COMMENTARY | Heading into the Big Ten championship game as a six-point favorite, the Ohio State Buckeyes walked away with a 34-24 loss at the hands of the #10 Michigan State Spartans.
Ohio State: Five Things We Learned From the Buckeyes’ Big Ten Title Loss (Yahoo Contributor Network)
COMMENTARY | The Ohio State Buckeyes proved their doubters correct when they lost to Michigan State 34-24 on Saturday, December 8. The Buckeyes dropped their first game since falling to the Florida Gators in the 2011-2012 Gator Bowl. Here are five things we learned from the Buckeyes’ defeat:
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The phone call came in, the next challenge was confirmed and Urban Meyer was ready to move on. The Ohio State coach praised the bowl destination, talked up the opponent he’s already preparing for and mentioned on several occasions how his driven team will quickly adapt its goals now that there’s only one thing left to accomplish this season.
But as Meyer rattled everything off the No. 7 Buckeyes have to look forward to against No. 12 Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 3, even on a teleconference it was clear he was still carrying with him at least one wound from the loss that abruptly ended “The Chase” and ripped a likely crack at the national championship away from his team.
“Excuse me,” a hoarse Meyer said Sunday night. “I lost my voice yesterday a little bit.”
The Buckeyes had no shortage of reasons to scream as Michigan State picked apart their secondary, largely shut down the spread offense and snatched a trip to the Rose Bowl from them in the Big Ten title game. And that loss is likely to haunt Ohio State well after Meyer has any need for lozenges.
SportsNation: BCS bowl winners? Florida State and Auburn will play for the title. Who wins it? And the other BCS games? Vote! » Rank the teams! » But in place of one spot in the BCS, the Buckeyes quickly earned a bid to another when the Orange Bowl called to help brighten up Meyer’s afternoon. They may not have a shot at Florida State, but another ACC powerhouse filled the void to give the Buckeyes a chance to make a statement victory after having their schedule picked apart all season long.
The school-record 24-game winning streak is gone as well, but then there’s a springboard to maybe start a new run down in south Florida.
And while it’s understandable and perhaps acceptable for Ohio State to be feeling a little down and disappointed for a day or two, that can’t last long if it’s going to do anything with the opportunity that took the place of the one the Buckeyes really wanted.
“I actually opened a forum a little bit after the game, opened the floor for anybody, and it was interesting to have a couple players, a couple coaches say a few words,” Meyer said. “It was just about finishing this thing the right way. …
Judging by the statistics, the BCS national championship game between Auburn and Florida State offers something for everyone.For fans who like offense, they’ll get to see an FSU team that’s second nationally in scoring at 53 points a game and sixth in total offense at 529.4 yards. Auburn is 11th in both scoring and offense, at 40.2 points and 505.3 yards.Fans who hanker for an explosive running back will be treated to Auburn’s Tre Mason, who’s coming off his 304-yard outing against Missouri in the Southeastern Conference championship game. Mason is averaging just under 125 yards to rank 10th, and the Nick Marshall-quarterbacked Tigers lead the nation at 335.7.You want defense? Mason will be going against a Seminoles unit that’s giving up a tad under 117 yards rushing, has surrendered fewer than 100 on the ground in three straight games and has allowed a nation-low five rushing touchdowns.If you like lots of balls in the air, the Seminoles will oblige. Heisman Trophy favorite Jameis Winston is completing 68 percent of his passes for 294 yards a game, and his 38 touchdowns are second most in the FBS.Auburn’s weakness is stopping the pass. Missouri was the fourth opponent to throw for more than 300 yards against Auburn. Auburn is 102nd against the pass, allowing 259 yards.MAGIC MASON: The 304 rushing yards by Auburn’s Mason was the fifth most in SEC history and 3 shy of the Auburn record of 307 by Curtis Kuykendall against Miami in 1944. Mason’s 46 carries were the most in SEC title-game history and second most in conference history behind the 47 by Georgia’s Herschel Walker against Florida in 1981.BUCKEYES BLANKED: Big Ten champion Michigan State ended Ohio State’s 15-game streak of scoring in the first quarter. The last time the Buckeyes were scoreless after 15 minutes was last season against Penn State. Ohio State has outscored opponents 220-55 this season.EVERY WHICH WAY: Oklahoma scored touchdowns against Oklahoma State on offense, defense and special teams in its 34-23 win. It was the first time that happened for the Sooners since their 2006 game against Baylor. OU also scored its first touchdown off a fake field goal since 2002 against Missouri.PICK-SIX TWICE IN A ROW: Back-to-back interception returns for touchdowns in the fourth quarter paved the way to West Chester’s 28-7 win over Shepherd in the NCAA Division II playoffs. Al-Hajj Shabazz ran the first one back 76 yards, and Brandon Pepper stepped in front of Jeff Ziemba’s next pass and returned it 35 yards for a 28-7 lead. Guess what happened on Shepherd’s next play? Ziemba threw another interception to Pepper. No touchdown this time, but it but finished off the game.AROUND THE COUNTRY: Stanford, in its Pac-12 championship game win over Arizona State, failed to force a turnover for the first time in 37 games. The Sun Devils forced at least one for the 26th straight game. … Auburn and Missouri combined for 1,211 yards of total offense, breaking the SEC title-game record of 938 set by Auburn and South Carolina in 2010. … Michigan State held Ohio State to 374 yards of total offense, a season low for the Buckeyes. ..
