Founded in 1849 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Eastern Michigan hosts 5 Colleges and competes in 14 intercollegiate sports*.
(*sports period, not divided by gender.)
I came across members of the meat judging team when I was doing my pre-game rounds before the Buckeyes took on the EMU Eagles on Saturday. I saw a bratwurst stand with a small sign that said “Bratwurst $3” and in smaller letters underneith, “support the meat judging team.”
I mulled that over for a while as I wandered around the agriculture campus and then doubled back to investigate. The meat judging team inspect meats of various type and grades it, as in, USDA Prime, etc. The nice young ladies running the stand and its massive grill told me about the team, which competes in several competitions a year, against about 20 or so other big ag schools. In fact, the brats they were selling were from pigs raised on the Ohio State campus, and turned into brats on Ohio State’s campus by Ohio State students in some kind of meat class. I forget exactly how she worded it.
You don’t eat more Buckeye than that. The stand is at the corner of Woody Hayes and Fyffe, should you be in the neighborhood.
Filled with new-found knowledge, I marched across the river to the stadium to investigate some pressbox bar-b-cue. (I am sure the brats are excellent, but free food is free food, after all. I’ll get one next week.)
My 2 p.m. breakfast was delightful, so I wandered down to field level to mull the possibilities. The huge shadow cast by the press box and suites was making its inevitable march toward the field. 3:30 starts can be trouble in that way, because the light is just brutal for the second half of the game.
Leader of the pack.
The early light was fine though, illuminating Pryor busting loose on the third play of the game for a 53-yard touchdown trot.
About two minutes later, Dane Sanzenbacher scored his first of four touchdowns on the day, to the opposite corner of where I was crouched. My touchdown repellent from last week was still at full power, apparently. I was confident there would be more chances.
Come to pappy.
My turnover pheromones were still working too, as John Simon scooped up a fumble in a prime spot. The drive stalled in a field goal though. Pesky Eagles.
Steady as he goes.
Since the students were back in town, the place was a bit more amped up, even for a second-rate football opponent like Eastern Michigan. Brutus, having survived last week’s cat attack, tackled crowd surfing down the Block O. I guess after his tangle with Rufus, he realized life is to be lived every day, even if it means you might have your bum pinched by a college student.
Second verse, same as the first.
In two shakes of a lamb’s tail, Dan Herron was zipping down the field for a touchdown. Ohio State, 24, Eastern Michigan 0.
At this point, I reverted to shooting specific players for Archie’s Buckeye of the Week. Because clearly, I was going to have plenty of opportunities to photograph various members of the offense scoring touchdowns. Since several of the players I was interested in are on the defense, I focused on them.
And they kept getting further and further away. Eastern Michigan was going to score, was it?
Yea. They were going to score. Heads hung in shame. Maybe. I don’t know if anyone really cared all that much. The place was not exactly bumping, despite the arrival of the students. In fact, the band found it necessary to add speakers to augment their audio output. As a result the south end zone was deafening. Really, it was not fun for anyone down there.
It takes an army of Eagles to hold us back.
The only sunburn in B deck.
Click, Click, Click, yawn, click some more. It wasn’t that the game was boring (yet) but the fact that I shot high school football friday night, and my son woke up at 6 a.m. So I began to look around the stadium a bit, a wandering eye for a wandering mind. I saw a fellow spotlighted in the sunlight shining through a entrance. I took his picture. I kept waiting for the stadium to start an O-H-I-O cheer, but by the time it did the light had swung around enough to end the picture. The huge shadow that had been creeping over the stadium now cast its dreadful pall over most of the playing field. The stands were still bright though, the makings of difficult shooting conditions.
The light was dramatic as a pair of Buckeyes rounded the corners and zeroed in on the Eastern Michigan quarter back. One onrushing lineman was enough to make his life flash before his eyes, I am sure. He didn’t even see the second one, behind him.
