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2008 BCS Fiesta Bowl – Ohio State Buckeyes Come Oh So Close, But Texas Wins in the End, 24-21

The 2008 BCS Fiesta Bowl turned out to be a very good game of football, but truth be told, the aftermath did little to resolve the impressions left on both teams and left lingering doubts on two of the biggest and best major college football programs in the nation-Texas and Ohio State.

That was the ticket to the game: No. 3-ranked Texas was a one-loss team still hurting from not being selected to play in the BCS National Championship Game; that honor went to two other one-loss teams — No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Oklahoma. No. 10-ranked Ohio State had lost its last two BCS bowl games and was eager to shake off the losing streak because both losses had come in the last two national championship games against Florida and Florida. of Louisiana.

That was the game: Despite being favored by 9.5 points and averaging over 43 points per game during the regular season, the Texas Longhorns were limited to 3 points in the 1st halftime as the Ohio State Buckeye defense held off, taking a 6-3 lead to the locker room.

After Longhorn junior quarterback Colt McCoy’s 3rd quarter scores on a 14-yard run and a 7-yard pass to senior wide receiver Quan Cosby, Texas took a 17-6 lead.

In the 4th quarter, Ohio State narrowed the margin to 17-15 on a 44-yard field goal from junior Aaron Pettrey and a 5-yard pass from senior quarterback Todd Boeckman to freshman quarterback Terrell Pryor.

Buckeye’s defense held Texas 3-and-over, then Boeckman led Ohio State on a 73-yard drive capped by running back Daniel Herron’s freshman 15-yard rusher to pay for the dirt . A 2-yard pass from Boeckman went incomplete, leaving the Buckeyes with a 21-17 lead and 2:11 remaining.

When a camera covering the game stopped on the sideline, the players on the Ohio State bench were all smiles and began to celebrate; never a good idea with so much time left in the game and an explosive Texas offense in possession.

Enter Colt McCoy. From his 22-yard line, McCoy completes passes for 6, 7 13, 7, 3, 14 and finally a 26-yard pass to Cosby that made Ohio State defenders look stupid and out of position. Cosby caught a short pass down the middle, slipped in a tackle and sprinted towards the goal line before diving into the end zone with 23 seconds left. Joy on the sidelines at Ohio State turned to disbelief and grief.

Buckeye quarterback Todd Boeckman had the ball with exactly 11 seconds left and 55 yards from the paying dirt when he was promptly sacked for a 10-yard loss as Buckeye’s offensive line was badly battered as they had to hold on and let Boeckman try to complete a miraculous pass. On the next play with 5 seconds left, the pass fell incomplete, and it was the game.

That was the impression after the game: Texas won, and coach Mack Brown and star quarterback Colt McCoy were gushing out of victory like a geyser in a national park. You’d think Texas beat Florida and Oklahoma on the same afternoon when, in fact, nothing could erase Texas’ loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders earlier in the year.

Texas players may be legends in their own mind, but the Texas Tech Red Raiders and many other college football fans aren’t so convinced.

The simple fact is that Utah has a better chance of being kicked out of the BCS National Title game than Texas. Utah was undefeated at 13-0 this year and humiliated Alabama in the BCS Sugar Bowl; all other competitors suffered at least one embarrassing loss.

For Ohio State, it was the third straight loss in a BCS bowl game for the 3rd straight year, making it easier to forget that Ohio State won the national championship 6 years ago. One annoying memory is seeing all the stars on Buckeye players’ helmets like they were King Kong come to life only to see how helpless and stupid they looked when the defense that held Texas so well at the start couldn’t get the job done when it finally mattered.

If I was Jim Tressel and coach at Ohio State, those stars on the helmets would be removed and remain removed until the Buckeyes win another national championship or at least another BCS game. When you’re strutting around and can’t get over it, you look ridiculous. Just ask someone who can back it up, like Joe Namath.

Copyright © 2009 Ed Bagley

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