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Georgia and Nebraska are headed back to the Sunshine State to play again.The Bulldogs and Cornhuskers were paired in the Gator Bowl on Sunday night, setting up a rematch of last year’s Capital One Bowl.Georgia won that meeting 45-31, getting five touchdown passes from Aaron Murray. The 23rd-ranked Bulldogs (8-4) won’t have Murray in the Jan. 1 rematch. The Southeastern Conference’s all-time passing leader tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Nov. 23 against Kentucky.Junior Hutson Mason will make his second start. Mason completed 22 of 36 passes for 299 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception, in a 41-34 win in double overtime against Georgia Tech.”We think Hutson is going to be a heck of a ball player,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. ”It’s good that he got a little experience against Georgia Tech.”Still, the postseason pairing raised some eyebrows.”Nebraska again? You kidding me?” Georgia receiver Michael Bennett posted on his Twitter page.There had been speculation that Michigan would be the Big Ten representative opposite Georgia in the Gator Bowl. But the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl took seven-win Michigan – the Wolverines are one of the top television draws in college football – over the eight-win Cornhuskers, who beat the Wolverines earlier this season in Ann Arbor.So the Gator Bowl ended up with a hardly anticipated rematch.”It was a great battle last year,” Richt said. ”We’ll see what happens this year.”Georgia is no stranger to Jacksonville. The Bulldogs play their annual rivalry against Florida at EverBank Field.But this will be Georgia’s first Gator Bowl since 1989, a 34-27 win over Michigan State in legendary coach Vince Dooley’s final game. Georgia also played two other times in the Gator Bowl, tying Maryland in 1948 and defeating North Carolina 7-3 in 1971.”I know that Georgia people love Jacksonville,” Richt said. ”There’s no doubt about that. We’ve been playing in Jacksonville for about 80 years, so everybody really enjoys that, understands the area and is looking forward to spending more time there.”Nebraska (8-4) last played in the Gator Bowl in 2009, beating Clemson 26-21.”We had a great experience at the Gator Bowl when we played there in my first year here,” Pelini said. ”We have some familiarity with Georgia having played them last year in the bowl game, but these are two different football teams. This will be a great challenge for our football team, and we look forward to the opportunity.”The Cornhuskers haven’t had much postseason success since that win, losing their last three bowl games.Nebraska looked bound for a better postseason destination, but lost two of its final three games – both at home. The slide raised speculation about embattled coach Bo Pelini’s future. Athletic director Shawn Eichorst has publicly backed Pelini despite the coach’s run of blowups in his six years.Pelini has issued two apologies for his conduct just this season. He came under fire in September after an audio of a profane tirade against fans went public. The rant came shortly after his team came from behind to beat Ohio State and was directed at fans who left the game early.He also was publicly reprimanded and fined $10,000 for comments about officiating in a loss to Iowa on Nov. 29. Pelini used an expletive at his postgame news conference while discussing a pass-interference penalty against his team. Pelini was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct during the game for swiping his hat at, and nearly hitting, the head linesman.Sports & RecreationAmerican FootballNebraskaGator BowlCornhuskers
MIAMI LAKES, Fla. (AP) — The Bowl Championship Series came calling once again for Ohio State, albeit not the game the Buckeyes wanted.
