CFN Analysis: Ohio State's OT Win Over UW
The Buckeyes keep the unbeaten season alive with a win over Bucky.
By Richard Cirminiello
Tough luck, Big Ten.
The Big Ten would have loved for Wisconsin, who'd already wrapped up the Leaders Division, to get by unbeaten Ohio State, who'd already been eliminated from Leaders Division contention months ago. Who wants a four-loss team participating in the conference showcase, especially after it fell at home to an opponent facing NCAA sanctions? Heck, with a trip to Happy Valley in a week, the Badgers are liable to head to Indianapolis on Dec. 1 with a 7-5 mark. Such is life in the glass-is-half-empty sector of the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes have to be delighted this evening. No hardware, but plenty of satisfaction in a season in which there'll be no second season. Kudos to Urban Meyer. The coach and his staff have magnificently navigated the choppy waters of a year with no carrot, bringing the program to within one more victory over Michigan from a spotless record.
There was a lot to like about Ohio State's win in Madison on Saturday. Nothing, though, was more impressive than the play of the D. In a game that the Big Ten's best offense didn't have anything on its fastball, the defense led the charge for a change. Curt Phillips' end of regulation drive aside, the Buckeyes were air-tight, with young LB Ryan Shazier playing brilliantly all afternoon.
The Buckeyes are banned from the postseason in 2012. Next week, Ohio State will play its bowl game against the Wolverines. Today, it won the Big Ten Leaders … sort of.
By Matt Zemek
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For a full second half, the Ohio State Buckeyes didn't lift a finger on offense against Wisconsin. Impotent and trapped inside their own 20-yard line by Wisconsin's steady stream of punts, the Buckeyes didn't look like an unbeaten FBS team. Sure, Ohio State has toiled in the shadows this year despite its unblemished won-loss record, a reality created by… well, let's tell it how it is… athletic director Gene Smith's lack of prudence. Yet, 10-0 didn't feel like 10-0 after halftime arrived at Camp Randall Stadium.
Braxton Miller's grasp of a plane ticket to New York on the second Saturday of December became more tenuous, not less. When Wisconsin improbably passed the ball down the field to score the tying touchdown with eight seconds left, momentum wore a red jersey and a cheesehead. Wisconsin and Ohio State aren't in the same zip code when the quality of their respective quarterbacks is concerned, but the Badgers had the crowd on their side, not to mention the knowledge that they had played the whole second half on the Buckeyes' side of the 50.
Yet, it was as though Ohio State's offense, as soon as it was given a sniff of an opponent's end zone (not its own) by college football's overtime format, rediscovered itself. A team on the ledge found its way to a safe place. A defense that had been on its heels for 30 second-half minutes was able to attack on a fourth-down play and thwart the Badgers' last foray.
No, a national championship is not in play. That's Gene Smith's fault. However, Ohio State's players and coaches can't control what their athletic director has done. They also can't control how mediocre the Big Ten has proved to be in 2012. Every response to in-game pressure by the Buckeyes this season has been magnificent. A win over Michigan will produce something that the NCAA can never take away from Ohio State, if achieved: perfection.
By Phil Harrison
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Congratulations to Ohio State for clinching the Leaders division title in a season of purgatory.
Nobody has been able to close out games better than Ohio State and Notre Dame this year. Period. What Urban Meyer has brought to Columbus is an attitude and air of confidence that was lacking last year. Many of these close games were lost last year, but it has been entirely different in 2012 despite not having much to play for.
And now things are set up pretty well for next week in the Horseshoe as Michigan comes calling. It'll be the biggest game between these two old rivals since arguably the 2007 season (remember Rich Rod interrupted The Game as he tried to "raise them up"). On the line will be a potential division title and trip to Indy for the Wolverines (depending on what Nebraska does), and OSU will try and cap off its first undefeated season since 2002. This is its bowl game, if not more.
Take nothing away from Wisconsin. This was a well played game with what was thought to be the third string quarterback at the beginning of the year. But Curt Phillips played more than well enough to lead the Badgers to victory. Bret Bielema's crew out-gained OSU 360 yards to 236, out-possessed the Buckeyes by almost fifteen minutes, but simply couldn't punch the gas at certain times when a big play was needed.
Still, Wisconsin is headed to the Indianapolis despite the loss. And don't be fooled. The Badgers have a better than fair chance to win against any team that lines up opposite of them. This is still a good football team--losing all four games by a touchdown or less, and by a combined total of 16 points (two in OT).
Let the hype for OSU vs. Michigan begin in earnest now.
By Bart Doan
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It was Big 10 football the way the way Big 10 football is supposed to be. It was Wisconsin with the ball on a fourth and one from the Ohio State one yard line with the game on the line. And then it was Ryan Shazier popping the ball loose and Christian Bryant recovering that kept Ohio State's improbably, often begrudgingly accepted unbeaten season alive. And then it was some guy named Curt Phillips (not disparaging him, he's good) converting a fourth down, and then getting a touchdown to tie two and a half later.
And then it was Ohio State, going into overtime sans momentum, being concise and thorough on the ground, ripping Wisconsin for a 21-14 lead and giving the ball away to see if they could match.
Yet it was the much maligned Ohio State defnese early, and some curious play calling by Bret Bielema, forcing Montee Ball into the middle on a key third down and short in overtime that was stuffed, that did in Wisconsin, giving them rights to the B1G title game, but not the actual division trophy.
How did we get here, by the way? You can be on probation, ineligible to win the conference or the national title, yet get a trophy for winning your division? There's a reason football is the only sport the NCAA does not recognize a champion in. No one knows what's going on.
In the end, it wasn't beautiful, but it was a win. Urban Meyer's career rife with brilliance, no more perhaps than this effort in his first year at Ohio State. He's taken a team with no hope as designated by the NCAA and made them believe, made them avenge, made them win. The legend continues to grow.
But it needs one more game. The Game. Michigan. Ohio State. If Meyer is indeed an Ohio lifer, this is what it comes down to. Michigan could save college football a lot of angst. Urban Meyer could continue to pour water on the cement of his legacy. It feels like the mid 90s all over again, doesn't it?