This is 12-for-12: Ohio State’s Perfect Season. Originally, we put this together thinking there would not be an actual football season in 2020, but fortunately that is not the case. So now, this just functions as a fun look at throwback games each week as we prep for Oct. 24.
We have put together a full 12-game schedule for the Buckeyes using one game from each of the last 12 years. The docket is complete with three non-conference opponents, nine Big Ten showdowns, and will also include a three-game postseason with a Big Ten title game and College Football Playoff matchups. We tried to use the best games from each of the 12 years to fill the slots, but some had to be left out to avoid duplicate opponents in the regular season.
We will also be keeping a running total of the regular season’s stat leaders as if all of these games were occurring over one full season. There are many different players that have come through the program during this 12-year span, so only the top three guys in each category will be listed. In the end, we’ll have an interesting concoction of who led the Buckeyes over this 12-game Frankenstein season.
We are going to continue this series even with the announced start date for the actual Big Ten 2020 season, and will drop two Perfect Season pieces a week to try and fit the whole series in before the team’s opener against Nebraska. As we anxiously await the return of Ohio State football, we still have a bunch of games from seasons past to help pass the time.
Game 10 on the schedule: Ohio State vs. Illinois (2012)
Tale of Tape
The 2012 season was an odd one for Ohio State. The team went a perfect 12-0 in Urban Meyer’s first season in Columbus, but you certainly wouldn’t have guessed it if you watched them play. Games against Cal and UAB were closer than they should’ve been early in the year, and the Buckeyes even had close calls against Indiana and Purdue — the latter of which took them to OT. Of course, the story of the season was the aftermath of Tattoo Gate, which made Ohio State ineligible for a bowl game and resulted in a mass exodus of talent prior to the 2012 campaign.
Illinois was also in the first year of a new head coach in 2012, but unlike the successful tenure Meyer would see in Columbus, Tim Beckman lasted just three seasons in Champaign. It was a really ugly year for the Fighting Illini, whose only wins came against Western Michigan and Charleston Southern. They finished with a 2-10 record, and an 0-8 mark in Big Ten play — good for dead last in the conference. Illinois failed to make a bowl game for the first time since 2009.
Both offenses came out of the gates slow, with each team suffering a quick three-and-out on their opening possessions. After Illinois put a field goal through the uprights for the first points of the day, the Ohio State offense woke up and realized they had to play a football game. A long run by Carlos Hyde and a deep pass from Braxton Miller to Jake Stoneburner set the Buckeyes up just outside the red zone, and it wasn’t long before Hyde busted it up the gut for a touchdown.
The Illini closed out the first quarter with yet another field goal, and Ohio State opened up the second quarter with three points of their own to make it 10-6 for the home team. After another quick three-and-out for Illinois, the Buckeyes offense began to hit its stride. A few runs by Hyde and Miller had the ball past midfield, and a big 32-yard completion to Corey “Philly” Brown set up another short rushing TD for Hyde to extend the OSU lead to 17-6.
The Illini offense could not move the ball at all, and after mustering just one total yard on their next drive, they were once again forced to punt. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, were making it look easy as they put up points at will. It took just three plays for OSU to hit pay dirt on the ensuing possession, as Miller hit Rod Smith wide open downfield for a 51-yard TD, growing the lead to 24-6.
Another new set of downs resulted in another punt for Illinois, and Ohio State was now basically in autopilot. Starting with the ball at midfield, a five-play 50-yard drive resulted in another touchdown on a 3-yard rush by Hyde, and it was now officially a rout as the lead grew to 31-6.
Shockingly enough, Illinois’ next drive did not end in a punt! Instead, it was an interception.
Travis Howard picked off Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase, and Ohio State regained possession near the 50-yard line. Neither team would put up anymore points in the first half, and the Buckeyes would be content going into the break with a 25-point lead.
Coming out of halftime, Ohio State continued to run up the score. A long 11-play, 73-yard drive, which included a pair of 20-plus-yard runs by Hyde, ended in a QB keeper for a TD by Miller, and Urban Meyer’s team now led 38-6.
Illinois would wind up going three-and-out for the millionth time, but a fumble by Ohio State gave them the ball back on a short field. It would end up resulting in the first Illini TD of the day on a 1-yard rush by Jon Davis, but the Buckeyes still held a commanding 38-14 lead with under a minute remaining in the third quarter.
OSU got those points back on the next drive anyway. A 37-yard pitch-and-catch from Miller to Brown resulted in a touchdown for the Scarlet and Gray after some nifty moves by the speedy wideout, and that would be the last time we saw the Buckeyes’ starters for the afternoon. A 45-14 lead early in the fourth quarter was more than enough for Meyer to empty the bench.
Illinois would manage one more TD on the day thanks to a fumble by Bri’onte Dunn, but Dunn redeemed himself with a rushing TD on the following drive as Ohio State walked away with a 52-22 victory. The win at the time moved the Buckeyes to 10-0, just as they are now in our Perfect Season here at LGHL.
LGHL Season Stat Leaders (OSU 10-0)
- Terrelle Pryor: 696 Yds / 6 TD / 1 INT (3 games)
- Braxton Miller: 548 Yds / 7 TD / 1 INT (4 games, 3 at QB)
- Dwayne Haskins: 405 Yds / 3 TD / 1 INT
- J.K. Dobbins: 380 Yds / 6.2 Avg / 1 TD (2 games)
- Ezekiel Elliott: 313 Yds / 8.0 Avg / 3 TD (3 games)
- Daniel Herron: 306 Yds / 4.6 Avg / 2 TD (4 games)
- DeVier Posey: 12 Rec / 206 Yds / 1 TD (2 games)
- Devin Smith: 11 Rec / 196 Yds / 4 TD (4 games)
- Corey Brown: 12 Rec / 140 Yds / 2 TD (3 games)
- John Simon: 4.0 (4 games)
- Chase Young: 3.0 (2 games)
- Three tied at 2.0
- Chimdi Chekwa: 2 (3 games)
- Jeff Okudah: 2 (2 games)
- Eight tied at one
There are just two games remaining on the Perfect Season schedule, and they are both classics. Next week, Ohio State battles Saquon Barkley and the Nittany Lions as Penn State (2017) comes to town for a Top-10 matchup in Ohio Stadium.