Undaunted by frigid weather, Ohio State fans filled the lower levels of Ohio Stadium from end zone to end zone to celebrate the Buckeyes' national championship yesterday. The event honored the Buckeyes' triumph in the inaugural College Football Playoff, but speakers starting with Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith deflected the praise back to the estimated crowd of 45,000, calling them "The Best Damn Fans in the Land."

Undaunted by frigid weather, Ohio State fans filled the lower levels of Ohio Stadium from end zone to end zone to celebrate the Buckeyes' national championship yesterday.

The event honored the Buckeyes' triumph in the inaugural College Football Playoff, but speakers starting with Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith deflected the praise back to the estimated crowd of 45,000, calling them "The Best Damn Fans in the Land."

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Senior tight end Jeff Heuerman surveyed the crowd and said, "There's schools around the country that have never had this many people show up to a game. You guys are truly special and there's nothing else like it."

Season-ticket holder Rick Moore, 65, of Payne, Ohio, arrived at the stadium at 8 a.m. – three hours before the official start of the event – and was in the first row of the 2,500 fans permitted on the field.

"I have tears in my eyes," he said toward the end of the program.

The program began with a replay of the second half of Ohio State's 42-20 victory over Oregon in the title game in Dallas. The Ohio State marching band played briefly.

After Smith and local politicians spoke, Urban Meyer took the podium and praised what he called the most selfless team he'd ever coached.

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The first player he singled out was senior walk-on Nik Sarac, a pre-med student whom Meyer said turned down a scholarship over the summer because his family didn't need the financial support. Meyer officially bestowed captaincy on wide receiver Evan Spencer, as the coach had vowed to do.

He also introduced the quarterback trio of Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, calling them, "The Magnificent Three."

Miller took the stage to chants of "One More Year!" Though Ohio State officials and those close to Miller have said they expect him to remain a Buckeye, Miller himself has been publicly mum about transfer rumors.

His brief comments today indicated that he does intend to stay.

"It was a privilege and an honor to be part of this national championship team in 2014," Miller said. "But guess what, we've got another year to do it. Go Bucks."

There were also moments of levity. When running back Ezekiel Elliott spoke, the video board superimposed a jersey – yes, with exposed stomach – as the crowd and then Elliott laughed.

The event ended with a highlight video and, of course, the playing of "Carmen Ohio."

"I thought it was perfect," Meyer said. "This is how smart I am. I said, 'Let's do it in the Schott.' Gene said, 'No chance,' because of all these fans. There's nothing like this. Thanks to them for coming out. We led the nation in attendance. The students led the nation in student attendance. Then to have a turnout like today on a cold day was awesome."

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