Ohio State Could Move 2013 Spring Game to Cincinnati
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Brace yourself Cincinnati, the Urban Meyer Express could be rolling through the Queen City as soon as next year.
Ohio State’s Department of Athletics announced Wednesday the University is in discussions with the Cincinnati Bengals and officials from Hamilton County to play the 2013 Ohio State LiFE Sports Spring Game at Paul Brown Stadium.
Named for a former OSU football coach, Paul Brown Stadium is the home of the Bengals, and the $614 million stadium could house the Buckeyes while Ohio Stadium undergoes renovations next spring.
“We are very appreciative to be in discussions with the Cincinnati Bengals,” Ohio State Director of Athletics Gene Smith said.
“We look forward to continuing our discussions and look forward to an opportunity to bring the Buckeyes into Cincinnati and closer to our Southern Ohio fans.”
That may very well be the primary motivation behind the possible move. Meyer has made it abundantly clear he wants to spread Ohio State’s brand in Cincinnati, a city that has always been on the fence about its love for the Buckeyes.
Officially, Ohio Stadium will undergo a renovation that includes stripping and replacing 1922-era coating and concrete off portions of A and C decks. There were areas that were not restored as part of the Ohio Stadium upgrades project between 1998-2001.
That renovation was also the last time the Buckeyes did not play their Spring Game at Ohio Stadium, the school’s 106,000-seat football stadium on the banks of the Olentangy River.
Coincidently, it was Jim Tressel’s first season as a head football coach at Ohio State, and the game was held at Crew Stadium, just down the road in Columbus.
It was during Tressel’s second season at Ohio State that the Buckeyes played their first, and only, game at Paul Brown Stadium. In the first of many nail-biters for Buckeyes during their national championship run, Ohio State defeated the University of Cincinnati 23-19 before a sold-out crowd of 66,319 fans.
The Buckeyes trailed Cincinnati 10-7 at the half and 17-14 heading into the fourth quarter, but mounted a comeback that ended with Will Allen’s interception in the end zone with just 32 seconds left on the clock.
Chris Gamble also had an interception in the end zone and Lydell Ross ran for 130 yards while starting in place of the injured Maurice Clarett.
Paul Brown Stadium holds 40,000 fewer fans than Ohio Stadium, but the 2012 Spring Game had only 81,000 in attendance.
Sand and water blasting will commence at Ohio Stadium this December, with the resurfacing portion of the project scheduled for the warmer spring and summer months next year.
The date for the 2013 Ohio State spring game is set for April 13.
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