One by one each member of the Ohio State football team stopped for a hug.
Dom Tiberi of 10TV was standing just outside the the Buckeyes dressing room preparing for a live broadcast. He was covering his first Buckeye game since the tragic death of his daughter Maria.
Maria, 21 was an Ohio State student. She died in a car accident on September 16th.
The Buckeyes and coach Urban Meyer have embraced Dom in so many different ways.
Saturday night, they embraced him one more time. One player at a time.
The sheer size of The Ohio State University can be intimidating.
The power and talent of the institution's football program has been intimidating and overpowering opponents for decades. Just ask the unfortunate chaps from Florida A&M.
But Saturday, big, strong, overpowering Ohio State got down on one knee and showed its softer side.
Before the game against Florida A&M, Ohio State guided more than 100-thousand people through a moment of silence.
The reflective moment was not for a former coach or player. It was not for a big donor or a former Governor.
The moment of silence was for an Ohio State student who lost her life in a car accident earlier in the week.
Maria Tiberi was 21-years old. She is the daughter of Dom and Terri Tiberi. Dom's connection to Ohio State is just this side of family.
Ohio State completed that connection with its brief and touching tribute before the game.
The players remembered Maria by wearing her initials on their helmets. Urban Meyer wore her initials on a button worn on his jacket. The program was wearing its heart on its sleeve.
Journalists who cover the Buckeyes are frequently looked upon with disdain. Such is not the case with Dom. He's covered the Buckeyes for 30 years. He's covered coaches from Bruce to Meyer. Athletes from Atha to Zelina have been interviewed by Dom Tiberi.
Dom likely gave up a few family dinners to give the appropriate coverage to the Buckeye family.
Though it doesn't come close to taking the pain away, Ohio State and Coach Meyer did what they could to make sure Dom's real family knows his Ohio State family is hurting too.
The Buckeyes said thoughts of Maria helped motivate them as they beat FAMU 76-0.
Meyer didn't hesitate in the press room in the moments after the game,"With a heavy heart as a team, the Tiberi family is on my mind. I know I speak on behalf of myself and my staff. The family meant a lot to myself and other people; I didn't realize how many. We gave them a helmet and you wish you could do more for that family."
That quote from Urban Meyer was pure class. With Meyer leading the way, Ohio State showed a side of itself people should see more often.
It showed that the power of an institution can be used compassionately to help a family when its hurting.
It lived up to the words of its alma mater.
"How firm they friendship, Ohio."
Kenny G. is a famous musician who can do magical things with a clarinet.
Kenny Guiton is a more-famous-by-the-week football player who has been able to do some magical things with a football in the last two weeks.
The two share nothing more in common that a first name and the first letter of their surname but Ohio State's Kenny G. has found a way to maintain harmony on a football field in a role many find to anything but harmonious.
But, how long can it last?
Guiton, a 5th year senior and a captain for the Buckeyes is buildiing a reputation not just in Columbus, but all over the country as the best back-up quarterback in the nation.
The back-up became a starter for the first time in his college career and only enhanced the legend of Kenny G.
Guiton was not highly recruited out of high school. He played first in the shadow of Terrelle Pryor at Ohio State. When Pryor left, Guiton moved into highly recruited Braxton Miller's shade.
He seemed destined to have his Ohio State career defined by the term "backup quarterback".
Guiton made the most of his one big moment during the 2012 season when he come off the bench cold and snatched a victory from the arms of defeat by directing the Buckeyes to an overtime win over Purdue.
That appeared to be his enduring moment of Buckeye fame entering his final season.
Guiton and the rest of the college football world knew his role this year would be as understudy to reigning Big Ten Offensive player of the year and 2013 Heisman Trophy candidate Braxton Miller.
Then Miller got hurt.
Guiton is so popular with his teammates that he wa named a captain of the 2013 Buckeyes even though he would spend most of his time on the bench.
Fellow Buckeyes cited Guiton's work ethic, leadership and charisma as reasons to believe in him.
Not many mentioned his talent.
It's time to mention his talent.
When Miller got hurt early in the San Diego State game, Guiton trotted out, finished that drive, finished the game and finished the Aztecs. If it weren't for the jersey numbers, no one would notice the "backup" was in.
He finished with a 152 yards passing and two TD passes. He also ran for another long touchdown.
He entered the media interview room after the game where three dozen media members were waiting and said, "this is crazy!"
It got crazier.
