My 40 favorite Buckeye Football games

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col63onel

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12) OSU 39, Penn State 38 2017

"JAY. TEE. BARRETT"

Don't know how I watched football before Gus Johnson. Dude is the best.

PSU went from "we still haven't recovered from the Sandusky fallout" to "are we better than Ohio State" in one returned blocked FG in 2016. They went on to win the B1G, but were left out of the playoff in favor of OSU. PSU were fans were mad and assumed it was a conspiracy, despite OSU having a better record and better wins (also, Michigan destroyed PSU that year and also had 2 losses, but were behind PSU. They had a gripe.) They started the year at #6 and were up to #2 by kickoff. Their best win was the previous week, a 29 point win over #19 Michigan. They were lead by Saqoun Barkley.

OSU started the year ranked #2 behind Alabama. They lost at home to Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma in week 2. They had destroyed everyone since then, but only Army was a bowl team of that lot. They still were back to #6 by kickoff.

The first half was a comedy of bad special teams, turnovers and questionable calls that nearly sunk OSU. Barkley returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a TD. On their 3rd offensive play, Paris Campbell fumbled and Koa Farmer returned it to the OSU 23. 5 plays later, McSorely found Dasean Hamilton for a 13 yard score and PSU was up 14-0 in under 4 minutes. OSU lost 5 yards on their next drive and punted. Things looked bleak.

OSU then found some life. They forced a punt and a penalty on the return put them at their own 42. Barrett kept on a read option to pick up 18 on 3rd and 1. OSU eventually settled for a FG. They then forced a 3 and out and a good punt return put them at their own 46. A 21 yard run by Dobbins on 3rd and 4 got them into FG territory. However, OSU opted to go for a 4th and 8 and came up short.

Penn State made OSU pay. A PI call got them to the 36, when Barkley did the rest of the work on the next play, and it was 21-3. OSU answered. A 36 yard pass to Austin Mack on a throwback got OSU in the redzone. 2 plays later, Barrett found Terry McLaurin for a 14 yard TD.

Then the refs got involved.

A pooch kick was returned by Farmer to the OSU 23 (kickoff coverage was a problem all year). OSU forced a 3rd and 8. McSorely threw a pick that was overturned by a brutally bad PI call. PSU scored on the next play and PSU regained their 18 point lead. JT Barrett answered with his legs. He had 4 carries for 40 yards on the drive, including a 23 yarder on 3rd and 1. OSU benefitted from a much more reasonable PI call in the endzone. Weber scored from 2 yards away and it was a ballgame again.

Penn State threatened on their next drive but punted from inside the OSU 40. Neither team scored before half and PSU lead 28-17. OSU had allowed a return TD, two drives to start inside their 30 due to a turnover and another return, and had a TD saving INT taken away on a bad call. They were fortunate to be down only 11.

Barrett hit KJ Hill for 24 yards to start the 2nd half. After that, OSU slowly moved down to the the redzone. On 3rd and 12, Barrett threw a fade. Hill was interfered with in the endzone, but drew no flag. OSU settled for a FG and were within 8, but inconsistent PI calls had cost them up to 11 points.

And the refs weren't done. PSU drove to the OSU 37. McSorely was picked off by Denzel Ward in the endzone. Despite inconclusive evidence, the refs overturned the pick into a TD and a 35-20 PSU lead. On the next drive, the refs incorrectly called a Ben Victor catch and run a fumble, which cost OSU 15 yards. They also called a hold on a 20 yard pass play. Things got worse early in the 4th when a promising OSU drive ended on a botched handoff. Any momentum they got was snuffed out by the refs, which, when coupled with their own self inflicted wounds, made it feel like OSU had no chance.

However, the defense forced a 3 and out andDenzel Ward blocked the punt. OSU took over at the 41.

And then JT Barrett happened.

OSU scored in 2 plays: A 3 yard pass to Weber and a 38 yard pass to Johnnie Dixon. Running total: 2 for 2, 41 yards, 1 TD.

OSU's defense then almost broke. McSorely had a 22 yard run. He found Mike Gesicki on a 3rd and 12 for 22 yards. A 21 yard pass got PSU to the 7. OSU then stiffened for forced a FG. PSU lead by 11 with 5:47 left.

OSU answered in 6 plays. Barrett completed 5 passes, 2 to Mack, 1 to Hill and 1 to Marcus Baugh (and a PI) before another TD pass to Dixon. Running total: 7 for 7, 97 yards, 2 TDs. OSU went for 2 and failed, and now trailed 38-33.

OSU's defense then smelled blood. Good kickoff coverage put PSU at the 15. On first down, PSU ran a read option. Before McSorely could decide whether to hand it to Barkley, Sam Hubbard tackled them both for a big loss. PSU ran Barkley twice more and had to punt from their own 11. Hill returned it to the OSU 42.

On first down, Barrett ran for 2. He then found McLaurin for 20 as he was hit. He found Hill for 6 on a rollout, then Hill for 14 more on a crossing pattern, setting up 1st down at the PSU 16. Then this:



Running total: 11 for 11, 153 yards, 3 TD in the 4th quarter. Against the #2 team in country. To help erase a 25 pt deficit.

It wasn't over. OSU squibbed the kickoff an PSU fell on it on the 41. OSU's DLine took over. On 1st down, McSorely threw inaccurately while being flushed. On 2nd, he was sacked by Jalyn Holmes. On 3rd, he overthrew Gesicki, who was double covered. On 4th down, he had to scramble and again threw high to Gesicki, turning it over on downs.

There was still 1:22 left and PSU had 2 timeouts. Barrett fittingly ended it, but this time with his legs. He ran for 4 yards, then for 8 and the clinching first down. He knelt on it twice and that ended the game.

Barrett ended up 33/39 for 338 and 4 TDs, plus 95 yards rushing on 17 carries. Barkley was held to 67 yards on 25 touches. For the game, OSU outgained PSU 529 to 283. They needed it all to overcome the bad kickoff coverage, turnovers and spotty reffing.

JT Barrett's legacy is a bit complicated. On one hand, he re-wrote a lot of the OSU and B1G record books. But many will say that was due to longevity and the system/talent he played with. He was an integral part of the 2014 Championship team, but got shutout in the only CFP game he played. He's the winningest QB in OSU history, but was also the QB the only 2 times a Meyer team didn't win their division.

But he was undeniably spectacular in this game, especially in the 4th quarter. Take a bow, JT.

This game likely had a hangover affect. Penn State lost by 3 at Sparty the following week, while OSU got lambasted in Iowa City. Both teams recovered to win out. Penn State beat Pac12 runner up Washington in the Fiesta Bowl and finished #8. OSU looked poised to make the CFP as a 2 loss team until Alabama lost to Auburn. Heading into the B1G Championship, CFP chairman Kirby Holcutt said the separation between Bama and OSU was not that big. OSU beat 12-0 and #3 Wisconsin while Bama was idle. When Bama got the nod over OSU, Holcutt said Bama was clearly ahead of OSU. I don't know how beating #3 on a neutral field is worse than not playing, but that's CFP logic for you.

OSU went on to beat Pac 12 champ USC in the Cotton Bowl since the Rose was a CFP semifinal. Unlike the previous when OSU was jumped for losing in the playoff, OSU jumped nobody in the polls. Just baffling inconsistencies sometimes.


11) OSU 62, Michigan 39 2018

This game is proof that OSU fans only suffer from 1st world problems.

After the snub of 2017, OSU had to replace 7 NFL draft picks plus JT Barrett. Dwayne Haskins had come in and won Michigan game in 2017 after Barrett was hurt, so they felt good at QB. OSU was ranked #5 in the preseason.

Unfortunately, the preseason sucked. WR coach Zack Smith was arrested. It came to light that he had been accused of domestic violence. It was a sordid tale that involved Tom Herman in a strip club and dildos being delivered to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The end result was Smith being fired (and replaced by Brain Hartline, maybe the most fortuitous firing in OSU history) and Urban Meyer (and AD Gene Smith) being suspended for 3 games.

OSU won the 3 games, including over then #15 TCU in Dallas. Meyer returned 1 week prior to the win over PSU (see game #16). However, the season then threatened to derail. OSU struggled to beat Minnesota and Indiana. They got blasted by a 6-6 Purdue team. They beat a 4-8 Nebraska team by 5 at home. They beat #24 Michigan by 18 on the road....and dropped in the polls. They needed OT to beat 5-7 Maryland. The defense was the main culprit. They gave up 31 to a bad Oregon State team, 31 to Nebraska and 51 to Maryland. They were among the leaders in most penalties. Star DE Nick Bosa was lost for the year after 3 games. Haskins had a great year throwing, but he wasn't a running threat. OSU couldn't run the ball and was terrible in the redzone. OSU was 10-1 and ranked 10th in all polls. For 90% of CFB that's a dream season. For OSU, it was a nightmare.

