For the Love of the Buckeyes: An A to Z Primer for Buckeye Fans of All Agesby Frederick C. Klein, Mark Anderson (Illustrator), Archie Griffin (Foreword by)
Expressing the passion felt for the Buckeyes using all 26 letters of the alphabet accompanied by rhymes, colorful illustrations, and informative text, this tribute to the Ohio State football team explores the sports obsession in a fresh and humorous way. Readers will enjoy fun facts and amusing illustrations of some of the most famous—and infamous—
Expressing the passion felt for the Buckeyes using all 26 letters of the alphabet accompanied by rhymes, colorful illustrations, and informative text, this tribute to the Ohio State football team explores the sports obsession in a fresh and humorous way. Readers will enjoy fun facts and amusing illustrations of some of the most famous—and infamous—characters in Ohio State history, including Hopalong Cassady, Eddie George, Archie Griffin, Woody Hayes, Troy Smith, Chris Spielman, Jack Tatum, and Jim Tressel.
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For the Love of the Buckeyes
An A-to-Z Primer for Buckeye Fans of All Ages
By Frederick C. Klein, Mark Anderson
Triumph BooksCopyright © 2008 Frederick C. Klein
All rights reserved.
"A" is for The Assassin; For Tatum, it fit. When he hit a ball carrier The poor guy stayed hit.
Jack Tatum was recruited as a running back but was switched to cornerback his first year of college. He stayed there and earned a reputation as one of the hardest tacklers ever to play the position. He started on the Buckeyes' national-champion 1968 team and was a consensus All-Amercan in 1969 and 1970. His teams won 27 of their 29 games in his three seasons in Columbus. He later starred for the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League.
"B" is for Buckeye Grove, Also for The Band. When it comes to tradition The Bucks lead the land.
Ohio State football is encased in a rich patina of lore. Buckeye Grove near Ohio Stadium, begun in 1934, contains a buckeye tree planted in honor of each OSU player who achieves first-team All-American status. Players run through the Tunnel of Pride, formed by former players, in each home game against Michigan, and receive a charm depicting a pair of gold football pants if they win that big annual game. The list goes on. The Buckeye Marching Band, 225-members strong, is famous for lending color and excitement to the gridiron spectacle.
"C" is for Cassady, A lad who had "hop." In the Fifties he led His teams to the top.
Howard "Hopalong" Cassady, nicknamed for a popular Western-movie character, wasn't big (he stood 5' 10" and weighed about 175 pounds) but was one of the quickest and most versatile backs ever to play for OSU. As a junior the Columbus native was the leading rusher, pass receiver, and kick returner on the 1954 national-championship team, and was an outstanding defensive back as well. He was even better the next year on his way to becoming a landslide winner of the Heisman Trophy, given to the season's outstanding collegiate player. When he graduated in 1955 he held OSU career records for rushing yardage (2,466), all-purpose yards (4,403), and scoring (222 points).
"D" is for DOSS, His game was defense; His look was ferocious, His manner intense.
Mike Doss, from Canton, Ohio, was a defensive back for the Buckeyes from 1999 through 2002. Equally adept at stopping the run and pass, he was a four-year starter at safety and a three-time All-American. One of his best games was his last — the 2003 Fiesta Bowl against Miami that made the Bucks national titleholders. There he made or assisted on nine tackles and his second-quarter pass interception and 35-yard runback set up his team's first touchdown in the 31-24 overtime win.
"E" is for Eddie, Who ran tall and straight. For the Bucks in '95, He carried the freight.
At 6'3" Eddie George was tall for a modern-day tailback and his straight-up running style accentuated his height, but his 1995 season was the best for any OSU runner. He gained 100 yards or more rushing in 12 of his team's 13 games that year, including a one-game school record of 314 against Illinois; his season total of 1,927 yards is also a record. His efforts earned him the Heisman Trophy, the sixth for a Buckeye. He later had an excellent professional career with the Tennessee Titans.
"F" is for Fesler, A do-everything guy. As a player and coach He hit the bull's eye.
Few college athletes have had careers equal to that of Wes Fesler at Ohio State. The Youngstown native was a three-time All-American in football (1928, 1929, and 1930), an All-American in basketball (1931), and a standout on the baseball team. His main position in football was end but he sometimes took to the backfield to run or pass for touchdowns. After graduation he went into coaching and worked as head football coach at Wesleyan, Pitt, Ohio State, and Minnesota, and head basketball coach at Harvard and Princeton. His 1949 OSU team was a Big Ten co-champion and beat California in the Rose Bowl.
"G" is for Griffin, That's Archie, first-name. Two Heisman Trophies Cemented his fame.
The first time he carried the ball for Ohio State, as a freshman in 1972, Archie Griffin fumbled and was removed from the game. Given another chance the next week against North Carolina the compactly built back ran for a then-school-record 239 yards, and his star was launched. He went on to set OSU marks for career rushing (5,589 yards) and all-purpose yards (6,559), and is the only player to win two Heisman Trophies (in 1974 and 1975). Later he became an assistant athletics director at the university and president of its alumni association.
"H" is for Harley and Horvath, Two true "triple threats." With them Buckeye football Was as good as it gets.
