Punter steals the show with proposal at Ohio State spring game

Drue Chrisman proposes to girlfriend during halftime at Ohio Stadium

The punter stole the show at the Ohio State Buckeyes spring game.

Drue Chrisman punted once for the Scarlet team and twice for the Grey team, averaging 43.7 yards, but that wasn’t how he grabbed the headlines Saturday. During halftime, he got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend Avery Eliason with all the Buckeyes and a crowd of 61,102 at Ohio Stadium watching.

“Were you nervous?” Chrisman was asked at a postgame press conference after Eliason said yes.

» GAME STORY: Scarlet prevails in spring game

“Let’s just say I feel a lot lighter right now,” Chrisman said. “I’ve had it planned for a couple weeks now. I had to jump through a couple hoops with compliance and talk to coach (Ryan Day) and everything. This week, I finally found out I was able to do it and set up the details.”

Chrisman told Eliason and former Ohio State kicker Sean Nuernberger’s girlfriend they were going to compete in a girlfriend kicking contest at halftime. That’s how he got Eliason out onto the field. As he held the ball and she stepped back to kick, he stopped her and pulled out a ring.

“She had no idea,” Chrisman said. “She just walked out there thinking she was going to kick a ball, and honestly, I think she was more relieved she didn’t have to kick a ball.”

Chrisman, a Cincinnati La Salle graduate, said he has known Eliason, who is now a student at Brigham Young University but may enroll at Ohio State soon, since they were kids. They grew up as neighbors.

“I finally got out of the friend zone,” he said.

First look: Fans got their first look at new Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, the transfer from Georgia who is expected to start in the fall. He completed 4 of 13 passes for 131 yards with 98 of the yards coming on a touchdown pass to Binjimen Victor.

» PHOTOS GALLERY: Top shots from the spring game

Asked to sum up his spring, Fields said, “Of course, there are ups and downs, but overall the spring was great. As time goes on, everyone will start getting more comfortable with each other — the receivers and the timing. Everything will just continue to get better.”

Local contributions: Piqua graduate Ben Schmiesing, a walk-on linebacker, had 2½ tackles.

Mason graduate Zaid Hamdan, a walk-on defensive tackle, also had 2½ tackles, including 1½ sacks.

Starring role: Freshman wide receiver Garrett Wilson, a five-star prospect in the class of 2019, had the first touchdown catch in the game, leaping high in the air to beat a defender for an 18-yard reception from Matthew Baldwin in the second quarter.

“It was crazy,” Ohio State wide receiver K.J. Hill said. “Garrett makes plays like that all the time. I feel like it was nothing new we haven’t seen this whole spring. He definitely can be a great player, one of those players who’s going to end up on the wall in the receivers room.”

Alumni gathering: Numerous former Buckeyes, many now in the NFL, gathered on the field during the game to be honored. Among the players were: Braxton Miller; Ezekiel Elliott; Sam Hubbard; Pat Elflein; Michael Thomas; Eli Apple; Dwayne Haskins; Eddie George, who served as honorary captain; and many others.

“The former players here, they built this,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “That’s the reason why we’re all here. The brotherhood’s really strong. Mike Thomas came into my office yesterday, and we had a recruit in there. He spent 15-20 minutes in there just talking about the NFL.”

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