2003 Fiesta Bowl
Offensive Player of the Game: Craig Krenzel, Ohio State
Defensive Player of the Game: Michael Doss, Ohio State
Sportsmanship Award: Ken Dorsey, Miami
Head Coaches: Jim Tressel, Ohio State - Larry Coker, Miami
Payout Per Team: $13,500,000
People are calling the 2003 Fiesta Bowl the greatest game in college football history. That includes the experts, the media, the die-hard fans, the general fans and the bashers of the BCS. That’s what a double-overtime, edge-of-your-seat, palm sweating, instant classic can do. It can silence the critics and make people realize that college football is the greatest game in the land.
If there’s still a little doubt, just ask the folks in Columbus. Actually, ask anyone in the entire state of Ohio. All the Buckeyes did in 2002 was finish with the most wins in school history, win their first national championship since 1968 and defeat the defending national champions, the invincible Miami Hurricanes, a team that had won 34 consecutive games.
In a game that had it all, Ohio State was able to stop Miami on three consecutive plays from the 1-yard line in the game’s second overtime to escape with a 31-24 victory and claim the school’s fifth consensus national championship.
It took two fourth-down conversions in the first overtime for the Buckeyes to even force a second OT. After the teams battled to a 17-17 tie at the end of regulation, Miami took just six plays to score when Ken Dorsey hit Kellen Winslow Jr. with a 7-yard touchdown pass.
The Buckeyes went backwards on its first possession and were faced with a fourth-and-14 and the game on the line. Quarterback Craig Krenzel calmly connected with receiver Michael Jenkins for 17 yards and a first down. Three plays later, Ohio State again faced a crucial fourth down.
A pass from Krenzel to Chris Gamble fell incomplete, as fireworks and Miami players swarmed the field. However, a late flag was thrown for pass interference, giving Ohio State a first down at the 2-yard line. Three plays later, the Buckeyes scored on a sneak by Krenzel to send the game into a second overtime.
Ohio State scored quickly to begin the second frame, as star freshman running back Maurice Clarett sprinted in from five yards out. Miami took over and had the ball first-and-goal from the two, but were stopped on four consecutive plays in one of the most important goal line stands in college football history.
It was the first overtime game in Fiesta Bowl history and the first in the five-year history of the Bowl Championship Series.
Krenzel was named offensive player of the game, doing most of his damage on the ground with 81 yards rushing. The vaunted Buckeye defense was led by Defensive Player of the Game Mike Doss, who had nine tackles, an interception and two pass breakups.
Winslow Jr. set a Fiesta Bowl record with 11 receptions, and Dorsey received the Art Bodine Sportsmanship Award.