Charles "Chic" Harley was OSU's first nationally famous football star, a tailback who could run, pass, and kick with the best. In 1916 he led the Buckeyes to their first unbeaten and untied season and in 1919 sparked their first win over Michigan. Les Horvath played that same multitalent role in the early 1940s. His 1942 team went 9-1 and finished first in the Associated Press national-championship poll. In 1944 he recorded more than 1,200 all-purpose yards and became the first Buckeye winner of the Heisman Trophy.
"I" is the letter that gets the big dot. For a Buckeye the honor cannot be forgot.
The Buckeye Marching Band first made its "Script Ohio" formation in 1936, and dotting the "i" became a highlighted ritual the next year. Usually the honor is given to a band member, but various notable Ohioans also have been singled out for such recognition. Among these have been Woody Hayes, the longtime Buckeye football coach, comedian Bob Hope, and golfing great Jack Nicklaus.
"J" is for Janowitz, Who had lots of "go." In '50 he carved His name in the snow.
Vic Janowitz was another triple-threat tailback in the mold of Harley and Horvath, although he probably was a better punter and place-kicker than either of them. He won the 1950 Heisman Trophy despite his team's 6-3 won-lost record and second-place Big Ten finish. Ironically, he's best remembered for a game OSU lost — the November 25, 1950, "Snow Bowl" contest with Michigan, played in Columbus during a frigid blizzard. On a day when ball handling was nearly impossible, Janowitz supplied the only offensive score, a 38-yard field goal that was considered miraculous under the conditions. All of Michigan's points in the 9-3 outcome came on Buckeye turnovers. Janowitz punted 21 times that day, a school record that probably will never be broken.
"K" is for Kern, Who had a cool hand. His '68 unit Met every demand.
Rex Kern didn't have a powerful throwing arm, but his short-passing accuracy and composure under fire made him the perfect quarterback for the 1968 Buckeyes, Woody Hayes' best team. With other stars such as fullback Jim Otis, offensive-tackle Rufus Mayes, middle-guard Jim Stillwagon, and cornerback Jack Tatum, that squad completed its regular season with a 9-0 record and defeated an O.J. Simpson-led Southern California team in the Rose Bowl. Kern threw two touchdown passes and ran for 35 yards in that game, and was named the contest's Most Valuable Player.
"L" is for Linebacker, The team set a high bar With Spielman, Tom Cousineau, And Randy Gradishar.
Powerful linebacking long has been a characteristic of Ohio State teams, and Chris Spielman, Tom Cousineau, and Randy Grandishar were among the best at the position. Spielman, from Massilon, played from 1984 through 1987 and is the school's all-time solo-tackles leader with 283. Cousineau (1975-1978), from Lakewood, and Gradishar (1971-73), from Champion, also rank high in many career defensive categories. All three players received first-team All-American mention after two of their collegiate seasons, and Gradishar was an Academic All-American to boot.
"M" is for Michigan, Which all good Bucks despise. A win over those guys is always a top prize.
Ohio State versus Michigan is one of the nation's premier college football rivalries: the annual November clash is a national television fixture, usually with bowl bids and poll rankings at stake. Michigan got off to a good start in the series, winning 13 of the first 15 games with two ties, but the Buckeyes have just about evened things since and the tally through 2007 had Michigan ahead, 57 — 41 — 6. In 2006, for the first time, the two teams met ranked No. 1 (OSU) and No. 2 (Michigan) nationally. Ohio State won a 42-39 thriller to capture the Big Ten title and the right to play in the Bowl Championship Series title game.
"N" is for Nugent, He of the golden toe. His kicks split the uprights, and brought woe to the foe.
Mike Nugent, from Centerville, was the most accurate and productive place-kicker in Ohio State history; when he graduated in 2004 he held or tied 22 school records, including the ones for most career points (356), most field goals (72), and highest field-goal percentage (.818). During a 2001-2002 span he kicked 24 field goals without a miss. In 2004 he won the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top collegiate place-kicker and became the only pure kicker to be named OSU's Most Valuable Player.
"O" is for Ohio Stadium, A "Shoe" that's always fit. To visitors the place may seem More like a big snake pit.
Ohio Stadium, called "The Horseshoe" or, simply, "The 'Shoe" because of its "U" shape, was opened in 1922 with a seating capacity of 66,210. It has been expanded several times and currently seats 102,329 people, making it one of the world's largest sporting venues. The Buckeyes' record there of 373-104-20 through 2007 attests to the enthusiastic home support the team receives.
Excerpted from For the Love of the Buckeyes by Frederick C. Klein, Mark Anderson. Copyright © 2008 Frederick C. Klein. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books.
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Meet the Author
Frederick C. Klein is a longtime writer and editor for the Wall Street Journal, where he originated the "On Sports" column. He is a freelance writer and the author of many books, including several other entries in the For the Love of . . . series. He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. Mark Anderson is an illustrator whose work has appeared on the back cover of National Geographic, the New Yorker, and Time and inside the Atlantic Monthly, BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, Outside, and many other periodicals. He is the illustrator and designer of Triumph Books' popular For the Love of . . . series. He lives in Chicago. Archie Griffin is a former running back for the Cincinnati Bengals. He won four Big Ten Conference titles with the Ohio State Buckeyes, was the first player ever to start in four Rose Bowls, and is college football's only two-time Heisman Trophy winner.
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