Always Special Senior Day More Special This Year
By Rob Ogden
Senior day. The chance to clinch the Leaders Division. A shot at history. An Indiana game has never been so big.
Saturday the Buckeyes will attempt to win a school-record 23rd-consecutive game while 18 seniors play for the final time in front of the Ohio Stadium crowd.
"Right now I'm trying not to think about it because I know when I run out of that tunnel for the last time it's gonna be a pretty emotional thing," left tackle Jack Mewhort said. "It's been a great ride and I owe who I am to this university and this program. It's gonna mean a lot to me running out for the last time and I know I'm gonna be taking it all in. I'm looking forward to it."
The 2013 senior class won't go out as Ohio State's winningest, but it can be credited with something even bigger - turning around a program in turmoil.
"We've had ups and downs but we're finishing strong," fifth-year senior safer C.J Barnett said. "We have a chance to do something that's never been done here, winning a 23rd game. Hopefully we can keep building the resume for this senior class and finish out strong."
Barnett and fellow redshirt senior Kenny Guiton went from the Rose Bowl their first year, to the Sugar Bowl, to the Gator Bowl, to no bowl.
“It was a roller coaster ride. It started off giving us everything, you know,” Guiton said. “Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and then … We kinda got spoiled from the start."
Now Guiton and company are the ones that are doing the spoiling. The seniors have treated Buckeye fans to a school-record 22-consecutive wins, an undefeated season and a Leaders Division championship.
In all, the 2013 class has been a part of 40 wins, and counting.
They've made the last 22 look easy, but it hasn't always been that way.
The day after the Buckeyes lost 24-17 to Florida in the Gator Bowl, the Buckeyes were paying for the loss outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
"Starting out here when we got back from the Gator Bowl, we were outside at 5 o'clock in the morning, 10 degrees, frozen tundra, rain and all kinds of stuff," Barnett said. "That was a moment when things started to change."
In the 23 months since then, the 2013 senior class has cemented its legacy, and it's a good one - which ins't always the case, coach Urban Meyer said.
"Not every senior class is good," he said. "Some of them, it's time to go. It's time to move on and move on with their careers. The last two that we've had here have been not good, but great. It's gonna be real hard because of what they've done."
Exactly what that legacy will be, senior center Corey Linsley said, is still yet to be determined.
"That's for everybody else to decide," Linsley said. "We only control how we work, how this season ends. However the season ends, it's gonna be reflective of how hard we work and how hard we prepare. I hope we'll be remembered as hard working and guys that really care."
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