Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Stay in school, kids

Thanks to Vico over at Our Honor Defend, I now can back up my claims whenever I tell people I was there for Earle Bruce's final Michigan game.

<---- this is me, not Cris Carter

As a freshman at The Ohio State University, I was offered the chance to go to the Michigan game that year (my seats were in Block O, so we took a group trip up north). When we purchased our tickets, we had no idea how important the game would be.

You know the story...four days prior to The Game, Ohio state abruptly fired head coach Earle Bruce. We had lost to Iowa the game before on a fluke 4th-and-23 play that dropped our record to 5-4-1. It was Bruce's first bad season at Ohio State, and the administration reacted too harshly. Athletic Director Rick Bay resigned in solidarity with Bruce, and the campus was incensed and outraged.

I recall hearing the news in my dorm room, and how there was an almost immediate freak-out feeling around campus. Later we would see footage on the news of TBDBITL showing up on Bruce's lawn to play and sing to him. The coach and his family joined them, tears streaming down the hard-as-nails leader's cheeks.

So heading up to Michigan, we felt (nay, we KNEW) it was a bigger game than usual. And we were fired up.

The team gave everything they had that day, but you knew before the game it would be special. The players all willingly violated a team uniform rule, wearing headbands with the word "EARLE" on them. The mere sight of those headbands during warmups fired us all up, and we gave every last ounce of strength in our vocal cords that day.

The above image is from the live ABC broadcast, following Ohio State's first TD, cutting the Michigan lead to 13-7 late in the first half. The Bucks would score on the opening play of the third quarter and never look back in a 23-20 victory.

We stormed the field and celebrated our asses off in Michigan Stadium that day. On the way back to the bus, three of us swiped a maize-colored parking horse. I still have my third of it, which I carved the date and score into. I hope the statute of limitations is less than 21 years.

Exhausted, I slept on the bus ride back to Columbus. When I woke up, we had defeated Michigan in my first year in college....but we had lost a legend. I was there to see it, and thankfully I have more than stolen property to prove it.


Anonymous said...

I wasn't at the Michigan game, but was at the heartbreaking Iowa game the week before thanks to my good buddy Jeff. I still don't think he crossed the goal line.

It's 69 in Cleveland...

Jeff Seemann said...

LOL. Ah yes, good times next to the Olentangy.

1988, Michigan game. How many f-bombs did we drop, even before the kickoff?

1992. Guy streaks during Michigan's halftime performance, and we pull out the "greatest win ever"?

Tell Sasha and Carrie I said hello.