I decided to gauge the pulse of Buckeye Nation tailgating on Saturday morning, by walking around and visiting as many tailgates as I could.
Problem is, I got there too early. At 8:30, there was barely a presence in the Longaberger lot* and the last thing I wanted to do was show prime tailgating real estate empty.
* I know it is called something else, but it will always be the lot outside the Longaberger Alumni House to me.
I piddled around for a while (re: took a nap) and at 10 on the dot I started my journey through tailgate land.
Ohio State’s campus is a vast paradise on Saturday mornings, and making my way through as many lots as I could took a lot longer than I thought it would. I had to explain myself a lot, since I would go stick my snout in people’s tailgates and take a bunch of pictures, so I didn’t get quite as far as I wanted to. Indeed, as game time drew closer, the tailgates began to get kind of sparse.
There is a short window of prime tailgating time, about an hour and a half or so. By the time I got to Woody Hayes, it was time to head to the stadium.
It was my latest arrival ever, and by the time I was down below the north stands, I could hear the band’s arrival on the field, accompanied by thunderous applause.
I got out as the band was finishing up before the national anthem, and made my way down the Buckeye’s sideline toward the Indiana band, who was watching the OSU band perform. As they concluded, I asked an Indiana band member what grade they gave them.
“They are the best”, he said. “They don’t call them the best band for nothing. They are here,” he said, holding his hand at eye level, “and everyone else is here,” he motioned, holding his other hand at chest level. It was pretty cool. They were honestly and clearly impressed.
So the Buckeyes take the field, and Indiana promptly drives down the field for a touchdown. That was unexpected.
And then they went a kicked a field goal. Indiana 10, Ohio State 7.
I was in the north end zone, setting up to do a panorama, when Braxton Miller took the snap and hauled arse 81 yards down the field for a touchdown. Perfect timing. You can see the band going crazy in the panorama though.
Feeling super happy fun time about missing Braxton’s run, despite the fact that it was coming out of the sun and wouldn’t look that great anyway, I went to the other end when the Buckeyes got an Indiana punt.
Miller appeared to be in trouble when he spotted Boren open and tossed him the ball. Boren rumbled along or a few yards, and an on-coming defender closed in on it, Boren punched him.
Well, not really punched him, but threw a rapid stiff arm. It didn’t quite work, as the defend, while flying through the air as a result of Zach’s flying stiff arm, managed to grab his foot and pull him down. I was giggling on the sidelines, but no one seemed to notice his flying whack. He was heading away from me, so the picture isn’t any good either.
The drive ended with a field goal, as did the next, and the ship was righted.
Until Indiana tied it. The first half of Saturday’s game was played in an alternate universe when Indiana is a perennial Big 10 contender.
Things began to improve in the third quarter, especially since the Buckeyes would be heading into the sun again.
I plunked myself down in front of the band, next to an old friend, and we watched the ebb and flow of the game from there. We were in a fine spot for Indiana’s perhaps ill advised interception (do you really want the ball on your three against Ohio State?).
When the fourth quarter came, we all picked up and marched down to the north end zone. Someone was eventually going to win this game, and the north end zone seemed to be the best place to photograph it, if the Buckeyes managed to pull this one out.
The Buckeyes were a long way from my corner of the end zone when Carlos Hyde burst through a hole in came charging toward me. I switched cameras just in time to get him stepping out of bounds, and then leaping toward the end zone. I had thought he scored, but on further review (of my camera back) he was out at the something yard line.
And a few plays later, he scored. This time, I was blocked by ref butt.
The previously passive defense began to stiffen, stopping Indiana on downs and sealing the game with some big sacks and tackles for loss. A game that at the dawn of the fourth quarter had been a nail biter, had been salted away.
Now you can;
Check out a photo gallery of Saturday’s game.
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