Monday, November 24th, 2008
By Gary R. Rasberry
It was a memorable Saturday for Boeckman
COLUMBUS - It was a great ending for the long and winding career for Todd Boeckman.
The St. Henry native and Ohio State quarterback went through a season where he started out as the returning starting quarterback and finished as the backup as the Buckeyes went with freshman standout Terrelle Pryor. On Saturday, Boeckman helped the Buckeyes extend their winning streak over the University of Michigan to a record five games with a 42-7 win Saturday on Senior Day at Ohio Stadium, snaring a piece of the Big Ten title in the process.
Boeckman came into the game early in the fourth quarter and made his first pass a big one with an 18-yard touchdown toss to Brian Hartline for the final Buckeye score of the game.
Boeckman, who completed all three of his passes for 64 yards, also became the first Buckeye to conclude his career with five sets of gold pants, a charm given to each OSU player after a win over the Wolverines, a feat that likely will not be topped.
"It's unbelievable to be a part of this team," said Boeckman, a captain for the Buckeyes. "Having five pairs of gold pants, that speaks for itself. I'm so excited for this team. This team means so much to me. I still got chills."
The day started with emotion as Boeckman went through the Tunnel of Pride for the last time, greeting coach Jim Tressel, then parents Tim and Denise at the end of the tunnel.
As his name was called over the loudspeakers as senior players were introduced, the cheers were loud and hearty, a far cry from the Troy game where he was booed by some fans after an imcomplete pass. The cheers for Boeckman were one of the loudest, bettered only by those for All-American linebacker James Laurinaitis and Tyson Gentry, who was paralyzed in a 2006 spring practice but remained a part of the team.
"It was very emotional. It meant a lot to me just going out there and telling my parents 'Thanks for everything.'" said Boeckman. "They've done a lot for me. They're excited for me and I'm so thankful they're part of my life."
As the Buckeyes pulled away from Michigan in the third quarter, Boeckman began to warm up to take some snaps in the game. As he came in after the Buckeyes recovered a fumble on the kickoff, the chant of "Boeckman, Boeckman" began to rise among the fans.
"There were guys around me telling me that," said Boeckman of the chant. "I didn't really think about it. After someone told me about it, I could hear it. ... It felt pretty good after that."
After two handoffs to classmate Maurice Wells, Boeckman, from the shotgun at the Michigan 18, found Hartline over the middle for the score.
Boeckman admitted after the game that the scoring play wasn't exactly the play that was called in the huddle.
"It wasn't really the route drawn up," admitted Boeckman. "Knowing Brian Hartline for a while, you just kind of see that opening. We both kind of saw it. It felt good to get that ball in the end zone."
Boeckman later added a 46-yard pass to Brian Robiskie and a pass for no yards to Maurice Wells before handling off the rest of the way.
As Boeckman talked to the crowd of media looking to talk to him, he talked about the week he had in getting ready for his final home game.
"It was very emotional," said Boeckman. "Any time you come into Ohio State, knowing it's your last game, it was tough. Being out there and playing they way we did, it felt really good for all the seniors.
"The last five years, I've had some ups and downs. I'm excited where we're at right now. It's been the world to me to be part of this football program and be part of history. Looking back, I've had so much fun, it's been a lot for me."
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Mostly cloudy, snow