Ray Stein’s observations about Tuesday's game:
The game at hand
• Short-attention-span synopsis: Adios, captain. Show of hands: In August, who had this team finishing 13-1? Next on the agenda is the quarterback: Does he stay or does he go? The defense starts 2019 the right way … mostly … for a while.
• Pregame buzz: The way all the attention was laser-focused on coach Urban Meyer’s pending retirement, one would have thought that Ohio State was the Harlem Globetrotters playing the hapless Washington Generals instead of the Buckeyes meeting the Washington Huskies. And to be honest, the way OSU toyed with Washington for the first 2½ quarters of the Rose Bowl did have a Meadowlark Lemon/Curly Neal feel to it. And then stuff got real.Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
• Worth the trip? There is no more spectacular scene in college football than the Rose Bowl at sunset, with the San Gabriel mountains shimmering above the top of the stadium. That’s just part of the bucket-list nature of the game that Meyer has spoken about in the weeks leading up to it. And considering that the Buckeyes had played in Pasadena only twice since 1985, it was no surprise that OSU fans showed up to occupy the majority of seats in the handsome stadium. Now, the way the game unfolded certainly had some of those folks in knots, but it sure beats traveling back to the Midwest when L doesn’t mean luggage.
• Spread the wealth? “I can consistently make a fortune by betting on college football,” said no one ever, and the Rose Bowl offered just the latest example why. Ohio State entered a 6½-point favorite over the Huskies and had that spread covered by exactly 3.85 times by the time the Buckeyes took a 28-3 advantage midway through the third quarter. Then Washington began melting the lead like a blowtorch on a snowball until pulling to 28-23 — within the spread line — with 42 seconds remaining. The Huskies’ two-point conversion pass attempt, though, was picked off in the end zone by OSU’s Brendon White, who could have pushed the Buckeyes back into “cover” territory if he had returned the ball to the end zone. White, however, was tripped up past midfield, and the underdogs covered.
• This week in vanity plates: DAY TIME
• How the team sees it: Big Ten East champions, Big Ten champions, Rose Bowl champions. When do we get started on the 2019 season?
• How the playoff committee will see it: For a while there, you had us thinking we were fools for putting Notre Dame in and leaving you out. And maybe we were.
• How Buckeye Nation sees it: Not counting one surprise appearance on Fail Army every year, there has never been a better time to be an Ohio State fan. I mean, can you even imagine being a Michigan fan these days?
• What he said: “That’s something I have to learn, to have more joy. And there is joy when you see that you have one more point than the opponent at the end of the game.”
• What it means: “It really is fun to win games like this, just like it’s fun to discover how sharp a cactus can be when you hug it. I need to find new hobbies.”
They said it
• Your turn/the channel: For the granddaddy, ESPN called on its ace announcing team of Chris Fowler, who often shouts like a hard-of-hearing old-timer if a play travels beyond 3 yards, and analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who remains a fan of cheek-pinching grandmothers everywhere. They and their crew had a dud game for a good long while, and thus delivered a dud telecast that included multiple missed plays in live action because viewers apparently demand a replay of every single snap. ESPN did make many friends, however, by broadcasting both marching bands’ halftime shows, including TBDBITL’s tribute to Queen.
Numbers for dummies
74: Touchdowns scored by Ohio State’s offense this season
71: Touchdowns allowed the past three seasons by Washington, before the Rose Bowl
50: Touchdown passes thrown by OSU’s Dwayne Haskins Jr. this season
35: OSU’s previous season record for TD passes, set by J.T. Barrett last season
7: Combined touchdown passes thrown Tuesday by QBs who played in OSU’s 2018 spring game, counting the four Joe Burrow threw for LSU in the Fiesta Bowl
All sorts of things. Wednesday is the first Day on the clock for Ryan, the new boss. In the lower-case days that follow, Haskins will announce whether he intends to head to the NFL draft, where he will be the first quarterback taken. “Would be,” that is. The spring game will be held in mid-April, and the 2019 season begins Aug. 31 at Ohio Stadium against Florida Atlantic, a middling Conference USA team that failed to make a bowl game in 2018 but has a name coach in Lane Kiffin.
Best responses to the game on Twitter:
@KierstenKiefer: Roses are scarlet. Champions are too.
@tomuky: Rose Bowl was a classic example of “winning the game twice.” Game was done. Buckeyes had to turn it back on after getting bored.
@mattjswinehart: Considering all the adversity, I’m extremely proud of this season for Ohio State. Incredible resilience.
@ScottClev33: I will not miss Urban Meyer not having his players prepared for their opponents after he retires.
@HeerenRae: When your son is in first grade and obsessed with math, you are constantly being told how many more points the #buckeyes have
@jeffrey_huhn: Every time they show Chris Petersen all I see is Billy Bob Thornton dressed in purple.
@MattTwombly1: I wonder if there is a video of Haskins as a kid talking about playing for his NFL team
So it’s goodbye to
A season and coach unlike
Any we have seen