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Buckeyes Buckeye Archive Perfection! 12-0
Written by Dan Wismar

Dan Wismar

OSU Mich2012cOhio State celebrated one undefeated season after the first quarter Saturday at the Horseshoe, and then went out in the second half against Michigan and completed another one with a dominating defensive performance to beat the Wolverines 26-21, and finish a perfect 12-0. After the game, Urban Meyer said he believed his unbeaten Buckeyes “could go play with anybody in America”.

Jim Tressel and the 2002 national champions were feted in an emotional on-field celebration, ending with the former head coach being carried off the field on the shoulders of his players. A couple of hours later Urban Meyer had a celebration of his own on the Ohio Stadium field after the Buckeyes shut out the Michigan offense in the second half, in a come-from-behind victory before 105,899 fans.

Drew Basil kicked four field goals and Carlos Hyde rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown to pace the Buckeye offense, and Braxton Miller threw for 189 yards and a TD on 14 of 18 passing,, including 8 completions to Corey Brown, who had a career high 95 yards receiving.

The Buckeyes trailed 21-20 at the half, after allowing two big-play scores by the Wolverines, and hurting themselves with a number of ill-advised penalties, shoddy tackling and special teams mistakes in the early going. But an OSU defense that was playing without senior captain John Simon came out after the break on a mission to stop Denard Robinson from running the ball. Robinson had torched them for 124 yards in the half, including a 67-yard touchdown in the final minute to grab the lead for the Wolverines.

Second Half Shutout

OSU MIch2012hOhio State failed to cash in with touchdowns on several good scoring opportunities in the second half, but the Buckeye defense made two Drew Basil field goals stand up for the victory because Michigan could do nothing on offense. To wit:

The Wolverines rushed for -4 yards in the second half, and gained just 60 yards of total offense, half of that on one pass completion to Jeremy Gallon. They did not get more than one first down on any of their second half possessions, and failed to advance the ball across midfield at any point in the final two quarters.

Two Wolverine possessions in the second half ended on fumbles in Michigan territory, one by Robinson and the other by quarterback Devin Gardner, but the Buckeyes could muster only three total points from their good fortune, as Basil’s only field goal miss in five tries spoiled one of those scoring chances. The last Michigan hope to drive for the winning touchdown ended when OSU safety C.J. Barnett picked off a Gardner pass at the Michigan 48, with 4:50 remaining.

From that point, Meyer turned to Hyde, the big running back the coach said afterwards is “developing into one of the best backs in the country.” Hyde picked up two first downs with 27 yards on four carries to allow the Buckeyes to assume the victory formation and jumpstart the High Street revelry.

Early Action

OSU Mich2012gOhio State jumped to the early lead with a touchdown on their first possession of the game. That drive featured four rushes by Hyde, sandwiched around a 52-yard completion from Miller to Devin Smith. Hyde ran it in from 3 yards out, and OSU enjoyed a rare first quarter advantage.

Michigan then drove into OSU territory, but a Gardner fumble at the OSU 33 ended the threat. After an Ohio State punt, Wolverine receiver Ray Roundtree got behind Barnett on the right sideline, and Gardner hit him for a 75-yard touchdown on a 3rd and 2 play to tie it up.

The Buckeyes overcame three penalties to manage a field goal and a 10-7 lead on their next possession, and the defense stopped Michigan on the ensuing drive, but OSU couldn’t stand prosperity. They roughed the punter, and then to compound the problem, Corey Brown muffed the punt, setting the Wolves up at the Ohio State 25-yard line.

Even that wasn’t enough self-destruction for the foot-shooting Buckeyes of the first half. When an incompletion on 3rd and 5 appeared to have forced a field goal attempt, Noah Spence was called for roughing the passer, and the Wolverines took advantage of the gift by scoring the go-ahead touchdown on a 2-yard sneak by Gardner.

Again the Buckeyes would answer, this time with a 59 yard touchdown drive after an exchange of punts. Hyde led the way on that drive with 40 yards on four carries, and Corey Brown scored the touchdown on a 14-yard reception from the right flat. It looked as if the 17-14 OSU lead would carry them into halftime, but Robinson had one more big play in him.

The senior Wolverine QB took off on a sweep to the right, cut it upfield, and somehow stayed on his feet after being sandwiched by two Buckeye defenders, neither of which could wrap him up, and sprinted the rest of the way for the touchdown with just 40 seconds left in the half. You could have made some serious money making book that the 67 yards he ran for the score would be more than Michigan would gain in the second half...or that those seven points would be their last of the day.

Rare Air

OSU Mich2012fThe theme of Michigan Week for Urban Meyer was to exhort his charges to “go where the air is rare”. To “do whatever you need to do to get through that door, because once you’re in there, it smells different, it tastes and looks different”  He said “I'm hoping the guys get that taste and they want to do it again.”  

Doing it again, of course, is what will occupy the attentions and conversations of OSU fans with nothing else to see from their Buckeyes until 2013 rolls around. And until then, Urban Meyer can do no wrong. He has been as advertised, and then some.

Meyer’s Buckeyes lose a lot of talented defensive players for 2013, and early exits by Johnathan Hankins and/or Bradley Roby could complicate things even more, but there is little doubt now that the one-year turnaround of Ohio State football from a 6-7 football team is complete, and the foundation is in place for a winning program well into the future under Meyer.

The coach was effusive in his praise for his senior class, saying after the game “I want to make sure they’re recognized as one of the great groups of seniors in the history of this program”.  Of his 2012 team as a group, Meyer said, “I'm going to see to it when you walk into that Woody Hayes facility this team will never be forgotten, because they deserve that.”

John Simon, who was unable to play due to a bursa sac ailment in his knee, was awarded the game ball by his teammates, a demonstration of the respect they have for his leadership and dedication. Meyer credits the inspired play of his defense to the example of Simon. “When they  [the trainers] DQ’d him, it was like a possessed group on defense. I know why. Because our brother was down...and we presented him the game ball, which was deserving.”


Misc. Game Notes

- 2012 marks the sixth time in OSU history they have finished a season unbeaten and untied.

- At 12-0, Ohio State has its longest winning streak since they went 10-0 at the start of the 2007 season.

- The crowd of 105,899 is the largest ever for an Ohio State-Michigan game in Columbus.

- Ohio State has won 10 of the last 12 meetings in the series.


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