ATLANTA (AP) — A week ago, the Southeastern Conference looked as though it had finally been vanquished.The rest of the nation breathed a sigh of relief, clearly relieved it wouldn’t have to watch the haughty SEC celebrate another national championship.Not so fast.After a wild Saturday in this most unpredictable of seasons, the SEC was back in a familiar position – set to play for a BCS title, albeit not in its usual role of favorite.No. 2 Auburn (12-1) was expected to land a spot in the championship game against top-ranked Florida State (13-0) when the BCS pairings were announced Sunday night, the fallout from Ohio State losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game.The Seminoles were established as an early touchdown favorite for the Jan. 6 game at the Rose Bowl.Auburn doesn’t sound the least bit intimidated.”We feel we’re the best team in college football,” star running back Tre Mason said. ”We’ve got to continue to prove it.”Ohio State had not lost a game in two years under coach Urban Meyer and needed one more victory to lock up a trip to Pasadena. Alas, in what has been a familiar theme since 2006, the SEC champion Tigers stepped up to claim the spot when the Buckeyes were upset by Michigan State 34-24.Auburn it deserved a shot at the title, no matter what Ohio State did.There’s no argument now, despite that collective groan from the SEC’s detractors, who have gotten downright tired of watching this conference win the final game year after year. View gallery Auburn fans roll Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, Ala., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 following a win over Mi … Four SEC teams – Alabama, Florida, LSU and Auburn – have combined to win the last seven BCS championships, an unprecedented streak of dominance by a single league.In this part of the country, there’s a sense of entitlement that came across even before the Tigers defeated Missouri 59-42 in an SEC shootout. These guys believe they’re the best conference in the country, and they’re not shy about stating it over and over again.Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs started lobbying for a BCS berth as soon as his team knocked off two-time defending champion Alabama, a game that seemingly eliminated the conference’s best hope. The Tigers followed up with a video game-like performance in Atlanta, totaling a record 677 yards against Missouri – including 545 on the ground.”It’s nine words,” Jacobs said. ”Strength of schedule. Strength of schedule. Strength of schedule.”Alabama was unbeaten and ranked No. 1 when it fell to Auburn. Missouri went into the SEC title game ranked No. 5 and sporting one of the nation’s top-ranked defenses, but had no answer for Auburn’s hurry-up spread offense led by Mason and quarterback Nick Marshall. View gallery Auburn defensive tackle Gabe Wright (90) does snow angles in confetti after Auburn’s 59-42 win o … Mason ran 304 yards and four touchdowns.During the regular season, Auburn defeated three other teams – Texas A&M, Mississippi and Georgia – that were ranked at the time.”Who else has knocked off two top-five teams in the last week?” Jacobs asked. ”Who else has knocked off five Top 25 teams? Show me who they are, and I’ll tell you they belong instead of us.”Turns out, he didn’t need to plead his case.In a game that started about the time Auburn was finishing off Missouri, Ohio State rallied from an early 17-0 deficit but couldn’t hold on. The Spartans dominated down the stretch, a result that surely pleased the folks down South. View gallery Auburn offensive linesman Avery Young (56) carries the championship trophy after the second half of … After all, Meyer guided Florida to a national title that launched the SEC’s record run and won another two years later, only to leave the Gators after the 2010 season, saying he needed to devote more time to his health and his family.One year later, he turned up as Ohio State’s new coach, sparking plenty of bitterness in Gainesville – and plenty of giddiness in SEC country when Meyer’s new team came up short.Now, the SEC will pin its hopes on a team that doesn’t have the league’s usual DNA. Under first-year coach Gus Malzahn, Auburn produced one of the greatest turnarounds in college football history largely on the back of its dynamic offense, a striking change from previous champs that relied on stifling defense.It will be interesting to see if the Tigers, who rank 88th nationally in yards allowed (423.5 per game), can outscore the explosive Seminoles, who have the overwhelming Heisman favorite, quarterback Jameis Winston, and have beaten every opponent by at least 14 points.The Tigers feel like they’ve got something special going, a mojo that can’t be measured by stats after improbable wins over Alabama and Georgia.”A lot of teams aren’t getting better each week,” Malzahn said. ”This team is.”—Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963Sports & RecreationAmerican FootballUrban Meyer
December, 8, 2013 Dec 8 10:00 AM ET COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lessons and developments from No. 2 Ohio State’s 34-24 upset loss to No. 10 Michigan State in the Big Ten title game on Saturday night in Indianapolis. The Spartans had the better plan: The Ohio State defense has had some rough patches at times, largely early in games, but more often than not it was able to adjust and tighten the screws when it counted. The offense had been starting to look pretty one-dimensional down the stretch, but the Buckeyes didn’t seem to mind that, because they were so effective rushing the ball. But against the stout, assignment-sound Spartans, neither side of the ball for Ohio State was able to do what it had made look routine during another perfect run through the regular season. Injuries took a toll on the defense, and Braxton Miller at one point dragged the Buckeyes back into the lead, but in the end, Michigan State simply had the better game plan and more successful counters in earning the conference crown.