Guiton got word late in the week he would likely get his first start for the Buckeyes in the game at Cal.
Six minutes into his first start, he had three touhdown passes one of which was a school-record 90 yarder which gave the Buckeyes a lead they would never relinquish.
Kenny G. had serenaded the Buckeyes west coast fan base with a 276 yard, 4 touchdown pass performance, leading the Buckeyes to a 52-34 win.
"That's pretty cool", Guiton said afterward.
When does it stop being cool? It's the best story in college football right now.
Go to Kenny Guiton's page on Ohio State's football team webpage and it says: "America's most famous back-up quarterback."
It's cool until the starter comes back.
More specifically, it's cool until the starter comes back and starts to struggle.
Right now everyone is on the same page. Most buy into the Kenny Guiton success story but realize when Braxton Miller comes back, he'll be the starter.
But we all know starters struggle sometimes. Braxton will struggle too.
That's when this is going to get interesting.
When Miller goes three and out against Wisconsin three times in a row.
When Miller throws a pick at Northwestern with the Buckeyes trailing by 6 in the third quarter.
That's when the critics will make their voices heard.
Urban Meyer will get questions in his Monday press conference asking who the starter will be. His answer will and should be easy. Of course Braxton is the starter and he should be.
Callers will phone radio stations this week suggesting a change. But, they know better. They know their are being swayed by the sweet sounds of Kenny G's spirals cutting through the California air.
But when Miller struggles those questions will be tougher to answer for coach Meyer. Those calls suddenly will have the show host needing to come up with a good answer as opposed to the "thanks-for-the-call" brush-off.
Let's hope Miller returns and mounts a Heisman rally loud enough to drown out any controversy. Let's hope this feel-good story stays right where it is.
At Ohio State, it's never that easy.
Time to cue up some soothing Kenny G.
Alexi Lalas was on his way out the door. He was heading to an appearance at an AT&T store at Easton to talk with soccer fans and get people pumped up for the World Cup Qualifier between the United States and Mexico scheduled two days later at Crew Stadium
Some athletes of Alexi's reputation might look at such a task as work.
For Lalas it was another chance to get in the pulpit to preach about Columbus and its love affair with the United States Men's National Team.
Lalas was speaking on 610WTVN's Sunday Sportstalk program. He was gushing over Columbus and Crew Stadium as the true home of a US team that could call any pitch in the country home.
The city and the stadium held its own Tuesday as the United States shutout Mexico before more than 24,000 fans at Crew Stadium.
Fans driving to the stadium at 4:30, a full 3 and a half hours before game time, found I-71 already backing up and drivers from far and wide were willing pulling twenty dollar bills out of their pocket to pay for parking.
United States Soccer set up a huge Fan Fest for fans and sponsors to help push a three letter message; U-S-A!.
The scene was right out of Lalas's script from Sunday. All the United States team needed to do was walk through this scene and they'd have been so pumped, a team of 11 Peles couldn't have defeated them.
There were red, white and blue faces, chests and hairdos. Wonder Woman, Paul Revere and Captain America all showed up to defend this little corner of America located just yards from the Ohio State fairgrounds.
What could be more American that this?
Former Crew Stars were everywhere. Brian McBride, Dante Washington, Brian Maisonneuve and Mike Lapper.
Former Crew player and full-time team ambassador Frankie Hedjuk, who's energy and enthusiasm for all things soccer was at AT&T's Speed Zone outside the stadium.
Now think about that for a second. Hedjuk? Speed Zone? Think double espresso and Red Bull.
But all the energy lead to the desired result.
Inside the stadium, the home crowd out-numbered our southern visitors 100 to 1.
Mexico's fans may have won the colorful headgear competition with giant green tamales and replica's of Rio's world famous Christ the Redeemer worn as hats. But the U.S. fans out chanted, cheered and chugged their counterparts with a decided home-field advantage.
A scoreless first half kept those fans on the edge of their collective seats until early in the second half.
Eddie Johnson broke the scoreless tie four minutes into the second half, heading in a corner kick from Landon Donovan.
There was still a ton of time left, but with the jingoism reaching epic proportions, the home field advantage was about to become unfair.
Donovan would add a goal of his own late to kick the celebration to another level.
The United States had another home win in a place not a single player calls home.
But this game is not about individuals, it's about a team. A team that represents an entire nation of soccer players.
And when this team needs a place to call home, they come to Columbus.