There’s a bonus roundtable for BlogPollers to deal with this week. Coming off the fiasco that was (or “is now and ever shall be”, if you’re a Sooner fan) Oregon’s still-listed-in-the-annals-of-history win over Oklahoma last weekend, Sunday Morning QB asks:
What gridiron memory sears you so deeply, down to your appropriately-colored veins, that a simple acknowledgement, a “sorry” from the proper source – even if it didn’t change the outcome – would lift a burden and cleanse a scarred corner of the soul? What injustice do you still carry, and want officially recognized?
There are plenty of moments in BG’s history that I’d love to see changed. Fat punters and third quarter brain cramps among the top five. But this was leaning toward mistakes, errors and straight-out screwjobs by referees and others that weren’t wearing pads or a headset. In all my thinking, I really can’t come up with an obvious flag that keeps me from sleep at night. I don’t remember the exact circumstances, but in 1992 at Ohio State, BG linebacker Akili Hutchinson drew a 15-yard penalty and ejection after making a tackle into the OSU bench and allowing himself to be gang-raped on his way back to the field. There was also an obvious PI call/non-call late in a fairly tight game that many others remember better than I. BG lost that game 17-6.
For my final answer, I think I have to go back to the ‘Shoe. September 20, 2003 and BG was two weeks removed from beating a then-decent Purdue team in West Lafayette. A few player errors aside, BG is down seven with maybe two minutes left. Ohio State is facing third and short, and hand the ball to Lydell Ross, who never gets a handle and the ball hits the turf near midfield. Ross and about six Falcons hit the dirt, BG comes away with the ball as the official signals 4th down. Ohio State runs some more time, then punts. BG connects on a few passes to get inside OSU territory, and a throw to the end zone intended for CB-turned-sudden-WR Janssen Patton (WTF!?!?!) is knocked away by Chris Gamble, who, replays would later show, was giving Patton a full Asian massage as the ball was coming down. No way a MAC school gets that call in Ohio Stadium, and BG is intercepted on the next play, a desperation pass as time all but ran out.
The way the BG teams were, and had proven against the Boilermakers weeks before, there is no doubt in my mind that they would have found the endzone given the ball at midfield with 1:30-ish left. Whether they’d have played for OT or laid the nuts on the grass and gone for two is another issue, but I believe the opportunity to make that call would have been there. Incidentally, that was the day that MAC schools were beating semi-top flight BCS schools from coast to coast, and even though the Falcons had started that trend two weeks earlier, they were left as a mere footnote of “close, but no cigar” when that day was recalled.
The only other two losses that season were to a Ben Roethlisberger-led Miami(OH) team and included an appearance by ESPN College Gameday at Doyt Perry Stadium for their game with Northern Illinois. A bowl win over Northwestern (who, at 0-2 all time vs. BG is officially our Big Ten bitch) capped off a wonderful season that could have been so much more.