Miller needs to return: His physical skills are among the best in the country, and at some point his multipurpose skills are going to make him an appealing option for an NFL team looking for a quarterback. But if Miller was thinking about making the jump after his junior season, his rough passing performance with no weather impacting his accuracy might nudge him back for another year with the Buckeyes. His receivers didn’t do him many favors, with a handful of costly drops, and the Spartans didn’t make it easy with all the pressure they put on him, but going 8-for-21 for 101 yards and a touchdown on the biggest stage of the season isn’t likely to do much for Miller’s draft stock.
The season isn’t over: The Buckeyes are still an appealing option for any organizer of a BCS game, and the Orange Bowl is likely going to snap them up in a hurry. That would give Ohio State one more chance at a marquee victory heading into Urban Meyer’s third season, and a chance to start a new winning streak after its streak of 24 consecutive wins since he took over the program ended Saturday. It’s clear the Buckeyes still need to add some depth in recruiting, particularly at linebacker, and Meyer wasn’t hired just to compete for a championship in his second year. All things considered, the Buckeyes still have plenty to feel good about thus far in his tenure, and a win in a BCS game still could add to it.
December, 8, 2013 Dec 8 9:00 AM ET COLUMBUS, Ohio — A closer look at a handful of standout performances in an otherwise disappointing night for No. 2 Ohio State, which dropped a 34-24 game to No. 10 Michigan State in the Big Ten championship. QB Braxton Miller: The junior clearly was not at his best throwing the football, and with a chance to come back hanging in the balance in the fourth quarter, he was stopped short on a critical carry on the ground as well. But there would have been no drama at all in Indianapolis if not for Miller’s heroics during a prolific stretch in the middle of the game, as he dragged the Buckeyes into the lead on the way to 142 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. His 8-of-21 passing performance clearly won’t do much for his draft stock if he decides to leave early, but Miller also was victimized a few times by drops from his receivers, as the Buckeyes ultimately came up short.
RB Carlos Hyde: The bulldozing running back couldn’t call his own number to get the football more often, but the senior was every bit as effective as usual when he did get the chance to go to work. Hyde’s final Big Ten game came against the toughest rush defense in the country, and he was more than up to the challenge, turning his 18 carries into 118 yards. The Buckeyes likely will look back and wonder why that load wasn’t far heavier considering how successful Hyde was against the Spartans and his track record of wearing teams down with a large volume of attempts.
LB Ryan Shazier: After an uncharacteristically bad penalty early on to extend a Michigan State drive, it seemed like Shazier was doing everything in his power to atone for it for the rest of the evening. The star junior blocked a punt, made 12 tackles, including 1½ for a loss, and he also broke up two passes to add to his already impressive resume this season. Injuries clearly have taken a toll on an Ohio State defense that didn’t have much depth to begin with this season, but Shazier has done an admirable job holding the unit together. He just needed a bit more help against a Michigan State offense that was balanced and more than capable of exploiting the Buckeyes. Covers Ohio State and the Big Ten.Joined ESPN in 2012.Attended the University of Wyoming.