25 words or fewer Michigan State has a knack for ruining potentially great Ohio State seasons: 1974, 1998, 2013. But an Orange Bowl spot is a nice consolation prize.
In the BCS/polls
Ohio State dropped to No.?7 in the final version of the final Bowl Championship Series ratings. The Buckeyes ended up No.?6 in the USA Today coaches poll and No.?7 in the Associated Press media poll. Now they are poised to take on BCS No.?12 Clemson in the Orange Bowl. It’s just the second trip for the Buckeyes to that game; they defeated Colorado after the 1976 season
Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde and Ohio State’s running game. Miller was stopped a yard short on fourth-and-2 on the most crucial play of Saturday night’s game and the season, but, overall, he (142 yards), Hyde (118) and the offensive line helped the Buckeyes rush for 273 yards against the nation’s No.?1 defense against the run. The big question was, why didn’t Hyde get more than 18 carries? As for Miller, there is a good chance he will get invited to New York this week as a fast-rising finalist in the Heisman Trophy race, expected to be won hands down by Florida State’s Jameis Winston.
What’s not hot?
The passing game. Short of those maddening hitch routes, the 36-yard throw to wide-open tight end Jeff Heuerman, and the 20-yard touchdown throw to Corey Brown, there would have been no OSU passing game. Miller was a mere 8 of 21, and several of those misses were the result of tight coverage by an underrated MSU secondary. But where were the quick throws to Heuerman or the slant routes to inside receivers taking advantage of voids caused by the running threats of Miller and Hyde?
What went right?
The run defense, almost all game. It focused on MSU’s Jeremy Langford and almost kept intact its reputation for not giving up 100 yards or more to a back this season. However, he topped that plateau in his last couple of carries, including a 26-yarder for the clinching touchdown, which put him at 128. In the end, the run defense couldn’t make the stop that would get the offense back on the field for a last shot.
Back to drawing board
Ohio State cannot defend the pass consistently. Despite the extraordinary efforts of defensive end Joey Bosa and frequent quarterback flushing by the defensive front, MSU’s Connor Cook (304 yards, three touchdowns) still was able to get the ball to his receivers, who often were wide open. Devin Gardner did the same the week before, and Nathan Scheelhaase a couple weeks before that. One has to figure that Winston would have enjoyed eyeing such a target-rich environment. When Urban Meyer said it needs to change, and weeks later it doesn’t, well, it should be an interesting next couple of months.
Bradley Roby had to leave briefly with what appeared to be a knee bruise, and Tommy Schutt needed a tape job for a twisted ankle. Both returned to the game, but in the fourth-quarter series that cornerback Roby missed, the Spartans drove to a touchdown.
Neither team could complain of exhaustion after almost interminable stoppages for television timeouts. Televised by Fox, it was a like an NFL game because often there were commercial breaks after a score and after the ensuing kickoff. The game went on way too long.
Clemson, the ipso facto runner-up in the Atlantic Coast Conference because its only loss was a thrashing it took from Florida State and Winston. The Tigers, led by quarterback Tajh Boyd, were riding high after a season-opening victory over Georgia but come in on a down note: a regular season-ending loss to instate rival South Carolina. Meanwhile, the most recent meeting of OSU and Clemson was the last game for OSU coach Woody Hayes, and we all know what happened that night.
This month’s challenge
It will be to replenish the mojo. The Buckeyes were riding the longest winning streak in the country at 24 games until they jumped the track in the fourth quarter against Michigan State. Now they will have a last shot to let it all hang out against another team long on offense and sort of spotty on defense. Miller vs. Boyd has a chance to be one of the more entertaining postseason games.
The 12-1 Ohio State Buckeyes (No. 7 BCS) will take on the 10-2 Clemson Tigers (No. 12), from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Jan. 3 in Miami in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl. Game time is 8:30 p.m. with ESPN carrying the broadcast from Sun Life Stadium (72,230).
Ohio State will be the home team.
The team hotel is the Westin Diplomat.
First official team functions are on Dec. 29.
This will be only the second appearance for Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl; the last coming 37 years ago and following the 1976 season when Woody Hayes' Big Ten champion Buckeyes defeated the Big Eight champion Colorado Buffalos, 27-10, after falling behind early, 10-0. Ron Springs (98 rushing yards), Rod Gerald (81) and Jeff Logan (79) keyed the offense, which netted 271 rushing yards.
Ohio State and Clemson have met just once: on Dec. 29, 1978, in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. Clemson prevailed, 17-15, when Charlie Bauman intercepted an Art Schlichter pass in the final seconds of a game that would be the final for Woody Hayes after 28 years as Ohio State head coach, 205 wins, five national championships and 13 Big Ten titles.
Ohio State is officially 5-3 in BCS bowl games and, with this ninth official appearance, the program will go down in BCS history as having the most BCS wins and the most BCS appearances. (Note: Ohio State's 31-26 win over Arkansas in the 2011 Allstate Sugar Bowl was vacated.).
Most BCS Bowl Games: Ohio State & Oklahoma tied with 9; Most BCS Wins 5 - Ohio State
Urban Meyer confident Ohio State will rebound in Orange Bowl December 9, 2013 Source: USAToday - It had been 705 days since Ohio State felt the pain of a loss. In the aftermath of an emotional loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game Saturday night, Urban Meyer opened up the Buckeyes' locker room to anyone who wanted to speak.
