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OU win, a perfect college game

Although it was overshadowed by the bigger names of the weekend, chiefly Ohio State vs. Texas and Michigan vs. Notre Dame, Ohio’s overtime victory over Pittsburgh proved to be the most exciting and satisfying game of the entire weekend.

Even though the game featured no scoring from either offense (scoring was accounted for by the special teams and defense) it was still one of the most exciting games I’ve had the privilege of watching. I guess you could call it the most exciting boring game in college football history.

Watching a game like Ohio’s stunning 16-10 victory over Pittsburgh makes you realize how spoiled we all are as Falcon fans. We expect great things out of a great team, and when that happens it is easy to become cynical.

Thank God teams like the Ohio Bobcats are around to give you a proper perspective, and make you remember all over again why you love the game of college football.

It was riveting television.

You couldn’t make up a better story if you tried. On one side you have former NFL coach Dave Wannstedt coaching his alma mater Pittsburgh Panthers. The Panthers began the year ranked in the top 25 and were the Big East champions last season.

On the other side you have the perpetual doormat of the MAC the Ohio Bobcats. In a latest attempt at respectability they hired former Nebraska head coach Frank Solich. Solich, a man wronged by Nebraska, was looking for a little redemption since being fired after a nine win campaign with the Cornhuskers and taking a year away from football.

The Bobcats, of course, were preaching what teams always do when they bring in a new face; a new direction, a new sense of purpose and a chance at success. The fans, a record 24,535 of them, were ready to believe and came out in full force to support their team in Athens with 10,000 pairs of thunder sticks in hand and voices turned up to 11.

The game was the first nationally televised game in Ohio since 1969 and the feeling in the crowd was electrifying, even through the limited medium of the television. It was classic theater. A little David (Ohio) and Goliath (Pitt) mixed with a classic Rocky motif.

The game started badly for the Bobcats, playing the role of Rocky. They were sucker punched at the very beginning of the game when they gave up a touchdown on the opening kickoff. But, the fans never lost the faith and neither did the players.

They played inspired defense and Solich just flat-out out coached Wannstedt. They had the heart of champions, even if their talent level isn’t to that level. They led the majority of the game thanks to a interception return for a touchdown by Dion Byrum and a field goal by Brooks Rossman.

Ohio led almost the entire game, only to play soft contain defense and let Pittsburgh tie the game and send it into overtime. It looked like it may be a fatal blow to the Bobcats. But in classic Rocky fashion the game’s hero, Byrum delivered the knockout haymaker with another interception return for a touchdown. It was the perfect ending to a perfect game. You couldn’t write it any better.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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