We have exclusive Bucknuts video of the ceremony for Ohio State’s 2002 national championship team, including where they hoisted former coach Jim Tressel up on their shoulders to the delight of the Ohio Stadium crowd.
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And we also have celebration video from after Ohio State’s resounding 26-21 win over Michigan.
Fans streamed in from all sides after the final gun and celebrated on the field with the team. We have music from the OSU band after the game and also watch players, students and fans celebrate their team’s 12-0 finish.
Playing without its de facto leader, Ohio State simply would not be denied in its bid for perfection.
The fourth-ranked Buckeyes closed the first year of Urban Meyer’s tenure in Columbus with a rousing 26-21 win over arch-rival and 20th-rated Michigan on a blustery Saturday afternoon at the venerable Horseshoe. This was the 109th edition of college football’s greatest rivalry, known far and wide as The Game. It was played out before a record crowd of 105,899 at Ohio Stadium and a national television audience.
This OSU team, which can’t go to the Big Ten or national championship games due to NCAA probation, found a way to win despite missing All-Big Ten defensive end John Simon. The Buckeyes (12-0, 8-0) also overcame a number of miscues in the course of this game with a stingy second-half defensive effort and a strong running game slamming the door on the visiting Wolverines (8-4, 6-2).
Ohio State can’t go to a bowl game, but that didn’t stop Meyer and his team from celebrating on the Ohio Stadium turf – with thousands of their closest friends – for 20 minutes or more after the game. When it was done, Meyer put the credit on his team’s 20 outgoing seniors, who stayed with the program last winter when they could have easily walked away and played elsewhere immediately.
“The most important thank you goes to our senior class,” Meyer said. “It’s the most selfless group I've ever been around.”
Pending the outcome of tonight’s game between No. 1 Notre Dame and USC in Los Angeles, OSU could end the regular season as the nation’s only unbeaten team. While they can’t play in the BCS national title game, Meyer was asked if OSU merited consideration for the Associated Press media poll national title. Meyer stopped short of taking that bait.
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“The quote I'd like out there is I think this team could play and compete with any team in the United States of America as of now,” Meyer said. “I didn't say that several weeks ago because we couldn't. I'm not going to get into the what ifs and you can't control what you can't control.
“What if we would have done this, what if we would have done this? We're 12-0. I'm going to see to it when you walk into that Woody Hayes facility this team will never be forgotten, because they deserve that.”
The result on Saturday made this Ohio State just the sixth in the 123-year history of the football program to finish undefeated and untied. Ironically, the last time to achieve that feat – the 2002 national championship team – was on hand to celebrate their 10th anniversary.
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