Cease and the cyst
Record: 12-1, 8-1 (Big Ten champions)
Postseason: Beat Washington in the Rose Bowl
Sept. 1: No. 5 OSU 77, Oregon State 31
Sept. 8: No. 4 OSU 52, Rutgers 3
Sept. 15: No. 4 OSU 40, No. 15 TCU 28
Sept. 22: No. 4 OSU 49, Tulane 6
Sept. 29: No. 4 OSU 27, No. 9 Penn State 26
Oct. 6: No. 3 OSU 49, Indiana 26
Oct. 13: No. 3 OSU 30, Minnesota 14
Nov. 20: Purdue 49, No. 2 OSU 20
Nov. 3: No. 8 OSU 36, Nebraska 31
Nov. 10: No. 8 OSU 26, No. 24 Michigan State 6
Nov. 17: No. 9 OSU 52, Maryland 51, OT
Nov. 24: No. 10 OSU 62, No. 4 Michigan 39
Dec. 1: No. 6 OSU 45, No. 21 Northwestern 24
Jan. 1: No. 5 OSU 28, No. 9 Washington 23
Season in brief
The skinny: One ugly loss on the road to a so-so team marred an otherwise successful, if frustrating, season. Urban Meyer was away from his team for training camp and the first three games after he was placed on administrative leave and then suspension for his handling of the Zach Smith matter. On the field, a record-breaking offense led by quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. allowed the Buckeyes to overcome a defense that repeatedly surrendered big plays. On the sideline, Meyer suffered from headaches related to an arachnoid cyst on the inside of his skull. Only against Michigan did the Buckeyes look like the overpowering team they were expected to be. But that win and the one over Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game allowed the Buckeyes to go to the Rose Bowl for Meyer’s farewell.
High points: Ohio State was an underdog to Michigan despite not having lost to the Wolverines in Columbus since 2000. After all, Jim Harbaugh’s team was riding a 10-game win streak with the nation’s top-ranked defense. Ohio State shredded it. Haskins and his talented receivers had their way, and the Buckeyes’ defense played well enough. A punt block for a touchdown was also instrumental. The victory gave Meyer a 7-0 record against the team whose name he refuses to say. That made stepping away a bit easier.
Turning point: The victory over Penn State in front of another White Out crowd in Happy Valley showed Ohio State’s resilience. The Buckeyes trailed by 12 points in the fourth quarter and by 5 with 4 1/2 minutes left, and they needed to go 96 yards for a touchdown. They did. And then the defense thwarted a last-minute drive led by dangerous Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley, with defensive end Chase Young making the clinching tackle on a fourth-and-5 run.
Low point: The Purdue loss was one that was both predictable and completely out of left field. It wasn’t a surprise that the Boilermakers would make a game of it. Purdue and its creative coach Jeff Brohm figured to befuddle Ohio State’s vulnerable defense, which was beleaguered by injuries and playing for the eighth straight week. But it was a stunner that the Buckeyes offered so little resistance on either side of the ball. Yes, Haskins broke school records with his passing, but that was largely because Ohio State abandoned its running game when it fell way behind. Haskins was a tick off on some throws that could have changed the game. Like the Iowa loss in 2017, this one will cause OSU fans to shake their heads for years to come.
Quotable: “This would be a really tough day if we were a mess. … (But) to be able to know that we did right or at least we feel like we did right, that makes it that much easier.” — Meyer on Dec. 4 as he explained his decision to step down as Ohio State coach
— Bill Rabinowitz