Michigan, on the other hand, came in riding high. They opened the year #14, and lost by 7 to #7 Notre Dame. After blowout wins over WMU, SMU and Nebraska, they fell behind NW (who had already lost to Akron and Duke) 17-0. They rallied for a 20-17 win and that sparked a revival. In 2017, Michigan had lost to Wisconsin, MSU, and Penn State, as well as OSU. They faced the non-OSU trio in consecutive games (with a bye sandwiched in). They won by scores of 38-13, 21-7 and 42-7 respectively. The season was dubbed "the revenge tour" with 3 of their losses avenged. They killed Rutgers and struggled a bit with Indiana, but came into Columbus 10-1 and #4. A win over OSU and a B1G Championship and Michigan was surely in the CFP.

No one expected OSU to win, except @NorthCoastBias . This was Michigan's year. They were playing with purpose and had a catchy slogan. They had blown out teams like Maryland, Nebraska and PSU, who OSU had only beaten by a combined 7 points. Michigan's defense was at or near the top in every major statistical category. This was their time. They were favored over a good OSU team for the first time since 2003.

OSU started out well. They forced a 3 and out and returned the punt to their own 43. Then, their offense showed what would become a theme. Michigan ran almost exclusively man coverage and often brought pressure. OSU counted on the speed of their receivers to beat man. The often did this with a bunch of crossing routes. Haskins hit Campbell for 16 on a crossing route, then found Demario McCall for 11. On 3rd down, he found Chris Olave for 24 yards and a score on a crossing route. Olave was the lowest ranked true frosh on the roster and had 5 catches all year. OSU lead, 7-0.

Then, Michigan seemed to find their footing. Two methodical drives (10 and 12 plays) led to FGs and both preceeded OSU 3 and outs. After the 2nd 3 and out, Michigan started their drive at midfield, poised to take a lead. They lined up to go for a 4th and 2, but jumped offsides and had to punt. OSU got a couple first downs, including Terry McLaurin dragging tacklers for a first, which promted a few fist pumps from Meyer. After Victor dropped a wide open big play opportunity, OSU went back to a crossing route for 27 yards to Hill. 2 plays later, Haskins found Olave down the sideline for his 2nd TD of the half.

Michigan then managed 1 first down before punting. On the second play of the drive, Haskins scrambled, slid, and Michigan committed a pretty clear targeting foul. However, it wasn't called and Meyer was flagged 15 for protesting too much. OSU got a first down on PI call. Then a screen to Campbell netted 33 and got OSU into Michigan territory. 3 plays later, a busted coverage left Johnnie Dixon wide open in the endzone for a 31 yard TD and a 21-6 lead with 3:18 left in the half. OSU was rolling.

Then Michigan stormed back. A PI got Michigan into OSU territory. A 15 yard Shea Patterson scramble got them to the 23. Then Patterson found Nico Collins for a TD with with 47 seconds left. Demario McCall then muffed the kickoff, which Michigan recovered and turned into a TD one play later on a pass to Chris Evans. UM went for 2 and failed, but after OSU had thoroughly outplayed Michigan, they only lead by 2. OSU quickly used 2 penalties and a 33 yard wheel route to McCall to set up a 1st and goal. However, despite bringing in Tate Martell for a play, OSU settled for a FG. OSU lead 24-19, but probably felt they should be up more.

OSU was forced punt on their first possession of the second half. Michigan started a drive at their own 20 with a chance to take the lead. However, OSU forced a 3 and out and got it back in good field position. After 4 Dobbins runs, a Campbell crossing route got 33 yards down to the 4. Martell came in again, and again failed to score a TD. OSU settled for a FG and a 27-19 lead.

A lot of OSU flaws were rearing their ugly heads. The defense had actually played pretty well, but OSU had committed a ton of penalties and had twice failed to score from inside the 5, not to mention the muffed kickoff. If the defense was about to break, then OSU was gonna be in trouble.

Little did we know, OSU was just getting started. Michigan inadvertently stepped out of bounds at their own 8 on the kickoff. They gained 2 first downs, but Patterson missed an open receiver on 3rd and 8 and were forced to punt. Chris Olave, having a game of games for a true frosh, blocked the punt. It popped straight up, and Sevyn Banks plucked it out of the air and raced in for a TD. The stadium exploded.

On the ensuing drive, Michigan faced a 3rd and 12. Patterson was hit as he threw, and Jordan Fuller picked it off at the 22. Another crossing route to Hill got them to the 2. This time, Haskins ran an option and pitched to Mike Weber for an easy score. In about 13 plays, OSU had scored 17 points and went up by 22.

Michigan's offense finally found itself. A 20 yard pass to future Brown Donovan Peoples-Jones and another PI set up a 12 yard Nico Collins TD. Perhaps Michigan had life?



In one play, Campbell was gone and OSU was up by 22 again.

Michigan's next drive featured 2 different 15 yard OSU penalties and a 24 yard Kareem Higdon run. Patterson got knocked out, so backup Joe Milton entered. Michigan scored on a 1 yard FB run. However, Michigan's defense was done. OSU scored in 6 plays, with 64 yards coming via the ground and a facemask. Haskins found KJ Hill on a one yard pick rub. Hill mimicked Troy Smith on his TD celebration.

Miton threw a pick on his first pass attempt. 3 plays later, Haskins found Campbell again for a 16 yard score, and OSU lead 62-27. Michigan added a TD and tried an onside kick that failed. A few Weber runs got OSU to the 9, but Meyer knelt the final second away. Part wishes he tried to score and go for 2, ala Woody, since I am pretty sure he knew he wasn't coming back.

Here's the biggest puzzler about that game. Michigan was favored, in part because they were good, but also because OSU had shown some fatal flaws. You'd think that in order for OSU to win going away, that OSU would've cured those flaws for at least this game. But they didn't.

- The defense still gave up 39 points and over 400 yards (Although you argue 6 points were special teams fault).
- They committed 12 penalties for 150 yards (UM had 7 for 72)
- They were 2 for 4 scoring TDs inside the 10, and didn't score till they were already up 15 (technically, they were 2 for 5 if you count their last kneels, which you shouldn't).

And they fumbled a kickoff that lead to an easy TD. They did win the turnover battle 2 to 1, but the game was over when they got #2. They played the same way they did when they struggled with teams all year. They just did it better in this game. So strange.

Haskins ended up with 396 yards and 6 tds. OSU did rush for 171 yards as a team, although alot came after the game was decided. Campbell has 192 yards and 2 TDs.

OSU ended up beating Northwestern in the B1G Championship. They finished 6th in the final CFP, behind Oklahoma, and inexplicably behind 2 loss non-champ Georgia. They beat Washington in the Rose Bowl (already covered) and ended up 3rd in both polls (at least they jumped some teams!). Michigan lost to Florida by 26 after a few NFL Wolverines sat out.

It was a fun game that almost no one saw coming. It's a shame they didn't play like this all year, because I would've loved to see Haskins go up vs Clemson or Bama. But we'll always have this game.

 

Snowblind

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Was at that penn state game in 2017 with my girlfriend and it was my first time storming the field after a win (hurt my foot jumping down :chuckle: ). But man, I remember watching jt turning into drew brees for a little bit and changing the outcome of that game. I have pictures from our spot on my phone or computer somewhere. It was one of the best games I've ever been to.
 

gijimbo

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Was at that penn state game in 2017 with my girlfriend and it was my first time storming the field after a win (hurt my foot jumping down :chuckle: ). But man, I remember watching jt turning into drew brees for a little bit and changing the outcome of that game. I have pictures from our spot on my phone or computer somewhere. It was one of the best games I've ever been to.
This game was incredible. It also led to my all-time favorite highlight video put out by OSU. I watch this thing all the time. So well done.

Gus Johnson is amazing.

“JOE. THOMAS. BARRETT. Who says I can’t win a big game?”

Also, super cool shot in the video before JT leads the game-winning drive. Future first-round NFL draft picks/Heisman winner and finalist Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins dap him up on the sideline.

 

-Akronite-

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That Penn State game is an all-timer given where our rivalry is/was and the effort it took to come back.

That Michigan game though... Going in was the first time since Tressel left that I was convinced we were the lesser team and we were going to lose. We had been overdue for a loss for years, especially at home, and we had refused to play to our potential all year. Michigan was riding high and I just felt like it was an ass-beating waiting to happen. Not only had I accepted that, honestly we deserved it. Somehow, karma said fuck it and let us run all over those poser fucks.

People like to complain about blowouts, call them boring, but when it's a rival I will eat it up every time. And when you embarrass your greatest foe at a noon game, it means you get to soak in the rest of the football all day with bragging rights already won, a sweet feeling.

I must say my favorite sports tradition is sitting in front of a big screen on the day of The Game with a big plate of Thanksgiving leftovers to watch the Buckeyes beat Wolverines ass all over the field.
 

col63onel

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10) OSU 59, Wisconsin 0 2014 B1G Championship

"
I got one thing to say: CAR-DALE JONES...CAR-DALE JONES...the whole state of Ohio is counting on CAR-DALE JONES"

If Gus Johnson isn't your hero, you are doing it wrong.

We revisit the 2014 team of destiny. Previously discussed were road night wins over PSU and MSU. Also mentioned was the 2014 version of The Game. OSU won, but lost starting QB JT Barrett to a broken leg. Cardale Jones came in and finished the game.

