OSU honors ‘Pancake Man’

THE OHIO State players “fed off’ the energy of the crowd and other factors when they defeated Penn State 63-14 Saturday night, and “pancakes” were given special attention in the press box.

OSU head football coach Urban Meyer started off his post-game press conference by noting he wanted to “thank again our great crowd, night game, prime time college football. Fantastic, the crowd, the energy. Our players certainly fed off it, came out of the chute very fast, and I’m very pleased with arguably our best team win.”

In the press box, pancakes weren’t on the menu, but “Pancake Man” Orlando Pace was the star of an impromptu press conference there. He will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December.

OSU and The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame honored Pace during the game. Joining him on the field were his wife, Carla, and their children.

He earned the title, Pancake Man, because of his blocking techniques when he played for OSU from 1994-96. Pace said Saturday when he was walking into the stadium it almost felt like it was 20 years ago.

But, a lot has happened in those two decades, He was the first overall pick by the St. Louis Rams in the 1997 NFL Draft and played for 13 seasons in the league, culminating with the Rams’ Super Bowl XXXIV Championship in 1999. He was named All-Pro five times, and he earned seven Pro Bowl selections.

“I had a great career not only at Ohio State but in the NFL. I don’t have any regrets. I walked away smiling,” said Pace, who was fourth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy in 1996. That award has never been won by an offensive lineman.

Pace, who made history by being the first player to repeat as the Lombardi Trophy winner, now is a part owner of a St. Louis radio station and TITLE Boxing Club in addition to owning rental properties in Ohio, according to USA Today. He also is involved in charitable activities.

That 63-14 score for an OSU-Penn State game isn’t deja vu (unless it’s reverse deja vu if there is such a thing), but Penn State defeated the Buckeyes 63-14 in 1994 with that being the most points given up by OSU to that point since 1902.

Those 63 points Saturday are the third most allowed in the Nittany Lions’ history.

They allowed 64 points to the Duquesne Athletic Club in 1899 and 106 points at Lehigh in 1889. Not only was 1899 in the 19th century, but it was so long ago that the word, automobile, wasn’t in common use. The first known use of that word was in an editorial in The New York Times that year. Also, an Ohioan – William McKinley – was in the White House.

On a more recent note, OSU quarterback Braxton Miller tied his career high by accounting for five touchdowns Saturday, and he moved into fifth all-time in OSU career passing TDs with 39 and set a career high with 252 yards passing.

Meyer describes Miller’s work ethic as being off the charts right now, and Miller credits preparation as being the reason for the way that the offense played Saturday night.

Asked about the kind of statement the offense had made, Miller said, “You know, all our preparation, it ties into all what we’re doing. That’s how it should be. And guys played hard throughout the whole game and didn’t miss a beat when all the second guys came in either. All preparation.”

Running back Carlos Hyde’s 147-yard rushing game was the ninth time he has topped 100 yards rushing in his career. Miller when asked about Hyde’s achievements in recent games, replied, “Leadership from where he grew from last year and that little incident he had, just felt like he’s got to prove himself even more. Things like that happen.”

Meyer, who was critical of the Buckeyes’ defense last week, indicated he was pleased with it this week as well as with the offense.

“I thought our ‘D” line was challenged,” the coach said. And we expect that out of the ‘D” line at Ohio State. They did a nice job.”

Often when coaches are questioned about how a team is playing, they mention the need to improve in certain areas. Meyer, however, said, “I like where we’re at right now. I like where we’re at as a team. We all needed to see some pass rush and pass defense, and guys stepped up and they certainly did. That was the most impressive part of the game to me.”

OSU’s win extends the nation’s best winning streak to 20 in a row. That’s two behind the school mark that included the 1968 national championship season. It seems particularly fitting for that team from 45 years ago to have been honored Saturday night.

Not content to rest on the Buckeyes’ laurels, Miller pointed out the necessity of keeping “our foot on the pedal. The team in front of you, gotta take one game at a time. Can’t overlook any type of opponent.”

The Buckeyes’ next game will be Saturday with Purdue in West Lafayette.

Pokas can be reached at bettypokas@yahoo.com.