We’ve spent this past month or so looking back through some of Ohio State’s most exciting games from the last 12 years, and with the real Buckeyes kicking off this Saturday, it is time to bring this series to a close. It has been a ton of fun running through all of these throwback games, and if you missed any of the action, you can find all of the recaps here.
In the latest edition of Ohio State’s Perfect Season, the Buckeyes defeated the Wisconsin Badgers with ease in the Big Ten title game, and as a result they have moved on as the No. 1 seed into the LGHL version of the College Football Playoff. As we have done for the entirety of this series, the CFP matchup is a game selected from one of the previous 12 seasons of Ohio State football.
While there are a few prior OSU playoff games to choose from, we elected to go with an exciting non-conference showdown from a previous regular season instead — the Oklahoma game in 2016. The matchup makes a ton of sense, as Ohio State earned the No. 1 seed in this mock season and the Sooners have been known to frequent the No. 4 spot, which would perfectly set up this opening round game.
If the Buckeyes emerge victorious (which I expect they will ~ wink), the Perfect Season will conclude with the National Championship game on Friday morning — a fitting way to close out the series right before the 2020 team kicks off their season on Saturday. That being said, let’s get to the game!
The Oklahoma offense, led by Baker Mayfield, looked like they were in business early on. Ripping off big chunks in the passing game to guys like Mark Andrews and Dede Westbrook, with some solid runs by Samaje Perine in between, the Sooners worked the ball down to Ohio State’s 10-yard line. The Buckeye defense bent but did not break, and OU was forced to kick a 27-yard field goal.
The DOINK off the right upright kept the home team off the board, but Ohio State quickly went three-and-out on offense after a false start killed the drive. The Sooners faced similar struggles in their next possession, and so the Buckeyes got the ball back right away near midfield.
It would take only four plays for OSU to find the end zone this time. On 4th-and-1, Curtis Samuel broke to the outside and blazed his way down the sideline for a 36-yard TD run as Urban Meyer’s team took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter in Norman.
On their next offensive possession, Oklahoma also looked to convert on fourth down, and ironically the play ended up with the same result — an Ohio State touchdown. On 4th-and-3, Mayfield’s pass was tipped at the line and picked off by Jerome Baker, who returned it 68 yards to the house as the Buckeyes jumped out to a 14-0 lead.
It was a fantastic start for Ohio State, but their celebration would be short-lived as Joe Mixon returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a TD, cutting the OU deficit in half.
As the first quarter was winding down, Ohio State’s offense was getting into a groove. A long 11-play, 89-yard drive, with some nice runs from Mike Weber and J.T. Barrett to keep things moving, ended with a 4-yard TD catch by Noah Brown to put the Buckeyes back on top by two scores at the start of quarter No. 2.
The Sooners added a field goal their next time out to make it an 11-point game, and it seemed as though the home team was beginning to seize a little momentum after Ohio State was forced to punt on its next drive. That thought dissipated rather quickly, as Mayfield was picked off by Marshon Lattimore on their ensuing possession. In just one play, Barrett hit Brown again, this time for a 37-yard TD, and just like that OSU led 28-10.
Oklahoma was able to answer back right away to avoid further damage. After Andrews picked up 20 yards to work the ball down towards midfield, Mayfield hit A.D. Miller for a 35-yard TD pass as Bob Stoops’ boys cut the Ohio State lead to 28-17 with a little over four minutes remaining in the half.
The Buckeyes were not yet done scoring before halftime. An 18-yard run by Samuel and a 16-yard completion to Parris Campbell to start their next drive had OSU rapidly approaching Oklahoma territory. Some more Samuel runs and short passes by Barrett had them all the way down just outside the red zone, when Noah Brown struck again with his third TD catch of the night — this one a ridiculous circus catch around the defender to put Ohio State up 35-17 heading into the locker room.
Meyer’s squad began the second half just like they ended the first half — with points. Putting a heavy emphasis on the run game, Ohio State worked a 10-play, 75-yard drive, and capped it off with the FOURTH touchdown of the night for wide receiver Noah Brown. The Buckeyes were now fully in control of the game, leading 42-17 in Memorial Stadium early in the third quarter.
After the two teams traded punts on each of their next possessions, Oklahoma was able to claw back just a little bit. Runs of 31 yards and 17 yards by Mixon helped aid an 11-play, 88-yard drive which ended in a Mark Andrews TD reception. The score, which came with a little over four minutes remaining in the third quarter, saw the Sooners still trailing 42-24. It was the last touchdown that either team would score in the game.
Ohio State would add a field goal the rest of the way, as the two ranked opponents went quietly into the night. The Buckeyes walked away with a 45-17 victory on the road in a game that was really never in doubt right from the opening kick. Noah Brown totaled five catches for 72 yards and four TDs, and Barrett totaled 226 yards to keep his team undefeated.
Ohio State has advanced to the National Championship in our Perfect Season series, where they will be facing off against Alabama (2014) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.