A few coaches and players took the floor to say words about finishing the season the right way. That finish won't include playing in Pasadena for a national title on Jan. 6, Instead, three days earlier, Ohio State will face Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
Meyer admitted Sunday his team was "heartbroken" after a run of 24 consecutive wins was ended by the Spartans after it lead in the fourth quarter.
The reaction is understandable. The team had harbored dreams of a national championship for 12 months after running the table in 2012 but being forced to watch the bowl season from the sideline due to an NCAA postseason ban from violations that occurred under former coach Jim Tressel.
The challenge for Meyer will be mending those broken hearts and channeling the disappointment. He noted Sunday night that his task isn't easy.
"Momentum is an extremely valuable thing, and when you lose a game, it's difficult," Meyer said. "I have great confidence. A lot of these players have been through a lot of stuff. Last year they went 12-0 and were unable to got play in a bowl game. Now their first chance to play in a bowl game, they're in a BCS game against a great team."
One advantage for Meyer is his experience at Florida four seasons ago. The Gators were the defending national champions and went 12-0 during the regular season before falling to Alabama in the SEC title game.
In the aftermath of the loss, Meyer was hospitalized and then three weeks later announced he was stepping down after the team's upcoming appearance in the Sugar Bowl. He changed his mind one day later, and Florida went on to rout Cincinnati 51-24.
The Tigers have an offense, led by senior quarterback Tajh Boyd, ranked 11th in scoring at 40.2 points per game. Boyd and explosive wide receiver Sammy Watkins will put pressure on a secondary that is the weakest part of an Ohio State defense that has allowed 76 points in its last two games.
Meyer got a first-hand look at the Clemson while serving as an ESPN announcer during the 2011 season. He left Death Valley impressed.
"Their athleticism at receiver is ridiculous and their quarterback," Meyer said. "The element of the quarterback run and the throw is something we've lived on for years. Their scheme is terrific."
Clemson also enters the game off a loss (its fifth consecutive to rival South Carolina) and brings memories of its last trip to the Orange Bowl from two seasons ago – a 70-33 loss to West Virginia.
Tigers coach Dabo Swinney wants to make better memories this time.
"We've never had back-to-back 11-win seasons," Swinney said. "There is a lot of opportunity. It's just our second BCS bowl. We want to play well. We want to represent the ACC well. ... You're playing very possibly the best team in the country."
The question is whether the Ohio State team that shows up to play resembles Swinney's opinion. Meyer is hoping so.
"Not many teams get a chance to win 13 games in a season and obviously finish ranked very highly, Meyer said. "So especially with a lot of these players and what they've gone through the last two years, they're very disappointed, but they understand the opportunity that's been given to them."
ORANGE BOWL: Ohio State (12-1) vs. Clemson (10-2), Jan. 3, ESPN, 8:30PM With Braxton Miller on one side and Tajh Boyd on the other, this year's Orange Bowl won't lack for explosiveness. The game will be decided by quarterback play, with Miller spearheading Ohio State's ferocious running game and Boyd headlining the Tigers' top-ranked passing game. But even in a defeat to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game, OSU proved that weapons other than Miller can carry the load offensively. Clemson's receiver corps, paced by likely All-American Sammy Watkins, might be too much for the Buckeyes' secondary to handle. Will the first team to 40 points win? Or will more be needed?
Source: USA Today Breaking down BCS bowl matchups...
Quick take on Big Ten bowls: Orange Bowl: Ohio State vs. Clemson: A great quarterback battle between Braxton Miller and Tajh Boyd. In fact, not many bowls will have a better matchup of signal-callers. The Buckeyes defense struggled down the stretch, allowing 603 yards and 41 points to Michigan and 438 yards and 34 points to Michigan State in the last two games. Clemson’s offense will be another tough test for this maligned Buckeye defense, as the Tigers are 12th in the nation in passing (329.3 ypg) and 12th in scoring (40.2 ppg). Boyd is a special talent with 3,473 yards passing with 29 TD tosses. Long-time OSU fans will remember these schools met in the 1978 Gator Bowl, which became famous after Woody Hayes slugged Clemson linebacker Charlie Bauman—ending Hayes’ illustrious career in a dubious fashion. Source: BTN...
Ohio State recruiting: State Secrets, 11/29HERE Ohio State recruiting: State Secrets, 11/27HERE What an angry Urban Meyer looks likeHERE BCS Standings: Ohio State Buckeyes Could Jump FSU HERE Why the 2012 and 2013 teams are among the highest scoring ever at OSU HERE Evan Spencer story HERE Hath Hell Frozen Over/Finebaum story HERE Ted Ginn Brandon LaFell O-H-I-O HERE Lou Holtz Takes Mark May to Task HERE Who Gon' Stop Us [Ohio State 2013] Video HERE Ohio State FB Mid-Season Highlights HERE Urban Meyer’s Wife Shelley Really Wants Shovel Passes HERE Our Salute To Veterans & Military O-H-I-O HERE
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