Blame the economy. That must be the reason that the parking lots were empty and thousands of empty seats pocked the upper deck of Ohio Stadium. Not the weather (rainy, cloudy, less cloudy, more cloudy, almost sunny, sunny and then cloudy, in that order) nor the opponent, some high school team from New Mexico.
That isn’t really fair to either team, of course. Ohio State probably would not have scheduled New Mexico State if they knew they would be one of the worst teams in the country by the time game day rolled around. And I guess NMS gave it their all, although they seemed overwhelmed from the opening kick.
But still. I had to check my watch when I arrived at the Longaberger House on Saturday morning. What is usually festive expanse of pavement looked more like a Monday morning, with only a handful of tailgater tents poking up over the parked cars. Broad plains of empty spots greeted me as I checked in on the usual haunts on the way to the ‘shoe. But I had a date with a group sure to keep the faith; I was going to find the Block O crew and watch them get painted up for the game.
They were huddled in the gloomy shadows under the north end zone, armed with paint and an apparent resistance to cold. While they munched on pizza, the familiar strains of “Woke Up This Morning” by Alabama 3, otherwise known as the Sopranos theme song filtered into the bowels of the stadium, and I headed out to watch the team marching down the sidelines to the locker room. All in all a pretty good song to go to work to, but most of the team had headphones on.
Block O game plan.
Back under the stands the students, mostly freshmen, got ready for the game. A few of the Tressel vests came by to check in, and headed to their spots in the north end zone stands. The painted students would be decorating the south end zone. When the leaders realized they had almost enough for Trick or Treat they sent forth envoys to find a few more brave souls, and ended up with enough for Trick or Treat?, the question mark perhaps underscoring the general view that you never really know what the Buckeyes were going to get themselves into.
Fortunately, he didn’t freeze in that position.
On the field, the Buckeyes knew exactly what they were getting themselves into, at least on defense. They manhandled and abused the Aggies up one side and down the other, while the offense took a little longer to click.
Posey pulls one in.
Less predictable than his throws.
Worthington smells fresh meat.
Posey tries for the end zone.
They like me, they really like me.
Brutus, that’s who.
At halftime, the band performed a medley of Halloween favorites, and as the fourth quarter dawned, the game began to feel a bit like a minor league all star game; a chance to see future stars, or at worst a chance for some kids to get some playing time. I don’t know how many different Buckeyes got in the game, but it was probably a much higher percentage than most games.
B-roll could stand for bankroll, because he is money.
Trevor Wells, meet Lawrence Wilson.
Know your Buckeyes; 35 Bo DeLande, RB 6-0, 184 Jr/Sr Hilliard Oh, Hilliard Davidson
Know your Buckeyes; 33 Joe Gantz RB 6-0 199 5th/Sr Wooster OH, Wooster HS
Know your Buckeyes, 46 K.C. Chrisian RB 5-11 209 Sr/Jr Kitts Hill OH, Rock Hill
A grand tradition.
By the end of the game, eight different running backs had garnered yards. It was just one of those games. Next week won’t be.
Now you can…
Join the OSUAA.
or you could become an OSUAA fan on Facebook.
and I am always down for some fandom too.