Ohio State was ranked #3 in the country and poised to play for a national title when they walked into the Big House on November 30. Although the Buckeyes left with the W, Michigan was in a position to play the spoiler once again. Ohio Sate would go on to play in the B1G Championship Game, but would fall to the Spartans. Hey, at least someone from Michigan knocked 'em off.
How They Did
|9/7||San Diego State||W 42-7|
|9/14||@ California||W 52-34|
|9/21||Florida A&M||W 76-0|
|10/5||@ Northwestern||W 40-30|
|10/26||Penn State||W 63-14|
|11/2||@ Purdue||W 56-0|
|11/16||@ Illinois||W 60-35|
|11/30||@ Michigan||W 42-41|
|12/7||Michigan State (B1G Championship)||L 34-24|
|1/3||Clemson (Orange Bowl)||L 40-35|
Versus Michigan: Carlos Hyde, Carlos Hyde, more Carlos Hyde, and then a heaping helping of Braxton Miller.
Michigan could not stop the Buckeyes' QB, who accounted for two touchdowns through the air, and another three on the ground. He totaled 286 total yards, which was only 60 more than backfield monster Carlos Hyde's 226 yards at a blistering 8.4 ypc clip. No matter how much we hate Ohio State, we need to recognize that what they did to Michigan was impressive. But we also know that the Buckeyes' performance was tempered by one final drive and a shot at the end by Michigan.
When Michigan had the ball: "We played the game to win."--Brady Hoke. Yep. Al Borges called perhaps the best game of his tenure in Ann Arbor, and it gave the Wolverines an opportunity at the end to take one away from the Buckeyes. Devin Gardner was spectacular: 32 of 45, 451 yards, 4 TDs, and 0 INTs. DG threw one of those touchdowns to Devin Funchess; it was the pass that brought Michigan to within one point, and forced the team to make a decision...
I initially hated the call to go for the 2-point conversion, but loved it once I watched it when I got home the next day. Not only did Devin Funchess put the team in the position to attempt the 2-point conversion, but he did this, too...
Jeremy Gallon's 175 yards receiving on only nine receptions, and Jake Butt's 85 yards on five receptions were glimpses at what should have been so many other times during the season, but.../sigh. The run game wasn't spectacular, but it wasn't what it had been in previous weeks either, as De'Veon Smith and Derrick Green combined for 104 yards, but no touchdowns.
Best Win: Wisconsin. After starting 4-0 and blowing out San Diego State and Florida A&M, but struggling against Buffalo in the first game, Braxton Miller returned to his starting position after an injury sidelined him for a few weeks, and the Buckeyes came out and beat the Badgers 31-24. The Buckeyes' schedule was pretty soft to start the season-- Northwestern fell apart, they destroyed Penn State, then there was Purdue. So to come out and have a four-TD performance in the win is great...especially when the Ohio State defense left something to be desired and allowed Jared Abbrederis to go for 207 yards on 10 catches.
Worst Loss: Michigan State. This is the worst, but not because the Spartans were a bad team, obviously; this has to be the worst because of what it did to the Buckeyes' season. They were primed and ready to play for the BCS title because of Auburn doing this...
Beyond the score of the B1G Championship Game, the stats are irrelevant. The Buckeyes had the chance; the conference title and the chance to play for a national title were in their grasp, but Connor Cook and Jeremy Langford took it all away.
Outlook for 2014
Braxton Miller is coming back. What more do you need to know? Okay, so you want to know a little bit more--WR Devin Smith will also be back. Smith was second on the team, with 44 receptions for 660 yards and 8 touchdowns. The offensive line may be lacking a little bit (hmmm, not sure how that feels), but the defensive front should be damn solid. Bradley Roby's departure from the secondary will just bring up more questions for a unit that gave up a ton of yards and points in 2013. Overall, though, another soft schedule in 2014 should set them up well for a successful season.
Starting out with Navy, the Buckeyes may not face a real challenge until their November 8 game at Michigan State, which will be an absolute must-see rematch. They will face Virginia Tech and Penn State before the MSU game, but I doubt that those teams will pose any real potential for an "L", so look for the Buckeyes to be undefeated going into East Lansing. With match-ups at Minnesota and then home against Indiana before welcoming Michigan to Columbus, the Buckeyes could very well be undefeated going into the final weekend of the regular season.
Do they play Michigan in 2014?