Every Buckeye win is special! Being a former Ohio State football player, I know the immense amount of work that the student athletes and coaches put in year round. There's always pressure and high expectations. But the pressure to be victorious in the greatest rivalry in college football (and some say, "the greatest rivalry in all of sports) is immeasurable!!! I could write for days about "THE GAME" and what it means to alumni, current students, the state of Ohio, and BuckeyeNation worldwide. It can literally make or break a season! As was the case with #2 hosting #3 at Ohio Stadium.
With that said...
Watching THE GAME yesterday...especially the the double overtimes, literally had my heart racing. I could feel it thumping through my chest!
Before the game kicked off I did a Live Pre-Game Show for Dayton's ABC22 Fox45 with Erik Elken and James Ryder. I had a blast on set with Erik and James, and the show went great! Buckeye fans were tailgating and full of energy; It felt so good seeing and hearing Buckeye fans yelling, "O-H!" and "I-O!" all morning leading to the noon kickoff.
Directly after the Live show ended at 11:59, the crew hustled into the stadium where there was a NEW ATTENDANCE RECORD of 110,045 wild and crazy college football fans going nuts. ESPN College Gameday present live in stadium which added more enthusiasm to the fans.
Minutes before the coin toss I had the opportunity to meet the 1991 Heisman trophy winner, Desmond Howard. Super cool meeting a legend like Des! Hopefully one day I'll be working alongside him ; )
The seniors had the opportunity to give greet their family with a Rose as they ran out the tunnel one last time. The fans were ready once the entire team and band were on the field!
Here's a 1 minute clip of Michigan entering the field...
Having media credentials allowed me to watch the game from the press box alongside 100+ reporters and media representatives from around the country. There is a underlying expectation from media personnel to be extremely quiet during the game. NO cheering out loud for either team! Abiding by these rules only added to my heart thumping since I had to repress my emotions.
Most of the media goes down to the field with minutes left in the 4th quarter. Sooo, with THE GAME going into two overtimes, there were a lot of empty seats.
During the end of the 1st overtime I look over to my left...
and I see the former head football coach of Ohio State (1979-1987), Earl Bruce sitting in the corner. I go over, shake his hand and I said, "Coach may I sit next to you?" With a warm smile he replied, "Sure you can. Take a seat."
He asked me how I was doing and what I was up to. Coach Bruce genuinely cared. I told him about my book Athletic Alchemy that's releasing soon, my passion for speaking, and other opportunities that were presenting themselves in my life. I kept it brief as the T.V. timeout was coming to end and it was back to full attention on the game.
My heart continued to race. Especially coming up on 4th down with the THE GAME literally on the line!!! This was it. Get the 1st down or the game is over. I gasped for air as I saw JT Barrett run the football and get hammered right at the 1st down marker! I knew the play was going to be further reviewed, and so close. You know how the story goes....1st down (Thank you JT for training hard in the weight room during the off-season!) Soon later we score and this happens...
Right after Curtis Samuel took the sweep and scored the game winning touchdown I asked Coach Bruce, "how does this win make you feel? He looked at me with the same warm smile as he did when I asked if could sit next him and said, "WONDERFUL! It makes me feel wonderful."
Fun moments that happened during the OSU vs Michigan Game:
- Almost laughing uncontrollably when Erik asked me if I would ever allow my future son to play for Michigan.
- Running into my former Coach who I met my Freshmen in High School while camping at the Notre Dame. Coach Frog, it was AWESOME seeing you after all these years!
- Catching up with my former teammate and current Pittsburgh Steeler, Cam Heyward on the sideline!
- It was nice seeing Ryan Shazier who is continually representing Ohio State well while being an impact player with the Pittsburg Steelers.
- Seeing my Wayne High School Alumni and NFL Great, Will Allen on the sidelines. He's a phenomenal human being who does awesome things for the youth in Dayton and Pittsburgh!
- Seeing Lebron and the Cleveland Cavalier basketball team get escorted right by me during halftime.
- And last but not least...Do you remember me explaining how there is a "Keep it quiet" zone in the press box area where media work? Well, Lebron's teammate Birdman gave zero f's as he made bird chirping noises loud and proud as he walked through room! As everyone was staring at Birdman I was cracking up laughing inside.
It was an Amazing day for BuckeyeNation! Now lets go win the National Title!
How firm thy friendship O-H-I-O!