Legendary Ohio State football team named to most hated list

The 2002 Ohio State football team won every single game. Apparently, that's enough to make other fanbases hate you.

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While Ohio State’s 2002 national champions are one of the most beloved teams in school history, it seems others don’t share that warm, fuzzy feeling. Those Ohio State football legends are included on 247Sports’ list of all-time most hated college football teams. The 2002 champs are number seven on the list.

It doesn’t take much to figure out why they make this list. The writer of the article, Brad Crawford, points to the pass interference call on Miami in the second overtime that kept the Buckeyes alive in their Fiesta Bowl meeting. He says Miami fans still want an explanation from Terry Porter, the official who called the penalty on exactly what he saw when Hurricane cornerback Glenn Sharpe blanketed OSU receiver Chris Gamble. I can tell you what he saw because I was there.

I spent over 27 years working as a TV news photographer and covered that game. I was shooting highlights from the back of the opposite end zone of where the play in question occurred. Porter saw Gamble come off the line of scrimmage and stop just beyond the goal line.

This surprised Sharpe and, as he continued by Gamble, reached out and grabbed his jersey. With the ball in the air, Sharpe continued to grab at and impede Gamble while making no attempt to play the ball. Porter called Sharpe for BOTH defensive holding AND pass interference.

He was in a perfect position to make the call and had an unobstructed view. A defensive player who grabs and continues to make contact with a receiver while making no attempt at the ball will be called for a penalty without fail. Porter saw this and rightly called two penalties.

Referring to what Sharpe did as blanket coverage is laughable. He had just been burned by Micheal Jenkins for 17 yards on a 4th and 14 that could have ended the game a few plays previous. He was bound and determined to stop Gamble in any way he could. Fortunately for Buckeye fans, Porter had the guts to make the correct call in a very tough situation.

There have been claims that it took Porter forever to throw the flag. Some have said three seconds. Others, like Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated, claimed five seconds. From my vantage point, I saw exactly how Porter reacted. When the play ended, he did not hesitate to signal incomplete and then reach for his flag.

He was not frantic in his actions, but rather he was deliberate and decisive. Signaled incomplete and immediately reached for his flag. The claims of Porter throwing the flag as an afterthought do not hold water, because I’ve looked at my tape countless times over the years and know exactly what he did.

Since the writer of the article wants to go there with officiating, let’s go there. Rewind back to late in regulation when the Buckeyes were up three points and the third down pass to Gamble that was ruled incomplete. While running his route, Gamble was the victim of a jersey-stretching hold by Canes’ cornerback Kelly Jennings.

He continued on and made the catch on a low throw from quarterback Craig Krenzel, but it was ruled incomplete. My shot of the play clearly shows Gamble made the catch. It wasn’t even close. So, we have a no-call on a blatant hold and an incorrect ruling on the catch.

If the Buckeyes maintain possession, they run out the clock. On the next play, Ohio State punted to the Hurricanes. As their returner, Roscoe Parrish, is coming up the field. A.J. Hawk is in the perfect position to make the tackle or slow him enough for the pursuit to catch up. As Parrish cuts to his right, Hawk’s sleeve is grabbed by a Miami player.

This isn’t some ticky-tack hold. The player’s arm was fully extended and the jersey stretched. How do I know this? Because it happened right in front of me. Parrish returned the ball 50 yards to the OSU 25-yard line. If Hawk makes the play or the penalty is called, it’s doubtful Miami is able to tie the game.  If you want to go there about officiating, then let’s go there, but you won’t like what you see.

After 22 years, why are we still seeing this dredged up? The answer is simple: the wrong team won the game. That Fiesta Bowl wasn’t just a game to the media, it was to be a coronation of the Hurricanes-winners of two straight national titles and 34 consecutive games.

The media acted like entitled children and felt it was beneath them to cover an Ohio State football team that won some games in an ugly fashion. They couldn’t wait to see Miami stomp the Buckeyes, so they could write all of their flowery articles fawning over the greatness of the Canes. I spent a week seeing all of this up close. In the eyes of the media, the wrong team won and that’s why this has never died.

Considering how intense I can be about this subject, I have no ill will towards the Hurricanes. Leading up to the game, we did a lengthy interview with the family of Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey. They were wonderful, kind, and friendly people. The school’s sports information director was very friendly as well and helped us a great deal in finding a place at the team hotel to do the interview.

On media day, my reporter and I had so much fun doing a segment with about 20-25 of Miami’s backups. My problem is with those in the media. After all these years, they need to take Elsa’s advice in Frozen and let it go.

Next. Next story. Five most underrated recruits in Ohio State football history. dark

Unfortunately, I’m sure this won’t be the last we see of the sequence between Gamble, Sharpe, and Porter. I may be tired of hearing about it, but I’ll never get tired of setting the record straight with what I saw.