A Rose Bowl that began as a celebratory swan song for Urban Meyer quickly evolved into something more: evidence that Ohio State belonged in the College Football Playoff. And then, just as suddenly, the Buckeyes devolved into a team that likely would have had their hats absolutely handed to them. Um, never mind. Leaves are awarded on a zero-to-five basis. — Ray Stein

Offense (3)

There was plenty of gas in the tank, so that wasn’t the issue. But it became evident that cars don’t move much if no one presses their foot on the accelerator. The Buckeyes weren’t always stalled; after all, they scored TDs on four sharp drives to take a 28-3 lead. But then the engine wouldn’t go, even for the gunslinger.

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Defense (3)

The story was similar when the ball was moving the other way. OSU put on a display in how-to tackling in the first half, stuffing the Huskies time and again. Then the margin looked to be too big to fail, but the defense suddenly started giving up the types of big plays that have been boils on their backsides all season.

Special teams (3)

Drue Chrisman turned Pasadena into a boom town at the start, launching moon-shot punts up toward the San Gabriels in a robust first half. And then his wheels fell off, too, as he had a punt partially blocked and another that went only 24 yards down the stretch. In the end, Johnnie Dixon’s good hands sealed the deal.

Coaching (3)

There’s a new sheriff in town today, and OSU fans hope he enforces the laws about finishing what you start. Coaching missteps helped fuel the UW comeback, including Dantonio-brand play-calling and snapping the ball with 20-plus seconds on the play clock. The record don’t lie, though. Enjoy retirement, Urb, however long it lasts.

Fun (3)

Is there a better place to watch football? Probably not, but for OSU fans it largely was an unsatisfying 3 1/2 hours. When the Buckeyes were kicking tail and taking names, thoughts shifted to an Alabama game that never got scheduled. And as they had to claw for their football lives, visions of Purdue suddenly returned.

Opponent (3)

The Pac-12 has a bunch of football paupers at the moment, and Washington sure looked the part of patsy in an uninspired 2 1/2 quarters to start the proceedings. But the Huskies never tucked their tails and headed for higher ground, and for that they deserve credit. They didn’t deserve to win, nor did they rate a blowout loss.

Officiating (3)

Remarkable for this bowl season, instant replay wasn’t a factor until the late stages, when Washington was denied a touchdown on review, then later was awarded a TD on a pylon-area stretch. Referee John McDaid made the best move by an official, snagging and popping a wayward balloon.

rstein@dispatch.com