The Buckeyes were cruising along when an improbable series of events took place. Pryor broke out of the pocket, from shadow to sun. He outran a defender or two, and then leaped another. I shot it. Sort of. It was a nice shot, apart from the part where it was out of focus and I cut off half of Pryor’s helmet. Besides all that, it was pretty sweet. But then Pryor got tripped up and the ball slipped out. It slipped out and hit the ground- and bounced right back into his hand, as if it was on a string. And once again, the Buckeyes were knocking on the door. Sanzenbacher dove into the end zone a few plays later.
Ohio State, 38, EMU 14. (Fourteen! Goodness gracious!)
Halftime, with the usual epic band performance. They placed the A-team theme. When I was in first grade, my friends made me be Murdock. I don’t know what that says about me, or my friends.
It took what seemed like a minute for Dane Sanzenbacher to scoot across the line for yet another touchdown. The crowd, what was left, went wild.
As the third quarter moved along, the depth chart released its treasures upon the field. Johnathan Hankins, a 335-pound freshman lineman from Dearborn heights, Michigan blasted through the line and mowed down Eastern Michigan’s quarterback. Crushed him. Then he got up and celebrated. It was a fine sight. It might have been his first sack.
Hankins, incedentally, is a shot-putter and member of his high school drama club. So there you go.
If you look closely, you can see his eyes are closed. He is that good.
These photos are extra large for your Pryor touchdown viewing pleasure.
I was looking for a lineman to add to my collection when I noticed a pass flying through the air toward the end zone. I followed it, and found Pryor waiting for it, wide, wide, wide open. He made a not-very-pretty catch and backed into the end zone. It was starting to feel like practice. I looked around the stands. The remaining fans in the upper deck were getting lonely.
The Eagles of Eastern Michigan were enough of a thorn in the Buckeyes side that various sections of the stadium, mostly the northerly Block O, were singing that enchanting ditty proclaiming their love for all things Michigan.
As the fourth quarter dawned, I plopped down in the south end zone and waited. Perhaps the Buckeyes would come to me. And if they didn’t, well that would be ok too. The sidelines, never really particularly crowded during the course of the game, were even less so now. The speakers amplifying the band had disappeared.
The parking lot action was less predictable.
I sat in the end zone, watching the clock click down. The stadium was emptying rapidly. I noticed fans around the very upper reaches of the stadium turning around and watching the goings on in the parking lot below. It might have been more entertaining. And of course, Eastern Michigan kept passing, and stopping the clock. A photographer beside me noted the game has been going on for three and a half hours.
Look into my eyes as I stiff arm you.
And the Buckeyes couldn’t help themselves. Jordan Hall busted off a long run, after a toss from Bauserman, right into the end zone, taking up precious few seconds. I would have done the same thing, had I the ability. But the Buckeyes could have dragged it out a little bit longer. Because EMich kept on trying to score, and failing, and of course stopping the clock.
I think I can, I think I can.
Next possession, Jamaal Berry took off on a 67-yard run down the sideline, seeming to huff and puff all the way. He looked a little winded as the glided into the end zone. He can really move, that Berry.
Further down the depth chart.
Next thing I knew, a fellow named Carlos Hyde was smashing his way through the EMich line. Hyde, a freshman from Naples Florida, is not on the depth chart.
Dear Alma Mater — O hi o.
I missed Guiton’s touchdown run that put the game out of reach late because I was in the stands finding a position to shoot Carmen Ohio. It was lacking the magic of a close game Carmen. Such is life. It was still a fine game to attend, to witness the offense really clicking, even if it was against an, ahem, lesser opponent. I wondered if Tressel called off the dogs or kept on stomping the corpse of the EMich Eagle. I think he called off the dogs, I just think that the third- and fourth-stringers were so amped up to get in the game they went off. I can’t blame them. There can’t be too many better feelings in football than gliding across the white line and into the scarlet.
Now you can do several things:
Join the OSUAA.
View a photo gallery of the game.
or you could become an OSUAA fan on Facebook.
You could like me, because who doesn’t like a liking?
Keep track of updates to this blog and follow the doings at the OSUAA by reading the Association’s blog.
Or you could take a look at last season by looking at previous posts.