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Jim Thorpe Awards: Malcolm Jenkins' career not just about big-game busts

by Jenni Carlson Modified: February 10, 2009 at 7:26 am •  Published: February 10, 2009
Malcolm Jenkins feels your pain, Sooner Nation.

And then some.

The cornerback endured heartbreak in the national championship football game not once, but twice during his career at Ohio State. First came the throttling by Florida a couple years ago, then the beatdown by LSU.

Even though Jenkins finished his Buckeye career last month with awards and accolades a plenty — he was in Oklahoma City on Monday night to formally accept the Thorpe Award — he still has to hear about those big-game busts.

"Ohio State,” people will say, "y’all can’t win the big game.”

"Well, you were watching me play in the big game,” Jenkins will reply, "so I’m not worried about it.”

He chuckled at his retort, and yet, you have to think he’s used it a few more times than he cares to admit.

"You’ve gotta be able to defend yourself,” he said.

Buckeyes and Sooners have been on the defensive in recent years more than anyone else in college football. That’s because five of the past six BCS national championship games have been lost by either Ohio State or Oklahoma.

They have been chastised and ridiculed, mocked and teased. About the only thing that saves one from being college football’s whipping boy is the other.

Less than a week after Ohio State lost to Texas last month and suffered its third consecutive loss in a BCS bowl, OU lost to Florida and dropped its fifth in a row.

Somewhere, Jim Tressel said a prayer of thanksgiving.

Perhaps it figures that a Buckeye would come to the Sooner State to accept the Thorpe Award.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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