The leaf that was Ohio State junior offensive tackle Orlando Pace was bronzed. With two Lombardi trophies and a Rose Bowl win under his ample belt, Pace, the college game's top offensive lineman, would announce five days later that he was going to the NFL, disappointing those fans in the north stands who at the end of the game chanted, "One more year!"
And what of the leaf that was Buckeyes football? It was resplendent With their team ranked second in the final polls after Florida's Sugar Bowl waxing of Florida State, Ohio State fans could timidly poke their index fingers skyward, if only to test the temperature.
As for Germaine—he had just four days at home before flying back to Columbus and school. Not much time to enjoy Phillis's Christmas decorations, his dog, Tyson, his hat-act uncles or the five-dozen roses left strewn in the driveway by neighbors. Or, for that matter, the still life someone had composed in the Germaines' backyard: an old football amid a pile of dry leaves.