This game was a confluence of storylines.

1.) The CFP.

OSU headed into this game 5th in the CFP. Here were the rankings and the opponents on the final week of the season (all rankings reflect CFP).

1 - Alabama, #16 Missouri, SEC Championship
2 - Oregon, #7 Arizona, PAC 12 Championship
3 - TCU, 2-9 Iowa State
4 - Florida State, #11 Georgia Tech ACC Championship
5 - Ohio State, #13 Wisconsin, B1G Championship
6 - Baylor, #9 Kansas State

These were the last 6 teams with 1 or 0 losses. Unless a chaos scenario where at least 3 of these teams lost, the final 4 was going to be some subset of these teams. Alabama, Oregon and Florida State were all considered "win and in". Even though FSU was behind TCU, FSU was undefeated but had been unconvincing in many wins, thus the #4 ranking.

There was obviously a possibility that one of those three would be upset. But if none of them were, it would come down to OSU, Baylor and TCU for the last spot. You'll notice that TCU and Baylor were playing regular season games, as the Big 12 had only 10 teams and thus no championship. That meant each Big 12 team played the other 9. Baylor had beaten TCU by 3 at Baylor earlier in the year. Baylor's only loss was to West Virginia. It seems odd that Baylor would be 2 spots behind TCU, with them both having the same record and Baylor winning head to head. Part of the reason was Baylor had yet to play Kansas State yet, which was TCU's best win. Part of it was Baylor scheduled 1-11 SMU, 5-7 Buffalo and FCS Northwestern St in non-conference. And part was that TCU looked better for most of the year. So, of the 3 "maybes" the commitee liked TCU first, then OSU and Baylor last.

Some of those games happened before kickoff. Friday night, Oregon avenged their only loss and thumped Arizona, and they were in. TCU beat hapless ISU 55-3 in an earlier kickoff Saturday. Bama kicked off at 3:30 and soundly beat Missouri. FSU and Baylor kicked off at the same time that OSU did. So OSU knew there chances were either a) hope FSU loses or b) be so impressive that they jump a team that just won by 52.

2)


Jones was a Tressel recruit from Glenville. He did a year at a prep school to help get eligible. His most notable moment to date had been the above tweet and a vicious tackle after throwing a pick vs Illinois. He didn't do much vs Michigan in his quarter of relief. Since he was a year ahead of Barrett, many assumed he would take over for Braxton Miller after Miller's injury, but obviously was beat out. He went from 3rd string to starting for the #5 team who had to put up a big performance to jump to #4. As Gus said, we were all counting on him, but had no idea what to expect.

3) As was mentioned in the Michigan game recap, OSU walk on defensive lineman Kosta Karageorge had gone missing. He was found, tragically taking his own life. OSU DT Michael Bennett wore Karageorge's 53 for this game.

OSU's opponent was Wisconsin. Wisconsin was making their 3rd B1G Championship game in 4 years, winning their previous 2. They lost their opener to LSU and a random game to NW, but beat ranked Minnesota and Nebraska teams to win the B1G West by 2 games. RB Melvin Gordon had rushed for 2000 yards and would finish runner-up in the Heisman voting. They were coached by former Meyer assistant and Utah State head coach Gary Anderson, who was in his 2nd year after Bret Bielema went to Arkansas.

Because the game was such a blowout, the recap will be a little lighter. And really, you need to watch the game to get a sense of the utter domination. Perhaps the best played OSU game I have ever seen, when you factor in quality of opponent.

In the MSU game this year, OSU came out throwing, despite being a run first team. They did so a little in this game, too. The first play was an 8 yard pass to Michael Thomas. After 3 Zeke runs, Jones completed a 9 yard pass to Corey Smith. On the next play he found Devin Smith for a 39 yard TD, and OSU was up 7-0. Jones' body language and he came to sideline showed complete confidence.

A few drives later, OSU started at their own 7. Zeke ran for 12 yards, then ripped off an 81 yard TD for a 14-0 lead (OSU got away with a pretty blatant hold). Joel Stave threw a pick to Von Bell on the next drive. OSU drove down to the 1, but settled for a FG and a 17-0 lead early in the 2nd. A Bennett sack forced a 3 and out and OSU got the ball at their own 37. On the 3rd play, Jones dropped back. With a Badger hitting him as he released, he dropped a dime to Devin Smith in the endzone for a 44 yard score. 24-0, and the rout was on.

Another three and out, and OSU scored again. Jones completed 3 passed for 45 yards and ran for 8 more, with Elliot getting the score. OSU's next drive was thwarted by a targeting call. After the punt, Wisconsin tried to run out the half. Melvin Gordon fumbled, and Joey Bosa scooped it up for a TD. 38-0 at halftime.

Against #13. With a 3rd string QB. As Gus said, "BLOOD THIRSTY"

On their first drive of the second half, Jones again found Smith for for 42 yard score. Wisconsin twice got somewhat deep in OSU territory, but Stave was picked once and Wisconsin failed to convert a 4th down on the other. Zeke Elliot had a 60 yard run where he lost his shoe midway through the play. Curtis Samuel scored on the following play. Samuel scored another TD on a drive where Brionte Dunn did much of the work. At one point, OSU tried a throwback from Jalin Marshall to Cardale, but it fell incomplete. OSU did miss a FG, but played as perfect as you could. 59-0 final.

Jones threw for 257 on 17 attempts and Zeke ran for 220 on 20 attempts. Smith had 137 yard and 3 TDs on 4 catches. OSU averaged 21.4 yards per completed pass and 7.9 per rush. Gordon managed 76 yards on 26 carries, his lowest, save a weird 38 yard output vs Western Illinois. His next lowest was 122.

That brings us back to the CFP. FSU ended up holding on the beat Georgia Tech by 2. So, no upsets, and it came down to OSU and the 2 Big 12 schools.

Even though they were competing with Baylor, OSU NEEDED Baylor to beat Kansas St. A Baylor loss would've given TCU the outright Big 12 title, and reason for the committee to keep them ahead of OSU. However, Baylor did win, and it created co-champs. Because Baylor had won head to head, the committee had to have Baylor jump TCU. However, they were already behind OSU, and Baylor couldn't jump a team who had won 59-0 vs #13.

So the committee did the only thing the could do. TCU fell to 6th (despite winning by 52), Baylor rose to 5th (had to be ahead of TCU), and OSU slid into 4th. Had the Big 12 had a championship game, the winner for sure would've been ahead of OSU. Had Baylor lost to KSU, I think TCU stays ahead of OSU. Had somehow TCU lost and Baylor still won...I have no idea. But the Big 12 co-champs forced the committee to eliminate TCU. Thus marked the first, and to date, last time the committee gave OSU the benefit of the doubt.

Wisconsin went on to win the Outback Bowl in OT over Auburn.


9) Ohio State 13, Michigan 9 2002

This was the final hurdle for the 2002 team of ultimate destiny.

OSU was 12-0 for the first time in school history. They were 2nd in the BCS and the only undefeated team left besides Miami. Beating Michigan would clinch a spot in the BCS title game. Since the Penn State game, Maurice Clarett had only played 1 out of 3 games, and he left that game early with a re-aggravation of his shoulder injury.

The 2002 was a typical solid Lloyd Carr team. They were 9-2 and ranked #12. They had lost by 2 to a 10 win Notre Dame team and soundly beaten by Iowa at home, but still had good players all around their offense and defense.

The first half was mostly about Michigan controlling the clock. And Maurice Clarett. OSU got the kickoff and went 3 and out, with Clarett not seeing the field. Michigan then went on the first of 3 methodical 1st half drives. On the 12 play drive, they twice converted a 3rd and 11, once to Braylon Edwards and once to Ronald Bellamy. However, OSU stopped a third 3rd and 11 at the their own 19, and Michigan settled for a FG and 3-0 lead.

When OSU's offense came out for the next drive, Lydell Ross was the RB, and he caught a 3 yard pass. After the play, Clarett ran onto the field and into the huddle, and the stadium erupted. Clarett caught a screen pass on his first play, good for 9. Two plays later, he ran for 7 and a first down. 2 more plays later and he scampered for 28. A PI set up OSU at the 2, and Clarett took it around right end and scored his first TD since October 12, and OSU lead.

The next Michigan drive was even longer than the first, this one coming in at 16 plays. Michigan converted 3 3rd downs, again having Bellamy and Edwards convert long ones. 8 of the 16 plays gained 3 yards or less, but converted enough 3rd downs for another FG, cutting the lead to 7-6 with 11 left in the 2nd.

OSU got a first down, then was forced to punt, which ended up at the Michigan 7. Michigan then unleashed the mother of methodical drives. 19 plays and nearly 8 and a half minutes. They again converted 3 3rd downs, all on the ground. The first 2 were by BJ Askew. The third one was scramble by lead footed John Navarre, who somehow juked Mike Doss and set up a first and goal at the 8. Then things REALLY slowed down. Tim Anderson sacked Navarre on 1st down, and Michigan called a timeout. Out of the timeout, Michigan moved early, setting them back to 19. Navarre threw a jump ball to Braylon, who caught it for a TD....but threw Chris Gamble to the turf to do so and was called for offensive PI. Michigan had 2nd a goal...from the 34. 2 passes got Michigan down to the 4, but they settled for another FG and a 9-7 lead.

