December 22, 2009

Pettrey hopes to kick in Rose Bowl

COLUMBUS - It was a low block delivered by a New Mexico State player that ended Ohio State senior kicker Aaron Pettrey's last regular season as a Buckeye.

But as of now Pettrey isn't ready to concede his career as a Buckeye, as he is hoping he can return for one final game for Ohio State when the team takes on Oregon in the Rose Bowl Jan. 1 in Pasadena.

"We're still waiting to see," Pettrey said last week on whether or not he could play in the Rose Bowl. "As of right now I think I've got a great shot"

At one point shortly after the New Mexico State game, there didn't seem to be much question as to whether or not Pettrey would ever play again for the Buckeyes. The easy answer was that he was done.

But after getting ahead of schedule on his rehab assignments, Pettrey now has the attainable goal of kicking for his team for the final time in The Granddaddy of Them All.

"I was supposed to be in a brace and not running or anything for six weeks, and right now I can run outside the brace and I can kick in the brace," Pettrey said. "I wasn't supposed to swing my leg for six weeks and I was kicking at four."

Shortly after that dreaded kickoff in which he was blocked below the waist - which in all rights should have been a penalty - Pettrey instead was helped off the field with an injury to his right knee on his kicking leg.

"I remember a lot of it," Pettrey said of the play. "I remember seeing him right before he did it and I remember looking away and then just feeling getting rolled up on. I remember it very vividly. The only part I don't remember is rolling around for a little bit until I got helped off by the doctors."

Ohio State starting punter Jon Thoma, Pettrey's roommate, remembered the whole thing.

"It was tough. I didn't know exactly what had happened until someone told me that someone blocked him low," Thoma said. "I kinda lost it. I was out there yelling at the refs, doing things I shouldn't have done. I couldn't even go over and talk to him. My head would have been out of the game.

In the meantime, it has been tough for Pettrey, especially because he watched backup kicker Devin Barclay nail perhaps the biggest field goal in the most important situation of the season just two weeks later against Iowa.

In overtime against Iowa in the Horseshoe with a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line, it was Barclay - not Pettrey - who nailed home a 39-yard field goal to send Ohio State off the field with roses in their mouths.

If it weren't for the injury, Pettrey would have been in that position.

"I would be lying if I said it wasn't," Pettrey said of him being a little saddened it wasn't him out there. "It wasn't anything where I was jealous or upset or anything, because I'm great friends with Devin. I was down there talking to him the whole time and I actually told him at the beginning that he was going to hit a game-winner today. So I guess I kind of told the future. I told him at the beginning of overtime, 'Go be a hero.'"

As of now, Pettrey doesn't like how he would end his career if the New Mexico State game was his last as a Buckeye. That's why he is doing everything in his power to get back by the Rose Bowl.

"I would rather go out with a win against Oregon than a win against New Mexico State where I went 0-for-2," Pettrey said. "You don't get too many chances to play in the Rose Bowl with the group guys I'm here with. It's been very important to me and its been helping with my rehab, so this is all I've got left and I'm going to make it back, hopefully."

Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for He can be reached at [email protected].

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