Ben's own "Immaculate Reception"
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01-07-2022, 02:53 AM

I saw the story below on Ben's days at Miami and his teammates remembering him. A good video clip on Ben's very own "Immaculate Reception".

Good read, video of play is inserted below, not sure if there is a better way to post it. 

Ben Roethlisberger's college teammates reflect on their time with Steelers QB

Chargers offensive line coach Frank Smith was busy putting together a game plan on Monday night for a game against the Raiders that could decide the final playoff berth from the AFC, but he had to take a few moments like millions of others across the country and tune into ESPN for Ben Roethlisberger’s final game at Heinz Field.

Many players and coaches across the NFL did the same thing, but for Smith this was must-see TV. The relationship between a quarterback and his center runs deep. And even though it has been nearly two decades since he last snapped a football to Roethlisberger, he wanted to catch a glimpse of his last hurrah in Pittsburgh.

“It was surreal,” Smith said earlier this week from Los Angeles. “From the time we left Miami, I’ve had six jobs and he’s had one.”

Roethlisberger will play what is likely his final regular season game of his 18-year career Sunday afternoon in Baltimore, and a few of Roethlisberger’s former teammates at Miami University reflected this week on a football journey that began when they were teenagers together in Oxford, Ohio.

“I just remember how competitive he was,” said Martin Nance, executive vice president and chief marketing officer with the Minnesota Vikings.

Nance’s first exposure to Roethlisberger came on his recruiting visit to Miami. Roethlisberger had redshirted during his freshman season and served as Nance’s host for the weekend.

“He talked about winning championships and wanting to win the Heisman Trophy,” said Nance, a receiver who played for the Bills, Vikings and Steelers during his playing career. “I just remember the way he handled himself. He was a confident leader. I took notice of that right away. We were at a mid-major, and for him to have that type of confidence really stood out to me. You could see it in his eyes, too. He meant it. And soon I saw he had the tools to back it up.”

The trademark qualities that defined his NFL career were evident early on in his college days, as well. His mobility, ability to extend plays, the arm strength and an uncanny sense of the moment first appeared in college football venues across the country.

“I remember there was one game against Colorado State he was scrambling around, and I had to block the same guy three times,” Smith said with a laugh. “I thought I was going to die out there in that altitude.”

Shane Montgomery was Roethlisberger’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for three seasons at Miami. His favorite Roethlisberger play came during his first season as a starter in 2001.

“It was the Hail Mary against Akron in 2001,” Montgomery said. “We were winning 24-7 at halftime. We didn’t do anything in the second half. They kicked a field goal to go up 27-24 with nine seconds left. We blew the lead, you feel like you’re going to lose.

“We knew they would squib kick it, so we told our returner to take a knee. We get the ball at the 16-yard line. Ben throws a 14-yard out to get us to the 30. Then he threw a 70-yard Hail Mary. He ran around a little bit and he let it go. It goes all the way to the 5. One of our receivers tips it to himself, and he scores. That was the coming out moment for him.”

For years after, Montgomery kept the Hail Mary and other Roethlisberger highlight plays on a DVD that he would show to the quarterbacks he coached.

Ryne Robinson, another of Roethlisberger’s RedHawks receivers, recalled Roethlisberger’s poise after throwing four interceptions in the 2003 season opener at Iowa. It was the third consecutive season Iowa had beaten Roethlisberger.

“From that point on, he turned it on,” Robinson said. “He couldn’t be stopped. He did everything he’s always done — shrug guys off him and throw touchdown passes, run around and make plays. He showed us then how special he was going to be.”

Miami won 13 games in a row after that, including the GMAC Bowl over Louisville. Couple that streak with the 14-game winning streak he had to begin his professional career, and he won 27 consecutive games as a starting quarterback.

All the winning ended up costing Roethlisberger. It’s well-known in these parts how close Roethlisberger is with his offensive linemen. Turns out he was the same way in college. A weekly tradition included dining out on all-you-can-eat pizza. 

“I’d always hear about how great he was to his linemen in Pittsburgh, and it doesn’t surprise me,” Smith said. “He was always so good to us. When we’d win, he’d take us out to CiCi’s pizza buffet.”

No wonder Roethlisberger’s response this week when questions about his legacy arose centered on winning. He said he’s most proud of winning 92 games at Heinz Field and never having a losing season in his 18-year career.

“He had such a great career,” Nance said. “He came in with such high expectations, and he exceeded all of them. He won multiple Super Bowls. He played his entire career with one team. His legacy is what every kid who dreamed of playing football would want. It was special to be a part of his career.”

Read more: Ben Roethlisberger's college teammates reflect on their time with Steelers QB | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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(This post was last modified: 01-07-2022, 02:57 AM by Chucktownsteeler.)

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