Michigan had only 3 drives in the first half, and never punted. They were 8 of 11 on 3rd downs and had a nearly 2 to 1 time of possession advantage. But OSU's ability to get in the endzone and hold UM to FGs kept them in it.

The whole second half was about OSU trying to inch their way for a go ahead score. Before they could, both teams waged an epic field position battle. Michigan punted first, and OSU was forced to start at their own 16. They managed 1 first down, but a good Michigan return on the punt put the ball at the UM 41. AJ Hawk blew up a screen and Michigan's punt went for a touchback.

OSU's first attempted Tresselballing backfired. The Buckeyes moved to the UM 35 but punted. Andy Groom had a rare shank to the Michigan 23. Michigan converted another 3rd and 7 to Edwards, but had to punt from midfield. Gamble's return only went to the 6. Tresselballing take 2, and this one worked, thanks to a little help from the offense. On the 1st play of the 4th, Clarett ran for 18. After a sack, Krenzel converted a 3rd and 14 to Jenkins. OSU eventually punted from their own 42, and Michigan's return was stopped at the 17. The defense allowed a 3rd down conversion to Bellamy, but a Kenny Peterson TFL forced a punt at the 28. Michigan interfered on the catch, and OSU started at their own 43 with 8:30 left. This was how OSU did it, get favorable field position, then cash in. This had to be the drive where they cashed in.

And this was quite a drive. On first down, Krenzel tried to throw to Jenkins, but FB Brandon Schnittker caught it instead and went for 15. OSU faced a 4th and 1 at the 33 3 plays later. Rather than go to Nugent, Tressel went for it and Krenzel converted on a sneak. On the next play, Clarett circled out on a wheel route, and Krenzel found him at the 6. Two plays later, Krenzel ran an option with and pitched it to Maurice Hall, who scored to make it 14-9. A pass to the FB intended for someone else, a 4th down, a rarely seen wheel route and an even rarer option. Like I said, quite a drive.

Michigan took over with 3:35 left. They converted 2 3rd downs and a 4th down to move to the OSU 30. Darrion Scott had a strip sack that Will Smith recovered and OSU had the ball with 2:02 left. Clarett ran 3 times, but failed to get a first down. Michigan used its last 2 timeouts and took over at their own 20 with a minute left.

The first 3 passes were incomplete. Then Navarre found Braylon for a 1st down. 2 passes to Bellamy mixed in with 2 spikes and a PI call got Michigan to the 24 with 7 ticks left. Navarre tried to find Edwards in the back left corner of endzone, but way overthrew it. When the ball fell out of bounds....1 second remained. OSU was 1 second either from playing for a title or from the most heartbreaking loss in string of heartbreaking Michigan losses. Navarre tried to find Edwards in between Gamble and Doss. But he didn't see Will Allen, who cut in front and picked it off to seal the win.

Michigan outgained OSU by 100 yards, ran 41 more plays and out possessed them by 10 minutes. They were 12-22 on 3rd and 2-2 on 4th down (OSU was 1 of 8 and 1 of 1). Michigan should've won. But Michigan's 5 trips inside the OSU 30 resulted in 3 FGS and 2 turnovers. OSU had only 2 trips, but scored on both of them. On to Tempe!

Michigan went on to beat Florida in the Outback Bowl, and finished #9, with their 3 losses being to #1, #8 and #17, two of them by a combined 7 points.

 

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8) OSU 45 ND 26, 1995

Many of you might not remember or know much about this game. It may seem way high on this list. But I have a reason. I have talked a little about John Cooper and how good his teams were. He could never beat Michigan, but I do think he provided something for the program as a whole. And this game is emblematic of that.

Woody Hayes is undeniably the patriarch of Buckeye Football. His successor, Earle Bruce, was cut from the same cloth. However, towards end of Woody's tenure, and during Bruce's, college football shifted. It was no longer just a regional sport. Schools started recruiting nationally. Woody was always competitive in the B1G.However, he only went 2-6 in his last 8 bowl games. Bruce was better in bowls, but partly because he wasn't as good in the B1G and thus played in lower tier bowls. He had as many Rose Bowl appearances as he did 4th place finishes.

Something needed to change. OSU needed to start becoming a national brand. Cooper had coached at Tulsa and Arizona State, and had been an assistant at various Big 12 and Pac 10 schools (and even Kentucky). He had the pedigree to make OSU into a national power. And it certainly wasn't perfect. He didn't win more than 8 games his first 5 years. But he eventually got the program to be one of the very best in the country, and started bringing in recruits from all over the country.

It's obviously hard to pinpoint when the exact moment that OSU finally became a national power. They were 10-0-1 and ranked 3rd during the 1993 season. But I think this game is a good representation of OSU going national. Notre Dame was still thought of as one of the elite schools. It was a highly hyped matchup and even had a celebrity fan at the game.

It's also the first Buckeye game I remember watching and thinking "wow, OSU football is a big deal". I had been a fan for years, but I think this is the game that made by OSU fandom take off.

Also, the game was a lot of fun with a lot of big moments.

OSU came in ranked #7. They had beaten BC, Washington and Pitt (first 2 were ranked at gametime). Some stars on the team included Orlando Pace, Eddie George, Bobby Hoying, Rickey Dudley, Terry Glenn, Shawn Springs, Luke Fickell and Mike Vrable. Loaded.

Notre Dame had just entered the era where they were perpetually overrated, although we didn't know it yet. Lou Holtz was just 1 season removed from a 6 year stretch that included 5 top 6 finishes (the other year, they were #12) and 1 national championship. In 1993, ND was 10-0 and ranked #2 when they beat 10-0 #1 FSU. So the ND name still had a lot of cache. ND's QB was Ron Powlus. Powlus was one of the most hyped HS recruits in the days before the internet. Beano Cook had famously commented Powlus would win 2 Heismans at ND. They came in ranked #15 after shockingly losing to Northwestern in their opener and beating #13 Texas the previous week.

This was only the 3rd meeting between the 2 teams, with the first two occurring in the mid 30s.

OSU did just enough to stay in the game in the first half, then overwhelmed the Irish in the 2nd.

OSU threatened to score first. On their second possession, a long pass to Glenn helped set them up with a first down at the ND 11. OSU went for a 4th and 2 at the 3, but Hoying overthrew Dudley. ND then had a long drive (16 plays) of their own. Sammy Kinder and former Mr. Football/future Brown Marc Edwards did much of the work, but Powlus also had a 30 yard pass to Derrick Mayes. Faced with a 4th and 1 at the 2, Holtz decided to take the points. After and OSU 3 and out, ND moved much faster. A 30 yard pass to Edwards plus a roughing call got ND to the 9. Kinder eventually ran it in from the 3 and ND lead 10-0 early in the 2nd.

OSU then found it's offense. A 51 yard pass to Buster Tillman put OSU in the redzone. Hoying found Glenn a few plays later for a TD and a 10-7 game. The Irish answered with just Kinder and Edwards. Edwards had 39 yards on 2 carries and 1 catch. Kinder had 5 carries for 26 yards and a 7 yard score to move the lead back to 10. Eddie George then finally made his presence felt with 2 carries and 1 catch good for a total of 25 yards to get the next drive going. A few Hoying scrambles and OSU was in the redzone. Demetrious Stanley fought to sun to catch a fade in the front corner for a 17 yard TD with 48 seconds left. 17-14 was the halftime score.

ND opened the second half with another methodical drive. Edwards converted a 4th down set up a first and goal. After 17 plays, ND settled for a 21 yard FG and a 6 point lead. With the Irish ahead, ABC set up an interview with ND superfan Regis Philbin. In the span of setting up the interview, OSU took control of the game.

It started with an OSU punt. ND muffed it at their own 19 and OSU recovered. On 3rd and 6, Hoying found Dudley over the middle. Dudley dragged a few Irish defenders for a TD, and OSU took their first lead, 21-20. The crowd had apparently been waiting to explode. After ND fumbled on the kickoff (but recovered), Powlus went to the refs and said the crowd was too loud for him to call a play in huddle. After 2 incompletions, the crowd was so loud, Powlus couldn't call the cadence, so he had the refs stop play again.

That's right, ND complained that the fans were too loud.

Once quieted, Powlus found Mayes for 56 yards down the sideline. As he was running down the field, Powlus cupped his hand to his ear as if to say "I can't hear you" to the crowd. This proved to be a karmic disaster. 2 plays later, he overthrew a receiver, and Spings made a beautiful, diving interception.

When they came back from commercial, they went to the live Regis Philbin interview during the ensuing OSU possession. He lamented the change of fortune for the Irish, but still was confident the Irish would win. Right after he literally said, "We're gonna win", Hoying found Glenn on a square in. Glenn made one move, and BOOKED IT down the field, leaving future NFLer Allan Rossum in his dust. On the first play of the next Irish drive, the crowd got really loud. Perhaps this unnerved Powlus, who fumbled the snap and OSU recovered. George scored 3 plays later and OSU lead 35-20 5 seconds in the 4th.

