Dec. 8, 2002
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Junior Craig Krenzel and sophomore Chris Gamble have been selected by their teammates as Co-Most Valuable Players of the 2002 Ohio State football team.
Krenzel and Gamble were honored Sunday at the team’s annual appreciation banquet held at the Adams Mark Hotel and attended by nearly 900 friends and family members.
In his first year as a starter, Krenzel helped lead the Buckeyes to a perfect 13-0 record, a share of the Big Ten title and a berth in the national championship game in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The 6-4 redhead completed just under 62 percent of his passes for 1988 yards and 12 touchdowns. Krenzel’s passing efficiency rating of 148.0 was second in the Big Ten and good for eighth place nationally. The Sterling Heights, Mich. native also ran for 287 yards and a touchdown.
Over the course of the season, Krenzel repeatedly engineered dramatic game-winning drives that literally snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Krenzel ran for the winning touchdown against Cincinnati and threw the winning TD pass on fourth down at Purdue with 1:36 to play. In Ohio State’s dramatic overtime win at Illinois, his 14-yard scramble set up the winning touchdown in the extra session.
Gamble enjoyed an equally spectacular year. After starting the first eight games at flanker, he also started the last five at cornerback, becoming the first two-way regular for the Buckeyes in nearly 40 years. In three of the Buckeyes final four games, the 6-2, 180-pound Gamble took part in more than 100 plays, including 128 in the overtime victory at Illinois.
In addition to being on the receiving end of 29 passes in his role as a flanker, Gamble, a product of Sunrise, Fla., also picked off a team-high 4 interceptions, broke up 6 passes and was in on 19 tackles.
All four of Gamble’s interceptions were game savers, including his 40-yard touchdown return against Penn State that accounted for Ohio State’s only TD in a 13-7 victory. Two of his picks came in the end zone.
The versatile Gamble, who was named to a first-team All-Big Ten berth, also led the team in punt returns and was second in kickoff returns.
In another team vote, senior linebacker Cie Grant was a unanimous choice as the recipient of the Bo Rein Most Inspirational Player award. Grant, from New Philadelphia, Ohio, moved back to linebacker from cornerback this year and started 12 of the 13 games. He wound up the regular-season with 64 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss and four sacks.
Junior tight end Ben Hartsock received the John Galbreath Award for athletic and academic excellence. Hartsock caught 17 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. A biology major, Hartsock was named to a second-team berth on the 2002 Academic All-America team.
A complete list of all awards follows:
Most Valuable Player Award – Craig Krenzel, Chris Gamble
Archie Griffin Offensive Player of the Year Award – Craig Krenzel
SAE Outstanding Player in the Homecoming Game Award – Craig Krenzel
Agonis Club Rick Myers Outstanding Player in the Penn State Game Award – Chris Gamble
Bill Willis Defensive Player of the Year Award – Mike Doss
Woody Hayes Outstanding Player in the Michigan Game Award – Mike Doss
Bo Rein Most Inspirational Player Award – Cie Grant
John W. Galbreath Award for Academics – Ben Hartsock
Ike Kelley Outstanding Special Teams Player Award – Mike Nugent
Randy Gradishar Outstanding Linebacker Award – Matt Wilhelm
Arnie Chonko Outstanding Defensive Back Award – Donnie Nickey
Jack Stephenson Outstanding Defensive Lineman Award – Darrion Scott
Jim Parker Outstanding Offensive Lineman Award – Alex Stepanovich
Paul Warfield Outstanding Receiver Award – Michael Jenkins
Rex Kern Outstanding Offensive Back Award – Maurice Clarett
Buckeye Boosters Outstanding First-Year Offensive Player – Maurice Clarett
Buckeye Boosters Outstanding First-Year Defensive Player – A.J. Hawk