Captain's Corner: Victory!

What a performance out of Troy Smith in the 25-21 comeback win over Michigan. 1998 OSU captain Jerry Rudzinski lets loose some superlatives towards Troy in this week's Captain's Corner.

Victory! Wow did that win feel good! The Wolverines will not get the opportunity for a major bowl game and the players, coaches and fans can officially enter the pressure cooker when it comes to The Rivalry.

Troy Smith cemented his place in Buckeye history. If anyone says you can't have back-to-back big performances in this series, think again. Troy was incredible last year. He was even better this year. On the road…momentum against him…not getting the breaks…all he did was act Montana-like.

I take that back because Troy was more stylish than Montana. His third-and-14 completion to Holmes in the third play of the game made a statement. His third-and-10 scramble for a first down when they trailed 21-12 would have easily been play of the game, but his magical floating in the pocket on the pass play to Gonzalez deserves equal hype. At times he was an athlete playing quarterback. At times he was playing chess. At times he was like Greg Maddux placing the ball wherever he wanted. At times he was in the backyard throwing around a nerve football with his boys. At times he was a heavyweight fighter that just wouldn't go down. He was the runaway MVP of the game. I'd find it insulting if anyone else was even mentioned after the game Troy just played.

The offensive gameplan was terrific. On the opening series, OSU hit Holmes, Ginn, Hall, attempted to hit Gonzalez, ran Smith, optioned Smith, ran Pittman, etc. While many fans barked for more downfield passes, the wind and Michigan secondary often dictated they go elsewhere. When they needed to attack the jugular late in the game, the Buckeyes were all over it. Great game by the offensive coaches.

Henne was special on Saturday, but his completion percentage belongs to his offensive line. When Chad Henne has time with Avant, Breaston, Manningham, and those all-world tight ends, he will go into surgery mode and slice anyone up. OSU got sliced at times, but that is what happens when a talented, well-coached quarterback has time to throw it to talented, well-coached receivers. When OSU's pressure was effective, he threw incompletions. When we couldn't get a rush, they moved it. Part of the reason the victory felt so good was because the U of M o-line protected so well.

As for special teams, a missed extra point, a missed field goal, sub-par punting, and momentum-smothering fumbled returns left a different taste in everyone's mouth when compared to the Northwestern game. Ohio State fought through the special teams mistakes and they fought through the turnovers. They fought through the Carpenter injury and they fought through some flags. Winning in Ann Arbor is not easy. I can promise you that because I walked out of there 0-2 in my playing days. The players deserved this one. This class should always, always be remembered for their success against Michigan.

Buckeye Leaves…

Anthony Schlegel - What was that? Are you kidding me? He was absolutely amazing. The other Buckeye defenders and even the offense feed off those kinds of plays. Remarkable.

Troy Smith

Rob Harley - Breaston's returnable kickoff went nowhere.


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