OSU was down 4, and the sequence went: muffed punt, TD pass to Dudley, Powlus complains about crowd, Powlus taunts crowd, Powlus throws interception, Regis Philbin interview, Terry Glenn scores 80 yard TD, Powlus fumbles snap, Eddie George scores.

Whew.

Here's the Philbin sequence:


OSU had one more big moment. ND answered in 6 plays, with Kinder scoring again. ND went for 2 but failed. On the first play after the kickoff, George took a sweep left and rumbled 61 yards, leading to this well known photo.



He scored a few plays later and OSU lead 42-26 with 11 and a half left.

ND's tried a fake punt on their next drive, but Edwards was tackled just short. OSU converted it into a FG. After a 3 and out, OSU ran out the last 5 minutes for the 45-26 final.

ND had some nice numbers. Powlus threw for 243 on only 23 attempts, Kinder rushed for 144 and 3 scores, Mayes had 125 receiving and Edwards had 104 combined rushing and receiving. But Hoying threw for 272 and 4 scores, while George had 210 and 2 TDs. The 3 turnovers is what turned this game into a rout, and they all occurred in just over 5 minutes of gametime.

And for the last 25 years, OSU has rarely left the upper echelon of CFB. Many factors have kept them there, but I like to think that this game is the unnoficial starting point of this sustained excellence. And it really jump started my fandom.

Notre Dame won out in the regular season, including over #5 USC. They rose all the way to #6 before losing the Orange Bowl to FSU, eventually finishing #11. The following year, the teams met in South Bend, with OSU winning 29-16. Notre Dame finished 8-3, but declined an Independence Bowl bid because they thought it was beneath them. Holtz left after the season. It was also Powlus' senior season, and he left his name all over the ND record book. But he never reached the "two Heisman hype". While Notre Dame has certainly had some good to great years since, they have yet to get back to their former elite status.

OSU won their 1st 11 games and were ranked #2 when.....sigh.

 

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7) OSU 10, Purdue 6 2002

The technical name of the play is "King Right 64 Y Shallow Swap". But you know it better as "Holy Buckeye".


(credit to wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Buckeye)

Brent Musberger was the voice of bigtime college football for a while. He unofficially followed Keith Jackson in that role. I'd imagine that's like Roger Moore taking over for Sean Connery as James Bond. Really good in his own right, but impossible to to replace a legend. (Yes, I know it went Connery, then Lazenby for a movie, then Connery again, then Moore).

Two years prior to this, Purdue beat OSU on a long pass from Drew Brees to Seth Morales. Musberger did the game and exclaimed "Holy Toledo" after the play. This call had to be a callback to that play, right? If so, you're a legend Brent. Even if not, still a legend.

We re-visit the 2002 team. They made a living out of winning the close ones, often against 'inferior' opponents. We've covered the close wins over Penn State and Michigan, but they were both top 15 opponents. They needed a pick in the endzone in closing minutes to beat Cincinnati. They needed a 4th quarter TD to beat 8-6 Wisconsin. They needed OT to beat 5-7 Illinois. But this game really was the biggest heart stopper of them all. Despite all that, they came into this game #2 in the BCS after previous unbeatens Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Georgia all lost. The only other undefeateds were #1 Oklahoma and #3 Miami.

Purdue was 4-5. But might've been the most impressive 4-5 team in history. Their losses were to the following teams (rankings denote final AP rankings): #17 Notre Dame, Wake Forest (who was bowl eligible), #8 Iowa, Illinois in OT and #9 Michigan. These 5 losses were by a combined 22 and no loss was bigger than 7. Purdue's 4 wins were by 41, 4, 15 and 31. If you put that through a Pythagorean winning percentage, you get that Purdue should've been about 6-3. Against a schedule featuring 2 top 10 teams, another top 20 team and 2 more bowl teams (Wake Forest and Minnesota), and this is probably a team on the cusp of being ranked (or better) on the road. Instead, it was seen as a 'weak' opponent, even though it wasn't.

Injuries were a key storyline. Maurice Clarett had missed the previous game vs Minnesota after hurting his shoulder vs Penn State. Also missing for OSU was their #3 receiver Chris Vance, who was attending his brother's funeral. Purdue had been running a 2 QB system with soph Kyle Orton and frosh Brandon Kirsch. Kirsch had broken a bone in his hand the previous week at a frat party. Both Purdue QBs would play.

You can tell by the score this wasn't a high scoring game, and we know that really, only one play mattered. There were 12 total punts, so I will try and keep the commentary relevant.

Purdue got the ball first. Orton got the start and hit his first 6 passes to get to the OSU 15. His 7th pass was incomplete and his 8th pass was a nifty interception by Dustin Fox in the endzone to keep Purdue off the board. After a couple punts, OSU drove near midfield. However, Craig Krenzel was picked off by Niko Koutouvides, who returned it to the OSU 23. The Bucks defense allowed a first and goal at the 6, but then stiffened and forced a short FG for a 3-0 Purdue lead.

After an OSU punt, Purdue started at their own 20. On a first down play, Orton found RB Joey Harris for 30 yards. After converting a 4th and 1, Purdue eventually moved to OSU 19, but Purdue missed a 36 yard FG. On Purdue's next drive, Orton was intercepted again, this time by Matt Wilhelm, at the Purdue 41 with 3:15 left. After 2 first downs, OSU faced a 3rd and 9 from the Purdue 12 with 19 seconds left and no timeouts. Krenzel decided to run and was tackled short of the 1st down with 14 seconds left. In a mad scramble, OSU got the FG unit on, and got the ball snapped just before the clock ran out. Purdue protested, and Musberger seemed adamant, but replays showed OSU got the snap off before time expired. Nugent's FG made it 3-3 at half. The stats were pretty even, but Purdue had 3 scoring chances to the Buckeyes 1, and the Buckeyes nearly squandered theirs. A tie seemed like a gift.

The second half started off very eventfully. Purdue squibbed the kickoff and OSU returned it to their own 41. On the 3rd play of the drive, however, Clarett re-aggravated his shoulder injury and did not return. The drive stalled after a Lydell Ross fumble. Brandon Kirsch then came in for Purdue's first drive. Like Orton, he started out very hot. On his first drive he went 5-5 for 40 yards and rushed twice for 10 yards. However, OSU was able to get a stop at their own 37, where Purdue opted to punt on 4th and 1.

After an exchange of punts, OSU seemed to be on the cusp of breaking through. Michael Jenkins blocked a punt that OSU recovered at the Purdue 37. However, OSU got no first downs and actually lost 5 yards before punting. Groom's punt was downed at the 10. OSU forced a 3 and out and Gamble returned the punt to midfield early in the 4th. However, 2 Ross runs lost a yard and a Krenzel scramble was way short. 3 of OSU 4 drives in the second half started at their own 41 or better. However, they managed only 1 total first down on those drives and none after Clarett left. It seemed like was blowing their chances.

On the first play after a touchback, Kirsch found Raymond Williams for 58 yards on a blown coverage. Purdue then ran Brandon Jones 5 straight plays to get to the OSU 4. Wilhelm sacked Kirsch on 3rd down, but Purdue converted the FG and lead 6-3. And it really felt that 6-3 was going to be the final score. The offense could not do anything without Clarett.

OSU's offense showed a little life on their next drive. Krenzel completed 3 straight passes and gained 2 first downs before a 3rd down sack ended the drive at midfield. Groom's punt was downed at the 8. OSU forced a 3 and out and Gamble's return went to the Purdue 46. OSU had 3:10 left and 2 timeouts. It was now or never.

It looked like never. On 1st down, Krenzel pump once and was sacked. On second down, he missed a wide open Ben Hartsock. There was only 2:26 left and OSU was facing 3rd and 14, maybe looking at punting and squandering good field position again. On the 3rd down play play, Krenzel couldn't find anyone and had to scramble, then he eventually found an open Hartsock, who was tackled a yard short of the sticks.

Musberger and Danielson both said OSU had to go for it. Danielson noted that either Clarett or Vance would be useful in the situation. Musberger opined that Krenzel could scramble for a 1st down like he did in an earlier game at Wisconsin. Purdue blitzed, probably expecting run. Krenzel's first read was Hartsock, who ran a shallow cross but was covered. Gamble, flanked right, ran the wrong route. His only option was Michael Jenkins, running a fly down the left sideline.

They're going to show the I-Back behind the Fullback on Fourth down. It could be up to the Offensive Line...no, Krenzel's going to throw for it! Gotta get it off! They go for the ballgame...touchdown! Touchdown! Michael Jenkins! On Fourth and One! Would you believe it?! Craig Krenzel strikes with a minute and a half left! Holy Buckeye!


Amazing.

But the game wasn't over. Orton was re-inserted. He completed 2 passes to get Purdue to their own 39. He then went for a home run ball, but Chris Gamble picked it off at the 11. OSU ran out the clock, and escaped 10-6.

It's a game OSU should've lost. But they were the master of the close game that year while Purdue was the master of losing the close game. And it's probably the greatest play in Buckeye history. There are 2 other very memorable plays that feature in the top 4, and the games overall were better. But I think this play takes it.

