All three of us in the truck were a little anxious when we approached campus around 7:30 Saturday morning. We had settled on giving the lot behind Campbell Hall a try with the 12th and Cannon lots as our rather unpleasant backup option.
We cruised past our old space — or, rather, spaces — on Herrick Drive, approached the lot we saw the day before … and saw orange cones blocking the entrance.
But. There were guys taking money for the adjacent parking garage at the end of the street that runs behind our desired home; we drove up and asked.
The answer? On football Saturdays, the lot we scoped out was a public disability lot. All you needed to park there was a handicapped hang-tag and fifteen American dollars.
And we had both.
It’s possible that I did a jumping happy dance after I parked the truck in the corner space, under a broad tree and next to a wide expanse of grass. I might have done that again when Mrs. Crappy wandered two blocks away — a short stroll past Mirror Lake — and found the William Oxley Thompson Library, with a coffee shop and large, clean restrooms. In a library. Which will always be open. As in, never closed. And then I might have danced a third time, when Bud asked and was told that Neil Avenue Parking Garage, just next door, was also public, save for spaces reserved for media. No more walks from 12th and Cannon lots for our fellow Killer Nuts Tailgaters.
It’s all right there. It’s all available to all of us, with only the possible hindrance of making sure we’re there early enough to get the spaces we want.
To summarize: We’re set, boys and girls. Unless the OSU Medical Center decides to swallow another chunk of campus, our parking worries are over.
Toward the end of the first quarter, there might have been a little anxiety about the football as well. Two breakdowns in pass coverage had given Miami two long gains; decent defensive recoveries — along with a missed field goal and a dropped pass or two — kept the
Redhawks Redskins from building the 14-0 lead they probably deserved.
But the defense wasn’t the problem. It was the offense — the power spread we’ve all been dreaming about — that was. For the game’s first 15 minutes, it felt a lot like 2011. Running backs going nowhere. Braxton Miller scrambling. And nothing that resembled a drive, because there were no first downs. Ohio State finally started to move the ball towards the end of the quarter, and just a couple minutes into the second, the Buckeyes broke the ice in spectacular fashion.
And, really, that’s when the game was over. Miami quarterback Zac Dysert is a good one, and he rolled up 313 passing yards on the day — but got just one touchdown to show for it. After taking the first quarter off, Ohio State’s offense had a 500-yard day, and Braxton racked up Nintendo numbers: 161 yards rushing, with one touchdown; 14 of 24 yards passing for 207 yards and two touchdowns. We got a decent look at how the offense is going to work, as well. Miller’s targets were everywhere — receivers, tight ends, backs — and most of the passes were short routes, with potential for long gains after the catch. And especially after Miller’s 65-yard touchdown run at the start of the second half, play-action off an option look is going to be a killer play as the season progresses.
We started Saturday — both the tailgate and the game — wondering what was to come. By the time we were headed home in the afternoon, we had a much better idea.