What does clutch mean to you?
In the heat of the NBA Playoffs when you think of the word clutch you probably think of Lebron, Kobe, MJ, Bird or Magic. When I think of clutch I personally think of Ohio State football. Let’s take a look at my top five Ohio State Football clutch moments!
5.) A.J. Hawk makes a name of himself against NC State
In September of 2003 No. 24 NC State came into the Shoe with All-American quarterback Phillip Rivers and was looking to knock off the defending National Champions. It took three overtimes but senior quarterback Craig Krenzel had one heck of a performance! Philip Rivers pulled off one heck of a comeback being down 24-7 in the fourth quarter. Rivers tied the game by the end of regulation. It took a third and final overtime when quarterback Craig Krenzel hit tight end Ryan Hamby for a 2-yard touchdown making that the game winner before the stingy Buckeye defense would make a huge stop on the goal line led by sophomore linebacker A.J. Hawk. I can assure that was one heck of a clutch performance by the 2003 Ohio State Buckeyes.
4.) J.T. Barrett vs. Penn State 2017
On a cold and rainy day in the Shoe in 2017 the No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions came into town led by All-American running back Saquon Barkley. At the time this was the biggest game of the college football season. Penn State jumped out to a 15 point lead before Denzel Ward made a huge play by blocking a Penn State punt! J.T. Barrett led the Buckeyes to a unbelievable performance going 13 for 13 and three touchdowns to beat the No. 2 Nittany Lions. I was glad to see and be a part of the moment in the Horseshoe.
3.) Joe Germaine becomes Joe Cool out in Pasadena
New Years Day of 1997 the Buckeyes were in the Rose Bowl against a Jake Plummer led Arizona State Sun Devil team. It was a close game all afternoon when Plummer scored a touchdown late in the 4th quarter to take a 17-14 lead. Ohio State quarterback Joe Germaine led the Buckeyes across the field to hit wide receiver David Boston for the game winning touchdown with 19 seconds left. Germaine and Buckeyes would win the Rose Bowl and he became the MVP of the Rose Bowl. This game is one of my first memories as a Buckeye fan.
2.) Maurice Clarett and Craig Krenzel carry the Buckeyes to a National Championship over the University of Miami
The Miami Hurricanes came into Tempe as a very confident football team. A team defending their National Championship. This team was loaded and led by Heisman hopefuls Willis McGahee and Ken Dorsey. Ohio State took an early lead after a rare Dorsey interception to All-American safety Mike Doss which was followed by a heck of a play by Maurice Clarett. Clarett stripped Miami safety Sean Taylor after he picked off a Craig Krenzel pass. With the score being 17-7 in the second half Miami bounced back without Willis McGahee after he left with a gruesome knee injury. The first overtime consisted of a Miami Kellen Winslow Jr. touchdown catch and what Miami fans would say what was very controversial pass interference call on the Miami defense. Miami players rushed the field thinking they won. Controversial or not the call was made! Krenzel would score the very next run with a 1-yard TD run. In the second overtime RB Maurice Clarett would score a 4-yard touchdown to take the lead 31-24. It would come down to one final play. Fourth and goal from the 3-yard line, linebacker Cie Grant blitzed from the outside forcing Dorsey to just throw the ball away. Buckeyes would go on and win their 7th National Championship and first one since 1970! The 2003 Fiesta Bowl and BCS Title game was one for ages!
1.) Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott three games of Fury
Even Hollywood could not right a better drama script than what the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes did on the field. In August 2014 the Urban Meyer led Buckeyes lost 2-time All-Big Ten selection quarterback Braxton Miller for the season. The Buckeyes then led by freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett went on a 9-1 run and was cruising to a third straight victory over TTUN. Late in the 3rd quarter J.T. Barrett went down with a broken ankle. After the injury Ezekiel Elliott would rush across the field for a touchdown and the Buckeyes beat TTUN! In the Big Ten Championship game vs. the Wisconsin Badgers third-string quarterback Cardale Jones would earn one of the best nicknames in college football. “12 Gauge” would go on to have an MVP performance! Jones would go 12 for 17 with 257 yards and three touchdowns, but he didn’t do it alone as Elliott added 20 carries for 220 yards and two touchdowns. The Buckeyes cruised to a 59-0 victory! This was the first year for the College Football Playoff era! When he Buckeyes we’re selected into the College Football Playoff, they got matched up with the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Jones and Elliott were not afraid as they both rolled over the Crimson Tide being the first duo to lead an offense to over 500 yards in quite some time! Although Jones turned the ball over a couple times, he made big plays with his legs by getting crucial first downs by running over players like safety Landon Collins. Elliott rushed for 230 yards on 20 carries adding 2 touchdowns. Elliott would have an 85-yard “straight down the heart of the south” game sealing touchdown! Ohio State would advance to the first ever College Football Playoff National Championship in Dallas against Oregon!
The first ever College Football Playoff National Championship was not a close one as Elliott and Jones cruised to a 42-20 victory! Oregon was led by Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota! Jones had lack of touchdowns in this game but he made some plays through the air and with his legs! It was Elliott’s 246 yards and four touchdowns that led the Buckeyes to their 8th National Championship! I can tell you that Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott had greatest clutch performances in the three games of fury en route to a National Championship!