COLUMBUS – All-time great Orlando Pace was recognized on the field between the first and second quarters of Ohio State’s game against Penn State on Saturday night for his upcoming induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Pace, a 6-foot, 6-inch, 330-pound offensive tackle was first-team All-America as a sophomore and junior in 1995 and 1996 for the Buckeyes before passing up his senior season to enter the NFL draft, where he was the No. 1 overall choice.
He played 12 seasons with the St. Louis Rams and one season with the Chicago Bears from 1997-2009. He was All-Pro five times and went to the Pro Bowl seven times.
He was fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1996 and won the Lombardi Award as the best lineman in college football twice.
Pace said his goal when he played at Ohio State was to dominate. “I wanted to be the best. I didn’t want to just block a guy, I wanted to destroy him. I just wanted to be the best at my position for years to come,” he said.
The next step for Pace could be the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “That’s always been a goal of mine.. The College Football Hall of Fame was one of the goals I set and if Canton calls, I’ll be more than ready.”
At the time Pace’s selection for the College Football Hall of Fame was announced earlier this year, his Ohio State coach John Cooper said, “He was not only the best offensive lineman I’ve ever coached but he is the best I’ve ever seen. Every game was a highlight reel for him.”
The 1968 Ohio State national championship team was also recognized.
BRYANT AND COIN TOSS: Injured safety Christian Bryant, on crutches, was one of four Ohio State players who participated in the pregame coin toss.
Bryant suffered a broken ankle in the Wisconsin game.
WHERE ARE THE BUCKEYES?: Luke Vadas, a walk-on freshman wide receiver from Chagrin Falls University School, is the only player from Ohio on Penn State’s roster.
This is a departure from the past when the Nittany Lions recruited stars like Ki-Jana Carter, Todd Blackledge, O.J. McDuffie, Curtis Enis, Jeff Hartings and Joe Jurevicius from Ohio.
SLOGAN ORIGIN: Penn State’s “We are Penn State,” slogan has a deeper origin than most people know.
In the days when segregation excluded black players from playing for southern teams, those schools often asked northern schools to leave their black players home when they played each other in the South.
When SMU and Penn State were scheduled to play in the Cotton Bowl in 1948, the Texas school asked Penn State to have a meeting to consider not bringing its two black players. Reportedly, one of the Penn State team captains said, “There will be no meeting. We are Penn State.”
BY THE NUMBERS: Penn State’s All-Big Ten offensive guard John Urschel teaches a calculus class to undergraduates.
The 305-pound Urschel completed a bachelor’s degree in math in three years with a 4.0 grade point average, earned a master’s degree last year and is working on a second master’s. He plans to get a Ph.D., but playing in the NFL might come first.