COLUMBUS — It's never about the trophies, the rings, or the bling every player will tell you, but the Ohio State seniors did admit in the moments after Saturday's 37-7 win over Michigan that those things are pretty sweet frosting on top of the cake.
The Ohio State seniors own four straight wins over the Wolverines, were a part of four Big Ten championships, and hold a 43-8 record, with just a bowl game left to play.
“It's awesome to think about,” senior wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said. “It's hard to believe this is our last game in this stadium, but it's great to go out with another win over our rivals and another Big Ten title.”
As part of the senior day ritual for the final home game of the season, Sanzenbacher and the 23 other seniors were introduced individually to the crowd, ran the length of the field to shake hands with coach Jim Tressel, then greet their parents at the opposite end zone.
Sanzenbacher, who gave his parents each a prolonged hug before retreating to the sideline, said it was one of the most emotional moments of his career when he was introduced as one of the final six seniors, the Ohio State team captains.
“It's something you can't really prepare for,” he said. “It's a really weird feeling, but it's pretty awesome too, to get to run out there one last time, get your name announced to the stadium, and then run over to your parents and look around the field. So, there's a lot running through your mind.”
The two dozen seniors helped the Buckeyes win their 35th overall Big Ten title and tie the conference record with a sixth straight crown won outright or shared. The 1972-77 Buckeyes set that mark.
Senior defensive tackle Dexter Larimore, who was part of the unit that held the Wolverines to their lowest point total of the season, redshirted his first year, so he got to be part of five Big Ten title teams.
“It's kind of amazing to be able to say that,” Larimore said. “There probably aren't too many guys that can say that they won five Big Ten titles. It's a great accomplishment. It's a tribute to the team staying focused every year.”
Senior linebacker Brian Rolle said the season was such a whirlwind and the preparation for the Michigan game so intense that he never had time to consider how he would feel about playing his final game in Ohio Stadium.
“It still hasn't sunk in that this is the last game I'll play here,” the Florida native said. “Beating Michigan was great. I like the win over Michigan more than the Big Ten championship. Later in life when you go play in the NFL, some of those same guys might be there, and they can't say we beat you guys in college.”
Sanzenbacher, who had a touchdown reception in Saturday's win, said he wants his class to be remembered for doing things right. As a captain, Sanzenbacher said he felt proud his teammates chose him to be one of their leaders.
“I hope we leave a legacy of great leadership,” he said. “I feel that the guys in this class held themselves accountable, as well as held each other accountable. To be with these other five captains, it's an honor to be a part of this class.”