Purdue went on to win out, including the Sun Bowl over Washington.

 

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Was at that penn state game in 2017 with my girlfriend and it was my first time storming the field after a win (hurt my foot jumping down :chuckle: ). But man, I remember watching jt turning into drew brees for a little bit and changing the outcome of that game. I have pictures from our spot on my phone or computer somewhere. It was one of the best games I've ever been to.
I was there as well. Definitely the best game I’ve ever been to at The Shoe.
 

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6) OSU 21, Arizona St 17 Rose Bowl

The Grandaddy of them All.

Pre-BCS, going to the Rose Bowl was the best OSU could hope do in a year. Sure, if the rest of season went well enough, they could be voted as National Champs in one of many various polls. But they had no control over that. All they could control was winning the B1G and getting to Pasadena.

The 96 team was LOADED. Now, they did lose 3 first rounders in Heisman Winner Eddie George, Biletnikoff winner Terry Glenn and Rickey Dudley. Starting QB Bobby Hoying was also drafted. But they returned 10 starters on defense, including some big names like Mike Vrable, Luke Fickel, Gerg Bellisari and Shawn Springs. Despite losing 3 1st rounders on offense, they still returned Demetrious Stanley, Dee Miller and Buster Tillman. They also returned the great Orlando Pace along with 4 other OLineman. Pepe Pearson was an adequate replacement for George. The QB duties were split between senior Stanley Jackson and Soph JUCO transfer Joe Germaine. Adding to the returning talent were true freshman David Boston, Michael Wiley and Andy Katzenmoyer. Katzenmoyer actually started at LB despite OSU returning their top 4 LBs. Also, soph Antonoine Winfield broke into the CB rotation.

OSU started the year ranked 10. They won their first 2 games vs Rice and Pitt by a combined 142-7. In the Pitt game, Boston returned a punt with only 8 blockers. The next 2 games were a 13 pt win @ #5 ND and a 31 point blowout of #4 PSU. OSU mostly coasted after that, save a 3 pt win over Wisconsin. They did beat a ranked Iowa team @ Kinnick by 12.

Arizona State was in their 5th season with Dick Snyder as coach. The previous 4 years had seen 3 different 6-5 seasons and no bowl games (there were way less bowl games back then, so being above .500 didn't guarantee a bowl) and never finishing in the top half of the Pac10. Despite that, they were ranked #20 to start. They beat Washington by 3 to start the year (Washington was unranked but ended up finishing 16th). 2 weeks later, they shut out #1 and defending National Champ Nebraska 19-0 at home and rose to #6. They were lead by QB Jake "The Snake" Plummer, who ended up 3rd in the Heisman voting (one spot ahead of Pace). Also on this ASU team was Pat Tillman.

This was a year custom made for a 4 team playoff. Florida started the year #4 and beat #2 Tennessee in their 3rd game. Florida State started the year #3. After OSU beat Penn State, the following AP poll went, in order, Florida, OSU, Florida State, Arizona State. This poll came out October 7th. For the next 6 weeks, the top 4 remained the same, and each team got at least 1 first place vote. Then came November 23rd. OSU had already clinched a Rose Bowl bid, but lost to Michigan 13-9. Arizona destroyed arch-rival Arizona to go 11-0. A week later, Florida and Florida State played each other. Florida State eked out a 3 point win at home. The final regular season poll shifted to FSU, Arizona State, Florida, OSU. Same 4 teams all year.

OSU technically tied NW for the B1G title, but won the tiebreaker due to better overall record. They would face Pac10 champs ASU in the Rose. Florida got a rematch versus Florida State in the Sugar Bowl. The top 4 all played each other, almost 20 years before the first CFP.

Most of the exciting stuff happened at the end of the game, so I'll keep it brief until then.

Defenses dominated the first half. Of the 10 non scoring drive in the 1st half, none went more than 20 yards or featured more than 1 first down. Jackson started the game at QB for OSU. On his second drive, OSU took over at their own 17 and needed 6 plays to get to midfield. He then scrambled for 19 yards and found FB Matt Keller for 22 to set up a 1st and goal. On 3rd and goal, Jackson scrambled and found David Boston in front corner of the endzone for a 7-0 Buckeye lead.

OSU forced a punt and took over at the ASU 43. They moved to the 29, but a sack forced a punt. ASU took over at their own 20 to start the 2nd. Plummer connected for 11 on a 3rd and 10 to kickstart the drive. The 13th play of the drive featured an acrobatic diving catch by Ricky Boyer over Winfield for a 25 yard score and a 7-7 tie. OSU briefly threatened on Germaine's first drive of the half but fizzled.

Germaine started the second half and went 3 and out. ASU took over near midfield and despite a 15 yard personal foul on ASU, drove to the OSU 19. However, OSU stopped a 3rd and 1 rush for no gain and ASU kicked a FG for their first lead at 10-7. A penalty on the return put OSU at their own 12. It only took 2 passes to Demetrious Stanley to score. On first down, Stanley made a diving catch at the 28. On the next play, Germaine went play action and found Stanley on a post near midfield. He broke one tackle and was gone. 72 yards and a 14-10 lead.

And it remained 14-10 for a while.

2 ASU drives later, Plummer started near midfield. A 15 yard penalty on the OSU bench moved them inside the 30. However, Katzenmoyer picked off a deflected pass and rumbled deep into ASU territory. An illegal block nullified the return, but a bullet was dodged. After a few punts, OSU took over at their own 3 and Jackson was re-inserted at QB. Pearson broke off a 62 yard run to put OSU in ASU territory. OSU settled for a FG attempt. ASU blocked it and returned the block for a score. However, and illegal lateral nullified the TD.

ASU took over at their own 42. Plummer converted a 3rd and 5 on a 10 yard pass. A few plays later, he converted a 4th and 4 on a 29 yard fade down the left side. 3 plays later, Plummer avoided a Katzenmoyer blitz and scrambled for an 11 yard TD and a 17-14 lead with 1:40 left.

Germaine was back at QB and OSU had only 1 timeout left. Luckily, a good return got OSU to the 35. His first 2 passes were drops near midfield. He then found Stanley for a 1st down. Two more incompletions, and he again converted a 3rd and 10 to Stanley. Another pass to Stanley got them inside the 30 with just under 50 ticks left. OSU false started to make it 1st and 15 at the 34.

Then pass interference became a key plot point.

Germain threw to Stanley at the goaline, which was incomplete, but pass interference gave OSU a 1st down just inside the 20. On 1st, Germaine scrambled and missed Keller on a throw near the sideline. On 2nd down, he threw wide to Stanley. Stanley was blatantly interfered with, but no flag came. Dick Vermeil (in his pre-Rams days) joked "The refs outta donate their checks to charity on that call." Not quite sure what that means but I love it. On the next play, Germaine tried Boston near the goaline. He missed, but ASU was flagged for another PI and a 1st and goal at the 5. In a 4 play span, ASU twice was called for PI and got away with a 3rd one.

On 1st and goal, Germaine dropped back and had plenty of time. He looked over the middle, which caused the ASU DB in the right flat to move towards the middle. This left Boston wide open in the flat. He caught it at the 2 and waltzed into the endzone for a 20 -17 lead (ASU blocked the PAT). True freshman catching 2 TDs vs the #2 team in the nation in the Rose Bowl. Boss.

Plummer took over with 14 seconds left. He completed 2 passes, but the second one was tackled in bounds and the clock ran out.

Germaine won MVP honors, going 9-17 for 131 and 2 scores. Stanley Jackson added 59 and a score. Demetrious Stanley had 124 yards and a score on 5 catches, all 5 coming on their 2 scoring drives. Boston had only 4 for 20, but 2 tds. Pearson ran for 111 on only 13 carries. Plummer threw for 201 and had the 2 scores.

Florida drubbed FSU 52-20, in their rematch. That vaulted Florida to #1 and OSU to #2. Had OSU beaten Michigan, they would've been National Champs. I still think the 98 team was better. But you could make the case this team was more dominant and talented, and they were certainly as close to winning a National Championship.

ASU finished the year #4. The following year, they went 9-3 and won the Sun Bowl, finishing 14th. However, they then went 5-6,6-6 and 6-6 before Snyder was replaced by Dirk Koetter. If you take away his 96 and 97 seasons, he was only 1 game over .500 at ASU and finished higher than 6th once. Yet, he was 24 seconds away from winning a National Title.

If you take away bowl/playoff games that resulted in winning a national title, I think this is the greatest OSU bowl win. It came at a time when the Rose Bowl was everything. And it was a great game.

There's a full game video plus and shorter video that just shows the game winning drive.

 
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5) OSU 30, Michigan 27 2OT, 2016

This game was a bit like getting stabbed with a spoon for 4 hours.

We've already covered 2 2016 games. A big win in Norman and an OT thriller in Madison. After that win in Madison, things went a little haywire. The following week, they lost at Penn State and then only beat NW by 3 at home. They rebounded with back to back 62-3 wins over then #9 Nebraska and Maryland. They then survived a 2 pt conversion to beat 3-9 MSU 17-16. They entered the game #2 in the CFP behind Alabama.

