Captain's Corner - Michigan Thoughts

If you had told me that Michigan would go 12 of 22 on third down conversions and OSU would only be 1 of 8, I would have thought Michigan would run away with the game.  They call those 3rd down plays "money downs".  That is where you earn your money.  That is where you earn your scholarship. 

Maybe we should re-phrase that theory.  You need to earn your scholarship on third down situations IN THE RED ZONE. 

That game summed up the entire season.  "Hey Buckeyes, you can't go 13-0 with Craig Krenzel.  Hey Buckeyes, you can't play on the road.  Hey Buckeyes, you can't make a big play."  Well, then I guess we had enough small plays that added up to a perfect season.  This team took more criticism for winning games than any team I ever remember in college football.  In fact, I am glad they never got the credit on the national level.  It seemed to motivate these guys.  If you tell Krenzel or Clarett or Wilhelm or Smith that they can't do something, it gets a response from them on Saturday afternoon. This team will beat you. They will find a way.

In my mind, the most signature moment of the season took place during a TV timeout with 8:30 left in the fourth quarter.  OSU's season was on the line.  I saw Maurice Clarett mouth the words "one more shot" to himself while pacing the sidelines.  At this point in the game, OSU was trailing 9-7 and the Michigan offense was chewing clock when they got their hands on the football.  The ball was now in the hands of our offense.  This was it.  We either go back to Florida for a second-tier Jan. 1 bowl game or we play for the whole thing.  Tressel gathered the offense in a huddle and went over some strategy, play calling, reminders, etc.  I am sure he also emphasized the importance of the situation and what they have been working towards.  But then it happened.  Coach Tressel walked out of the huddle to leave his players alone.  They would tightly huddle around Craig Krenzel for about two minutes.  I don't know what exactly was said in the huddle.  I don't think I want to know what was said in the huddle.  Some things are best left between teammates.  The official finally gave the sign that the TV timeout was over, and it was time to play ball.  The "good guys" put together a beautiful drive against a great opponent and scored the winning touchdown. 

This was a classic ball game from the beginning.  All those outrageous ticket prices seem to make sense right now.  It was worth the money if you are a Buckeye fan.  It was magical.  It was electric.  It was the biggest game and biggest win in the Horseshoe in my generation.  It was also scary at times. 

Maybe the scariest moment was when Clarett re-injured his shoulder.  He is such a difference-maker.  I can't put my finger on his ability to change a game.  He has great vision.  He has great patience.  He runs through arm tackles.  He can run away from people.  But there is something else that I just can't define.  When he left the game, it was blow to our offense.  He wouldn't be gone for long though as he basically re-inserted himself back into the game and scored a touchdown on the first play back after injuring the shoulder. 

I am fired up about the Fiesta Bowl.  OSU has finished second in the country before and it is not the standard Buckeye fans and players are looking for.  The journey is not over, but you better believe I am going to take a nice time out from the journey and enjoy what has been accomplished to this point.

Buckeye Leaves…the entire team gets all the Leaves they want, but these are the guys that are in the front of the line.

Maurice Clarett…Huge.

Michael Doss…Played with passion.  They have him for 9 solos and 4 assists, but it appeared to me he had that many in the first quarter alone.  It may be 21-7 at half instead of 9-7 at half if it weren't for him.  By the way, he wasn't bluffing when he said he was returning to OSU to go undefeated.  Many thought that was just a line he was using that looked good in the papers.  He really meant it.

Craig Krenzel…What a typical day for him.  A very basic 10 of 14 for 124 yards.  Add to that no interceptions and some absolutely huge scrambles for nice yardage.  Add to that great leadership and intelligence managing the game.  Add to that another victory over a top 10 team.

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