Written by: Big 33 Staff on July 21, 2001.
The kick wasn’t what everybody expected from Robbie Gould, but it was enough to give Pennsylvania a 31-29 victory over Ohio in the 2001 Big 33 Classic before another packed house at Hersheypark Stadium. Gould knuckled the ball a foot or so over the bar. It wasn’t pretty, but the 19-yard field goal was the game-winner.
Pennsylvania appeared to have this game in hand from the very beginning. Thanks to a couple of early bursts by Kevin Jones that put Ohio in a 14-0 hole. Jones lived up to his billing as one of the country’s finest running backs. The first time he touched the football he went 52 yards and brought the home crowd to its feet. He gave a repeat performance on the second possession. This time he went 64 yards.
Ohio took advantage of a mistake and Patrick Ross scooped up a fumble and raced 62 yards to cut the Pennsylvania lead to 14-7 at the end of the opening quarter.
Cecil Howard, who had fumbled when Simon Fraser sacked him, returned to lead the home team on an 11-play drive of 80 yards. Howard took it in from the six and Jim Rankin’s club was up by 14 again.
Ohio would not back down. Maurice Hall got some great blocking on his 54-yard run.
Harrisburg’s Fred Lee made it a 14-point spread again on a 55-yard TD pass from Chris Ganter. Brandon Schnittker countered with a powerful plunge from the one to bring the Pennsylvania lead to 28-21 at the half.
The third quarter remained scoreless while the fourth quarter was brought in with Ohio turning a fumble pitchout into a safety, bringing the score to 28-23.
Ohio’s Hall broke free again for 34 yards to give Ohio its first lead of the night. Then Jim Rankin called for the big play of the game. With Pennsylvania deep in it’s own territory, Ganter sent a floater deep down the sideline. Lee slowed his pace and caught the ball on the 25-yard line of Ohio. With 47 seconds left on the clock, Gould delivered his winning field goal.