Michigan came in only 1 spot behind OSU. They had a veteran team, losing only 3 draftees from the previous year. They rolled through the first 9 weeks, beating eventual Pac12 South Champ Colorado by 17, Penn State by 39 and Wisconsin by 7. They also beat Rutgers 78-0. However, Iowa beat them on a last second FG. They rebounded with a win over Indiana before facing OSU.

There was a 3 way tie in the B1G East, with PSU, OSU and Michigan all sitting at 7-1. PSU had a home game against MSU. A Michigan win would send them to the B1G title game. An OSU win would send PSU to the title game, unless they lost to MSU (SPOILER ALERT: they didn't). Most people felt if OSU won, they'd be in the CFP even without winning their division, given their SOS.

The game ended up being a defensive struggle. Michigan got the ball first and drove into OSU territory before punting. OSU got the ball at their own 8, but moved quickly. A 14 yard Curtis Samuel run, and 15 yard pass to Noah Brown and a 19 yard JT Barret run got OSU in the redzone. However, the drive stalled and Tyler Durbin missed a relative short FG. OSU's offense wouldn't look this good for another 3+ quarters.

After an exchange of punts, UM took over at their own 37. A 3rd and 2 conversion and a 19 yard pass to Jake Butt got Michigan in the redzone. They started the 2nd quarter with a 1st and goal. A 5 yard loss on 3rd and goal on a Jabril Peppers keeper set up a short FG and a 3-0 lead.

The next 5 drives totaled 3 first downs and 25 total yards. OSU pinned UM back to their own 6. Wilton Speight went play action. A delayed blitz forced Speight to fling it away to avoid a safety. He threw it right to Malik Hooker, who returned it 16 yards for a score. OSU had their first lead with 4:03 left.

It was short lived. Peppers had a big return to the UM 45. Michigan converted a 3rd and 10 and a 3rd and 2 before Speight found Amara Darboh to get to the OSU 7. UM eventually converted a 3rd and goal from the 1 on a Khalid Hill run and a 10-7 halftime lead.

The second half started poorly as well. A Barrett pass bounced off Samuel to Peppers, which he returned to the OSU 42. In 5 plays, Michigan was down to the OSU 1, but OSU caught a huge break and Speight fumbled the exchange, which OSU recovered. OSU got a first down, but had to punt from their own 19. However, OSU tried a fake (I think it was the punter making a read and not a designed fake) and failed, giving up the ball at their own 22. Michigan had to convert a 3rd and 5, but eventually Speight found Hill for an 8 yard score and a 17-7 lead.

OSU was in deep trouble. They hadn't gained more than 20 yards since their first drive. On their next drive, they actually drove to the Michigan 34, but a dumpoff to Weber lost 6 and killed the drive. OSU punted and UM took over at the 12. Michigan initially converted a 3rd and 6, but a facemask call on a downfield block nullified it. Despite it looking like the correct call, Harbaugh was pretty animate about his displeasure. Michigan converted the 3rd down anyways. Two plays later, Speight threw a pick to Jerome Baker, who returned it to the 13. On the first play after the INT, a Michigan DL moved into the neutral zone, causing OSU LG Mike Jordan to move. Michigan was called for offsides, and Harbaugh threw his play card onto the field, resulting in an unsportsmanlike penalty. The crowd was deafening. OSU cashed in 2 plays later on a Weber plunge.

It's easy to say this in hindsight as someone who has never coached college football. But part of me thinks Harbaugh's demeanor there was part of Michigan's undoing, especially when compared to Urban, who is usually pretty stoic. Things had been going poorly for OSU all game, and Urban never panicked. Harbaugh flew off the handle despite still being ahead and relatively in control of the game. Certainly, this isn't the only factor the decided the game and far from the most important. But for a game that was so close, part of me wonders how it ends if Harbaugh is cooler.

It was now very late in the 3rd and OSU needed another score. They forced a punt, but Michigan downed it at the 16. OSU then went 3 and out. However, Johnston had a 47 yard punt with no return, Michigan lost 6 yards on the next drive due to a Nick Bosa sack, and a short Michigan punt gave OSU the ball at their own 37. At this point, OSU had a total of 79 yards since their opening drive. Barrett changed that with a 41 yard draw on second down. OSU then converted a 4th and 1 to set up a first and goal. On 3rd down, Barret was stopped at the 2. Tyler Durbin was brought in for a chip shot....and missed again.

There was only 7 and half minutes left. OSU's defense rose to the task, forcing a 3 and out. However, Michigan got off a great punt that went out of bounds at the OSU 18 with 5 and half left. The drive started with a sack, but a PI penalty on 3rd down saved OSU. 3 plays later, Weber converted a 3rd and 1 a little short of midfield. The next 4 plays saw Barret find Samuel for 16 on a crossing route, scramble for 4, scramble for 10, then find Noah Brown for 14 to set up a first and goal. However, the drive stalled at the 5. Durbin came on for another chip shot. Harbaugh didn't try and ice him, and he nailed it for a 17-17 tie. Overtime.

OSU started with the ball first. On first down, an option pitch to Samuel gained 18 yards. On the next play, Barrett faked a throw to Samuel, which left the middle of the field wide open, and he strolled into the endzone for a 24-17 lead. Michigan answered in a much more methodical way. They first converted a 3rd down from the 16. Then, on 4th and goal from the 5, Speight found Darboh who made a clutch, sliding catch in the endzone. Speight signaled he wanted to go for 2, but Harbaugh opted for the tie.

In 2OT, Michigan started with 2 runs to set up a 3rd and 4. Gareon Conley knocked away a potential first down pass, and Michigan kicked a FG for a 27-24 lead.

Here we go.

On first down, a simple Barett keep netted 5. On second down, Barrett dropped back and was eventually sacked for a loss of 4. On 3rd and 9, Barrett threw a swing pass to Samuel to the right. Samuel switch directions twice, retreated all the way to the 32, then ran all the way to the left numbers, where he was eventually tackled a yard short of the first down. 4th and 1. OSU tried to quick snap, but Michigan called an alert TO.

Barrett faked a sweep right to Samuel. There was a hole to left that Barrett ran towards. Delano Hill closed it and hit Barrett. Barrett lunged forward and ran right into TE AJ Alexander and bounced back. Officials originally ruled a first down. It was of course challenged, but the first down was upheld. There has been great debate on whether he made it or not. One poster at mgoblog did a good break down saying he probably made it, but impossible to tell for sure - https://mgoblog.com/diaries/resolving-parallax-error.

OSU had a 1st down at the 15. Cue the Brooklyn Dagger



30-27 final.

Ohio State had 4 td drives that resulted in a total of 63 yards. They had 3 other drives that totaled 210 yards but resulted in 1 made FG and 2 missed FGs. Barrett end up with 249 total yards, but on a combined 62 carries and throws. Samuel had 86 yards on only 11 touches. Had OSU been more efficient in the redzone, they could've won somewhat comfortably. Had they not gotten the 2 TDs off Speight INTs, they would've lost comfortably. OSU only lead for 3:57 of regulation, and trailed for all but 1 second of the 2nd half.

After the game, Harbaugh said he was "bitterly dissapointed" and held his hands a few feet apart to show how far short he thought Barrett was. He was fined 10k by the B1G.

OSU made the CFP playoff, but got shut out by Clemson, leading the hiring of Ryan Day as OC. Michigan went to Orange Bowl and lost 33-32 to FSU, despite Peppers sitting out.

It's the second highest OSU-Michigan on the list. It was tough sledding, but perhaps the greatest ending to The Game in history.

 

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4.) OSU 42, Oregon 20 2015 National Championship Game

Sports-reference is a great website. I first learned about for MLB, but have also used it a ton of NBA, NFL and CFB as well. Among their many tools, you can search their database of games for any criteria.

Their database for games in CFB goes back to 2000. Since then, there have been 422 games where the turnover margin was 4-0. Full list

Of those 422 games, only 40 times has the team that lost the turnover battler 4-0 won. See here. Of the teams that won, a lot of times it's a BCS/Power 5 school vs either a really bad Power 5 or a mid major or a FCS school. Occasionally, you get a good team winning the turnover battle 4-0 and lose, such as when Michigan beat Heisman winner Tim Tebow in the 2008 Citrus Bowl doing just that. Also, somehow Duke did this 3 times and lost.

Anyways, 40 out of 422 is a winning percentage of 9.4%. Unless you are Hue Jackson, that is not very successful. If you do it vs anyone other than a cupcake, high likelyhood you'd lose. Do it against the #2 team in the country with a Heisman QB? You're getting blown out.

Yet the 2014 Buckeyes basically did this, and not only didn't get blown out, not only didn't lose, but actually blew the other team out. (Technically the turnover battle was 4-1, but as we'll see, that's basically a minor technicality)

We've covered the 2014 enough. The game leading up to this features a little later. We all know the story that OSU was down to pre-season 3rd string QB Cardale Jones.

