Over the years, the Orange Bowl has established a lot of college bowl history. The 1964 Orange Bowl was the very first college bowl game to be featured on television in primetime. The Orange Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl are the only two bowl games to air on each of the four primary networks, NBC, ABC, Fox and CBS, during their history. The very first wire photo transmitted across the nation by the Associated Press came from the sidelines of the very first Orange Bowl in 1935.
That inaugural Orange Bowl game featured the Bucknell Bison defeating the University of Miami 26-0. For many years, the pomp and circumstance surrounding the game included a parade, which was a nationally-televised New Year's Eve tradition until television ratings for the parade started to decline, and it became difficult to obtain sponsorships for the elaborate floats.
Between 1935 and today, Ohio State has established an Orange Bowl history that is short, and sweet. The Buckeyes have never been defeated in the Orange Bowl. Of course, they've only played in the Orange Bowl one time.
In 1977, the Buckeyes earned an Orange Bowl bid after finishing the season 8-2-1 following losses to Missouri and That Team Up North and a tie with UCLA, and they were ranked 11th in the nation. Until 1975, the Big Ten maintained a rule that only the conference champion could play in a bowl game, and the Buckeyes benefited from the change after earning a share of the Big Ten title that season.
The Buckeyes faced the Colorado Buffaloes, who had earned a share of the Big Eight championship after finishing the season with a record of 8-3. The Buffaloes were ranked 12th in the nation. In those days, the champion of the Big Eight usually received a bid for the Orange Bowl.
It wasn't looking good for the Buckeyes early in the game. The Buffaloes established a 10-0 lead early in the game. The Buckeyes had amassed -20 net yards in total offense late in the first quarter when Woody Hayes made the decision to pull senior quarterback Jim Pacenta and replace him with sophomore Rod Gerald, who had spent the latter part of the season on the bench due to a chipped bone in his lower back. Pacenta had been unable to get anything going for Ohio State's offense, and had also handed the Buffaloes a field goal after fumbling the ball deep in Ohio State territory. Gerald rushed for 17 yards on his first snap on the field, and sent running back Jeff Logan on a 36-yard touchdown run on the very next play.
The substitution, plus an unfortunate injury to Colorado guard Charlie Johnson, who left the game with a broken ankle, provided the Buckeyes with the necessary spark to pull off a comeback. Things appeared to be looking up for the Buffaloes in the second half when they recovered a Buckeyes fumble on the Ohio State 26-yard line, but the Buckeyes intercepted a pass two plays later that killed Colorado's momentum.
The Buckeyes could have established a much wider margin of victory, but they struggled to close out drives in the second half despite starting with great field position. On five possessions starting from at least mid-field, the Buckeyes only converted two to scores.
It wouldn't matter at the end of the game, however, as the Buckeyes would emerge victorious over Colorado, 27-10. The Buffaloes did not score once after the first quarter. Gerald finished the day with 81 rushing yards on 14 carries as well as one rushing touchdown.
Ohio State's opponent in this season's Orange Bowl, Clemson, has made four appearances in the Orange Bowl. They have a record of 2-2 in the Orange Bowl all-time. Clemson defeated Miami in 1951, and defeated Nebraska in 1982. Clemson lost to Colorado in the Orange Bowl in 1957, and most recently, Clemson was defeated by West Virginia in the Orange Bowl just two years ago.