."

Fraser, a co-captain, has said his time at OSU has flown by.

"It has been fast in my mind," Fraser said. "The reality hasn't hit me yet. It will probably hit me on Sunday after the game when we don't have anything going on. We have been able to accomplish so much here and we have so many memories. I think we have treasured our time here at Ohio State.

"Being able to finish up my career here at home against Michigan is something I will remember the rest of my life. Hopefully, it will be on a positive note."

Nugent, also a co-captain, agreed that his time with the Buckeyes has come and gone quickly.

"It definitely is quick," Nugent said. "Every time I looked at that stadium, I realized I only had one year left there. Now I have one game left. I figure it's not how you start your career, but it's how you finish it. Hopefully, we can have a good finish to our careers here."

Nugent said he would like nothing better than to figure in the outcome of this game.

"In my opinion, the only way to cap a great career is just to go out and be solid," Nugent said. "I go into games and want to have a 100 percent game. I want every kickoff to be a touchback and to make every extra point and every field goal. I just need to have a 100 percent game.

"This is a big game. To some people, it seems like it counts as four or five games. It's so exciting to beat them and such a downfall when you lose, like we did last year."

Hall is also looking forward to making his final appearance at the Horseshoe.

"Going into this last game it's going to be exciting," Hall said. "I remember my first Ohio State-Michigan game in Michigan. Playing in that game was a great experience. You never know how much it means to Ohio State and its fans until you get here to this game.

"To play Michigan on your senior day, it is a great experience and it should be pretty emotional. We have to be ready to play and to channel that emotion. We know they're going to be ready to play."

Two years ago, Hall scored on a 5-yard touchdown run to help the Buckeyes take a 14-9 win over Michigan. When asked if he'd like the same opportunity again, he said, "I wouldn't mind."

Reporters asked Hall what the team's mind-set was following last week's loss to Purdue.

"I don't think we can be down playing against Michigan," he said. "If it was any other game, you might see some guys being down. But not for this game."

Hall also discussed the disappointing nature of this 6-4 season.

"I thought we were a young team, but I thought we would have guys step up," Hall said. "We just haven't been consistent. That's why we've lost games. But I definitely think we have the talent."

Fox, also a co-captain, admitted the Buckeyes have little more than personal and team pride to play for on Saturday.

"We're 6-4 and we don't have a chance to play for the national title or a BCS game," he said. "But it's more about the seniors going out and playing here one last time and have a great game and try to erase some of the bad memories we've had this season."


Buckeye Sports Top Stories