COLUMBUS, OHIO — Craig Krenzel has been through a lot in the last year to arrive at the same place where he started.
Krenzel will again be at quarterback when Ohio State takes on Kansas State Jan. 2 in the Fiesta Bowl, the site of the biggest victory of his career.
Injuries, criticism, two losses, awards and high expectations have trailed the freckle-faced Michigan native -- who now gets ready to lead the team one final time.
He will be remembered for guiding the Buckeyes to the national championship a year ago in a 31-24 double-overtime win over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl, where he was selected as the game's outstanding offensive player.
His career epitaph will be written after his second duel in the desert, however.
"He had a similar year to what he had last year," tight end Ben Hartsock said. "He just had a lot more pressure on him this year. He was much more under the microscope.
"If things didn't go as well for him last year, they were easily overlooked," Hartsock said. "But after the success he had, he's been a little bit more under the pressure. He was under a vise grip."
Still, Ohio State won 10 of 12 games and came within a regular-season-ending loss at Michigan of returning to the national championship game for the second year in a row.
Krenzel missed two games because of a hyperextended right elbow, then had several ineffective starts that had many disgruntled fans calling for him to be replaced by backup Scott McMullen. It was McMullen, and not Krenzel, who provided a spark in the Buckeyes' 35-21 loss at Michigan Nov. 22.
"Through the injuries and all, I thought he had a darned good year," coach Jim Tressel said.