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Greatest Games - Ohio State-Miami 2003
Miami RB Willis McGahee
Miami RB Willis McGahee
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 18, 2011


Miami's Greatest Games: Ohio State 31 ... Miami 24 2OT January 3, 2003 Fiesta Bowl



CFN's Greatest Games

Ohio State 31, Miami 24, 2003 Fiesta


Miami's Greatest Games
- 1984: Miami 31, Nebraska 30 | CFN All-Time Miami Team
- 1989: Miami 27, Notre Dame 10 | 1993: Alabama 34, Miami 13
- 1987: Penn State 14, Miami 10 | 1986: Miami 28, Oklahoma 16
- 1988: Notre Dame 31, Miami 30 | 1984: BC 47, Miami 45
- 1984: Maryland 42, Miami 40 | 1991: Miami 17, Florida St 16
- 1987: Miami 26, Florida St 25 | 2003: Ohio St 31, Miami 24 2OT

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Ohio State 31 ... Miami 24 2OT January 3, 2003 Fiesta Bowl

Ohio State had struggled through the regular season, but was still 13-0 going into the Fiesta Bowl against what was widely thought to be an unbeatable Miami team.

No one game the Buckeyes a chance (except CFN, which called the upset and got ripped to shreds for it).

Led by Ken Dorsey and fellow Heisman finalist Willis McGahee, the defending national champions appeared to have way too much speed, way too much talent, and way too much big game experience for the young Buckeyes. After all, this was an Ohio State team that barely escaped alive against mediocre teams like Cincinnati, Purdue and Illinois.

After taking a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter on a Dorsey strike to Roscoe Parrish, Miami appeared to be on its way to an easy title. Ohio State's offense was solid, but it wasn’t built to pull off a comeback if the Canes got up big, and it looked like there would be a problem after not getting a first down until late in the first quarter.

The Buckeyes were unable to get much going offensively, so they got a bit tricky in the second quarter, trying to get a first down on a fake field goal rather than have Mike Nugent kick a sure 35-yarder. They appeared desperate, but it was still early.

On the ensuing drive, safety Mike Doss picked off a Dorsey pass to give the Buckeyes some momentum, but quarterback Craig Krenzel was stuffed on third down on the goal line and the offense appeared to have stalled again. Instead, head coach Jim Tressel chose to go for it and Krenzel was barely able to get in to tie the game.

The momentum stayed with the Buckeyes as Kenny Peterson forced a Dorsey fumble on the ensuing drive. After all the problems and all the stalls, Ohio State managed to go into halftime with an improbably 14-7 lead after Maurice Clarett busted through the line for a touchdown.

The Buckeyes had all the momentum going into the second half, and appeared to take control after Krnezel connected on a 57-yard pass play to Chris Gamble.

But disaster almost struck.

Miami's Sean Taylor came up with a big turnover to prevent an Ohio State touchdown and was on his way down the field, but Clarett was able to chase him down and ripped the ball away from behind to give the Buckeyes the ball back. They made the most of the swing with a 44-yard Nugent field goal for a 17-7 lead.

Even with the lead, things weren't going perfectly for OSU. Miami's offense was starting to get rolling as tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. started to make big plays, while McGahee was finding his groove. But it was all about to come apart.

McGahee was quickly and decisively blowing past the tiring Buckeye front seven, but just as it looked like he'd take over the game he suffered a blown out knee. Miami couldn't seem to catch a break as Todd Sievers barely missed a 54-yard field goal that would've tied up the game.

Ohio State was getting the job done by keeping the high-powered Canes off the board, but the offense couldn't find a way to run out the clock allowing Dorsey one last drive for a national title, set up by a tremendous punt return by Roscoe Parrish. He got his Canes into a position, but the offense couldn’t get the touchdown and Sievers came through to put the game into overtime.

In the first OT, the Canes scored on a seven-yard touchdown pass to Winslow on its possession, and they appeared to have the national championship won when Glenn Sharpe broke up a pass in the end zone on fourth down. Miami started to celebrate, but very late a flag came on the field; Sharpe was nailed for a controversial pass interference penalty and the game was still alive.

The Buckeyes took advantage as Krenzel punched it in for one-yard TD run, and they took the 31-24 lead on a Clarett five-yard touchdown run on its possession in the second overtime.

But Miami had one more shot.

Dorsey took a bit shot and got his bell rung, being forced to come out on the biggest drive of the year. After a few time outs, he was able to come back in and managed to complete a perfect fourth down pass to Winslow to keep the national title hopes alive.

First and goal on the six - pass interference on Chris Gamble to give the Canes first and goal from the one. Jarrett Payton was stopped.

Second and goal. Dorsey couldn't connect with a wide-open Eric Winston.

Third and goal. Nope. Stuffed.

Fourth and the national title from the one. Ohio State got pressure on Dorsey forcing a prayer that went nowhere, and the Buckeyes had the national title.

Miami's Greatest Games
- 1984: Miami 31, Nebraska 30 | CFN All-Time Miami Team
- 1989: Miami 27, Notre Dame 10 | 1993: Alabama 34, Miami 13
- 1987: Penn State 14, Miami 10 | 1986: Miami 28, Oklahoma 16
- 1988: Notre Dame 31, Miami 30 | 1984: BC 47, Miami 45
- 1984: Maryland 42, Miami 40 | 1991: Miami 17, Florida St 16
- 1987: Miami 26, Florida St 25 | 2003: Ohio St 31, Miami 24 2OT