Ohio State football is much more than a game for former offensive lineman Jimmy Cordle and his wife, Kerry McNally, who exchanged vows
July 16 at Saint Joseph Cathedral downtown.

Cordle first met McNally when he was being recruited by Ohio State. (She worked for ex-coach Jim Tressel during her undergraduate career.) After he joined the team, the two became friends and eventually started to date.

After about four years, Cordle proposed to McNally in front of family, friends . . . and a few TV cameras, in late 2009 at the football program's senior appreciation banquet. Each graduating player had a chance to speak for a couple of minutes before handing a single rose to someone in the audience, who, more often than not, was his mother. Cordle jokes that as a freshman, his mom not-so-subtly hinted that she planned to receive his rose, so "that standard was set," he says, laughing. He decided to give McNally something else, however. As cameras flashed and the surprised crowd cheered, Cordle proposed.

The bride says although they didn't want a football theme for their wedding, it was important to incorporate Ohio State into their celebration. Instead of sending traditional "save the dates" to guests, the couple printed event information on football tickets with photos of them on the field at Ohio Stadium. Cordle, who now plays for the New York Giants, says several of his current and college teammates helped "run up the bar bill" at the reception, and Buckeye offensive lineman Evan Blankenship wrote a song for Cordle and McNally, which he performed at the rehearsal dinner as a surprise. (The couple asked him to perform it again at the reception.) And to close the day of the wedding, the newlyweds gathered with their Ohio State family to sing "Carmen Ohio."

"It was the perfect end to the night," says McNally. "It's a tradition that means something to all of us."

The couple lives in two different states. While Cordle is in New York, McNally, an attorney, is working on a project in Columbus. "We've been through football training camps many times. I just know I'm not going to see him in August," she says. Despite the distance, they visit as often as possible and look forward to a honeymoon next year.

Cordle says he doesn't quite know how to explain what makes his relationship with McNally work. "We just mesh," he says. "That's all you can ask for."