In the heat of the moment, AJ Trapasso got even hotter.
âI caught my socks on fire at Northwestern,â the former Ohio State punter recalled this week as he relayed another episode in a long series of weird things happening during the games. Buckeyes.
The latest quirk – K’Vaughan Pope leaving the squad in Saturday’s Akron game – only seems to take the cake. In reality, the senior linebacker arguing with OSU coaches before throwing his gloves into the stands and being escorted to the locker room in the second quarter only ranks between 2 and 10 on the school record “Are you kidding me?” ” listing.
Woody’s Gator Bowl punch is # 1 in shock value, but after that it’s a toss. There was Joe Paterno’s infamous bathroom break at Ohio Stadium in 2006, when the 79-year-old Penn State coach walked across the pitch as the Nittany Lions lined up for a punt. There was OSU assistant coach Anthony Schlegel who slammed the body of a fan who ran onto the field in 2014. There was Woody who tore a yard marker in the 1971 game in Michigan. And that’s only the last 50 years. Without a doubt, many other strange events have occurred which have not been published.
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Likewise, Trapasso’s 2006 flash fire was relegated to oral history until he shared it on Wednesday.
âI was standing near the kerosene heater,â he said. “I think our long snapper (Drew Norman) threw a towel at me to put out the fire.”
Fortunately, Trapasso had extra socks on the sidelines of the November 11 game. Unfortunately for Paterno, two months earlier, the Penn State sideline didn’t have a restroom, which meant when nature called – and it was yelling – JoePa had no choice but to run past his punter to the visitors’ locker room with 7:21 left in the second quarter. The flu virus does not take prisoners.
TV folks picked up on Paterno’s plight by participating in the bathroom humor, including Brad Nessler fearing that the Penn State assistants would “handle the offense and Joe Paterno take care of his own business.”
ESPN reporter Sideline Bonnie Bernstein unwittingly put on a pun: “Tell you what, Brad, if the players felt as sick as Coach Paterno they might have longer races today ‘ hui. ”
Trapasso did not witness Paterno’s exit, but was not surprised by it.
âThe whole time we’re playing them, I’m like, ‘They’re dragging this old man over there to sit on the sidelines.’ With every play I was worried he would get hit and there’s a hip, âTrapasso said.
Sure enough, on November 4 of that year, Paterno broke his left leg and tore a ligament in his knee when Nittany Lions tight end Andrew Quarless and Wisconsin linebacker DeAndre Levy slammed into him on the hit.
It’s a miracle Anthony Wunder didn’t break every bone in his body when Schlegel delivered a form tackle to the Ohio State student who ran onto the field in the 2014 game in Cincinnati. .
Buckeyes wide receiver Peter Gwilym was on the sidelines watching Wunder gain ground whenâ¦
“I remember being a little shocked, until out of the corner of my eye I saw Schlegel, then I wasn’t,” said Gwilym, explaining that the former OSU linebacker turned coach by force was “just a wild man.”
Ohio State offensive lineman Marcus Hall delivered a different message during the Michigan game in 2013 when he returned the double bird to Wolverine fans while leaving the field after he was sent off for participating in a fight.
Speaking of fighting, Trapasso confirmed a long-standing rumor that a scrum had broken out in the Ohio State locker room between “two top players” minutes before the 2007 Fiesta Bowl against Florida.
“Half the team jumped up and took part in it,” Trapasso said, adding that the row between the players was about something involving “free time” and not football.
Ohio State does not have a monopoly on outrageous antics in the game. As the Houston Oilers’ defensive coordinator, Buddy Ryan has taken on Oilers offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. And Buffalo Bills backer Thurman Thomas couldn’t find his helmet on the sidelines during Super Bowl XVI in 1991.
It’s not just football that sees such shenanigans. Chicago White Sox utility player Steve Lyons dropped his pants to clean up the dirt after slipping first against Detroit in 1990, while in 1976 Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Rick Monday ripped off an American flag to two demonstrators on the ground who were trying to burn it. And Randy Johnson hit a bird with a throw, detonating the poor mourning dove with his fastball at 100 mph.
Basketball also had its crazy moments, with the emphasis on being crazy, like when Bob Knight threw a chair on the floor during a 1985 game against Purdue.
But little Woody top for manic moments. The most famous was Hayes who hit Clemson Charlie Bauman’s nose guard in the 1978 Gator Bowl, but the former Buckeyes have dozens of other stories about their trainer’s departure.
One of my favorites happened during training, not a game, but worth sharing. Hayes noticed that Ohio State quarterback Tom Matte was having too much fun with his teammates and started running angrily towards Matte, who saw the old man arrive.
Instead of holding on, Matte started backing up faster than Hayes could run forward, widening the gap between the player and the coach as his teammates covered their mouths to cover up the laughs.
Conversely, Pope leaving his team is not a question of laughing. But it wasn’t the first time that something wild had fallen into the horseshoe, either. And it won’t be the last.