Oregon was in year 2 post Chip Kelly. They started the year ranked 3rd in the AP poll. They beat #7 MSU in week 2 by 19. In week 5, they lost a stunner to Rich Rod's Arizona squad. A win the following week at #18 UCLA got them back on track, as well as a win at #17 Utah. They were 5th in the first CFP poll, and quickly climbed to 2nd. In the PAC12 title game, they got revenge on now #8 Arizona by 38, and entered the playoff #2. In the Rose Bowl, they faced defending champs and undefeated FSU. They turned a 5 point halftime lead into a 39 point win, aided by 5 turnovers, including an infamous Jameis Winston self fumble that was returned for a score. They were lead by Heisman winner Marcus Mariota at QB. The FSU game was a bit typical of Oregon in a certain sense. They might play even with teams for a while, then all of sudden they'd go on a huge run, often with some turnovers created. Their defense would give up yards and points, but more than made up for it in turnovers. They were also known for a very fast pace, often running plays about 10 seconds after the last play ended.

It's fair to ask how this game is so low. OSU has only won 2 National Championships in this era, so that means that 2 non-National title games are ahead of this. And one game from this season is ahead of this one. My answer is - this was a blowout. Every other game in the top 6 came down to the last play. I can certainly see arguments for this being higher, but it was a less exciting game.

And it didn't start out very well. Oregon went right down the field in 11 plays. 9 of the 11 plays gained between 6 and 12 yards, and Oregon never faced a 3rd down. Mariota went 4-4 for 30 yards and ran twice for 15. Thomas Tyner had 4 straight runs for 31 yards. OSU did force and recover a fumble, but it was correctly overturned by replay. Tyner had a self fumble, but it bounced back to him. The scoring play was a 7 yard pass to Keenan Lowe.

OSU was able to get 1 first down on their first drive. But Jones missed his only pass attempt and Zeke only had 5 yards on 2 carries. After a punt, Oregon netted 28 yards on their first play, and OSU was looking overmatched early. However, OSU forced a 3rd down, which Oregon failed to convert via a drop. It was the first break for OSU. Oregon, however, downed the punt at the 3.

On 3rd and 8 from the 5, Jones found a wide open Corey Smith for 26 yards. On the next play, Jalin Marshall made an acrobatic catch for another 26. After 2 runs sandwiching an incomplete pass, OSU faced a 4th and 2 at the Oregon 35. OSU ran Marshall on a jet sweep, and he got the first down by inches. 2 plays later, Zeke scampered 33 yards on a trap and it was tied 7-7.

Oregon got a 1st down on their next drive, but an Adolphus Washington TFL set up a 3rd and 12. Mariota scrambled and found a wide open Dwayne Stanford at the OSU 40, but Stanford dropped it. Big break #2 for OSU. A bad punt and good return by Marshall set up OSU at the Ducks 46. 2 runs by Zeke, a pass to Michael Thomas and a PI got OSU to the 1, where Jones found Nick Vannett on play action for a score and OSU's first lead.

OSU forced another punt. OSU started the 2nd quarter with a 17 yard Jones scramble on 3rd and 9. 2 plays later, Jones and Zeke botched a handoff and Oregon took over. Turnover #1, and it was 100% self inflicted.

Then came perhaps the most pivotal sequence of the game.

A couple passes to Byron Marshall got Oregon to a 1st and goal at the 10. On 3rd and 7, the Ducks ran a sweep that was stopped at the 3. Oregon showed no hesitation in going for it, as had been their custom all year (and dating back to Chip Kelly). Mariota handed off to Tyner, who fought his way to the 1, but about 6 OSU defenders held him just short. It was 100% the right call for Oregon to go for it, but they were also accustomed to succeeding in those situations.

OSU's offense was in high gear now. Zeke had a 26 yard run to get them some room. A few plays later, Jones found Smith again for a big gain. However, a good tackle forced a fumble at the Oregon 9. Turnover #2, but credit the Ducks for this one. 2 runs a sack, and Oregon punted from their own 9. OSU got the ball at midfield. On 3rd and 12, Jones found Devin Smith for 45 yards. 3 plays later, Jones snuck it in from the 1.

Oregon looked to be on the ropes. They faced a 3rd and 12 on their next drive. However, Dwayne Stanford made a tough catch for 26 yards to re-ignite the offense. A 15 yard pass to Marshall got them to the OSU 30 and a 14 yard completion on 3rd and 9 got them to the 15. OSU's defense then stiffened a forced a FG. Oregon kicked their FG on a 4th and 4. During the year, I think Oregon would've gone for it. However, they might've been spooked by being down 2 scores and coming away empty handed last time. Settling for a FG in that situation showed that Oregon was rattled.

OSU went 3 and out. Oregon tried a Cal/Stanford, but it was thwarted, and we went into halftime at 21-10. Take away the opening drive and OSU thoroughly dominated. However, 2 turnovers kept OSU from being up by 3 or more TDs. This was the way Oregon had played. If OSU could avoid more silly turnovers, they'd be fine.

Then the 3rd quarter happened.

OSU started out well. Zeke opened the half with a 22 yard run. He converted another first down, then Jones converted a 4th an 1 where he turned a sneak into a sweep. However, his next pass bounced right off an open Jalin Marshall and into the hands of a Duck for an int. Turnover #3 and it was 100% self inflicted. On the first play for Oregon, Mariota found Marshall wide open down the seem for a 70 yard TD (Marshall almost dropped the ball before crossing the goaline). OSU lead 21-17.

The next drive was very similar. Zeke started with a 13 yard run. 4 plays later, Zeke converted a 4th and 1 at midfield. On the next play, Jones dropped back and was flushed. While trying to throw, he lost control of the ball and fumbled without being hit, eerily similar to the Jameis Winston fumble. Oregon recovered at the 32. Turnover #4, 100% self inflicted.

After a 1st down, OSU's defense stiffened. Bosa had a 2 yard TFL, and Eli Apple pushed a Duck receiver out of bounds to force a 3rd down incompletion. Again Oregon kicked on 4th and 4. OSU still lead 21-20. After stopping the initial 4th down attempt, Oregon decided to kick on 4th down and 4 twice. If they get the initial 4th down, maybe they go for both of these 4th downs, and OSU is looking at a double digit deficit. But they were able to offset their turnovers with good redzone defense.

OSU offense had scored 3 times, been stopped 3 times (2 punts and a forced fumble), and 3 times just given the ball away. Luckily, they decided to stop hurting themselves.

Zeke ran twice to get a first down. Then Jones found Michael Thomas on a slant for 17 to get into Duck territory. After a completed pass to Curtis Samuel, Jones converted a 3rd and 3 by running over the Oregon NT. He then completed 5 yard pass to Marshall. Zeke did the rest of the work. He scored from 9 yards out on the final play of the quarter, giving OSU a 28-20 lead.

Mariota completed a 20 yard pass on the first play of the next drive. Then Darron Lee took over. On 1st down, he tackled Tyner for no gain. On 2nd down, he broke up a slant intended for Stanford. On 3rd down, he blitzed and forced Mariota to throw the ball away. OSU took over at their own 24 and proceeded to essentially put the game away.

The drive had a little bit of everything. Zeke rushed 4 times for 20 yards. Marshall and Smith also had runs. Jones only completed 2 passes. One was a 23 yarder to Thomas who evaded a tackle near the sideline to gain 13 extra yards and the other was a 19 yarder on 3rd and 5. Zeke finished it off with a short run for a 15 point lead.

On Oregon's next drive, Bosa tackled Mariota and Mariota left for a play. One of his offensive lineman got a personal foul for coming to his aide. His backup had a false start and an incompletion before Mariota came back in for a 3rd and 26. They didn't convert, and were forced to punt. OSU was able to gain 1 first down before Oregon forced them to punt for only the 3rd time all game.

Oregon got it back with only 4 minutes left. A holding penalty put them behind the sticks. A 4th down pass was nowhere near complete. OSU scored in 5 plays, converting a 4th down by drawing Oregon offsides (which Meyer went NUTS for). Zeke cashed in his 4th score for a 42-20 lead. On Oregon's last drive, Mariota's last heave was picked by Apple, thus keeping it from being a 4-0 turnover margin. But really, it 4-0 for all intents and purposes.

Zeke had his 3rd straight 200 yard game, going for 246 and 4 TDs. Jones threw for 242 and ran for 28 and scored rushing and receiving. OSU only outgained Oregon by 70 yards (plus 40 on penalties). OSU was also 8-15 on 3rd down and 3-3 on 4th, meaning Oregon got 4 stops all games when you take away turnovers. Oregon was 2-13 on 3rd and missed both 4th downs. Bur 4 turnovers should've been enough to mitigate that. The key stat: OSU was 5-5 scoring TDs in the redzone. In 4 trips, Oregon scored 1 TD, 2 FGs and one turnover on downs.

Few people gave OSU a chance to even make the playoff after the Virginia Tech loss (no really). But they pulled off an amazing 3 game stretch with a 3rd string QB. I think a good question for Cavs/Buckeye fans: which 3 game stretch is 'better', OSU's last 3 games this season, or games 5, 6 and 7 in the 2016 NBA Finals?

 

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