This is 12-for-12: Ohio State’s Perfect Season. In lieu of an actual football season this year, 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.
Game three on the schedule: Ohio State vs. Oregon (Rose Bowl, 2009).
Tale of the Tape
Ohio State was deep in the Jim Tressel era, and was coming off its fourth-straight Big Ten title. The Buckeyes opened up the season at No. 6 in the AP Poll, and were looking to make up for their 24-21 Fiesta Bowl loss to Texas the year prior. However, the team lost a ton of talent to the NFL that offseason, with Malcolm Jenkins, Beanie Wells, James Laurinaitis and Brian Hartline all heading to the league in the 2009 draft.
The Buckeyes would lose a pair of games in the 2009 campaign, including a 18-15 heartbreaker in week two to No. 3 USC and later a shocking upset at the hands of Purdue, which all but crushed any national title aspirations. Ohio State did, however, become the first team to defeat five 10-win teams in a single season, and would earn a spot in the Rose Bowl opposite Oregon after winning yet another Big Ten Championship.
For the Ducks, 2009 marked the very first season of the Chip Kelly era, and he exceeded expectations in year one. After losing to No. 14 Boise State in the opener, Oregon rattled off seven straight wins to get them into the AP Top-10, but a 52-41 loss to Stanford knocked them down a few pegs. They would go on to win their next three games and the Pac-10 Championship, setting up the matchup against the Buckeyes in the 96th Rose Bowl.
Ohio State got the ball first as things kicked off in Pasadena, and right away Terrelle Pryor was making his presence felt. A 24-yard rush by the speedy QB set the Buckeyes up near midfield, and a couple of completions to DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher had OSU knocking on the door. On 3rd-and-10 from the 13-yard line, Pryor found Brandon Saine on the sideline, who broke a tackle and fell into the end zone for an early Ohio State TD, a 7-0 score after the opening drive.
The Silver Bullets would force a punt on Oregon’s opening possession, but a good kick by Jackson Rice had the Buckeyes pinned at their own 2-yard line. Ohio State would work the ball out to the 40-yard line before the drive stalled out, resulting in a punt. However, it was a quick three-and-out for the Ducks on their ensuing possession, and so OSU found itself with the ball yet again with a little over two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The two teams would go on to trade field goals, and it was Ohio State punting the ball back to Oregon now leading 10-3 early in the second quarter. A great return by Kenjon Barner set the Ducks up deep inside Buckeye territory to begin their drive, and it wouldn’t take long for them to hit pay dirt. A couple of short gains through the air and on the ground set Oregon up at the 3-yard line, and LeGarrette Blount would punch it in to tie the game at 10-10.
Ohio State would answer with a 19-play, 8-minute drive, but could only muster a field goal to get back on top, 13-10. Jeremiah Masoli’s pass was intercepted by Ross Homan on the next drive, setting up the Buckeyes deep in Oregon territory, but again a field goal would be the result.
Ohio State took a 16-10 lead into the break, but it could have been a lot more. They were unable capitalize in the red zone in the first half, settling for three points on two of their first three trips inside the opposing 20-yard line.
The Ducks came out of the locker room hot, as another long return by Barner had them set up near midfield to begin their first drive of the second half. Aided by a pass interference call and a conversion on 4th-and-3, Oregon was able to work the ball deep into Ohio State territory, and would cap off the drive with a 1-yard keeper by Masoli for a TD to take their first lead of the afternoon.
Ohio State kept the ball moving on their next drive much like they had for the majority of the game, but again just could not punch it in near the red zone. A big 36-yard completion from Pryor to Posey got the ball inside the opposing 30-yard line, but a couple of short runs and incompletions would not get the job done as the Buckeyes settled for a field goal, retaking the lead at 19-17 halfway through the third quarter.
OSU caught a lucky break on the following Oregon possession, as Blount fumbled the handoff from Masoli and the ball bounced into the back of the end zone for a touchback after the Ducks had gotten down near the goal line.
The Buckeyes would not be able to take advantage of the mistake, as just a few plays later Pryor was intercepted by John Boyett when he under threw a wide open Daniel Herron.
Neither offense could find a way to get anything going as the clock bled into the fourth quarter, and after the two teams traded punts back and forth, it was Ohio State with the ball with just under 13 minutes remaining.
The Buckeyes were able to piece together a methodical drive, and following a 24-yard reception by Jake Ballard, OSU was now deep in Oregon territory. A couple short runs set up a 1st-and-10 from the 20-yard line, and it wasn’t long before Pryor found Posey in the corner of the end zone for a TD to put Ohio State up two possessions, the scoreboard now reading 26-17 with only 7:02 to play.
Oregon threatened to make things interesting after a lateral play on the ensuing kick return set them up near the OSU 35-yard line, but failed to pick up a first down. The 45-yard field goal attempt to cut the lead to six points was no good from Morgan Flint, and Ohio State would run out the remaining five minutes left on the clock to walk out of the Rose Bowl with a well-deserved victory.
LGHL Season Stat Leaders (OSU 3-0)
- Terrelle Pryor: 499 Yds / 3 TD / 1 INT (2 games)
- Cardale Jones: 187 Yds / 2 TD / 1 INT
- J.T. Barrett: 26 Yds / 1 TD / 0 INT
- Terrelle Pryor: 185 Yds / 4.6 Avg / 1 TD (2 games)
- Ezekiel Elliott: 122 Yds / 11.1 Avg / 1 TD
- Daniel Herron: 108 Yds / 3.9 Avg / 1 TD (2 games)
- DeVier Posey: 12 Rec / 206 Yds / 1 TD (2 games)
- Dane Sanzenbacher: 12 Rec / 101 Yds / 0 TD (2 games)
- Braxton Miller: 3 Rec / 79 Yds / 1 TD
- Tyquan Lewis: 1.5
- John Simon/Dexter Larimore/Cam Heyward: 1.0 (2 games)
- Sam Hubbard: 1.0
- Chimdi Chekwa: 2 (2 games)
- Cam Heyward/Nathan Williams/Ross Homan: 1 (2 games)
- Tyvis Powell: 1
Ohio State will look to stay unbeaten next week as Dwayne Haskins and the boys kickoff the Big Ten schedule on the road against Maryland (2018).