Ohio State Football 2012
Buckeyes End Season Unbeaten
Coming into the 2012 football season, the Ohio State Buckeyes had high hopes and a new beginning under first-year head coach Urban Meyer.
Despite the high expectations, no one could have anticipated just how good the Buckeyes would become.
With a 26-21 victory over the arch-rival Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State completed an improbable 12-0 season, the Buckeyes first unbeaten season since their 14-0 National Championship season in 2002.
However, with the NCAA sanctions brought against them under former head coach Jim Tressel, the only thing the Buckeyes could win this season was a Leaders Division title. They were also eligible for an AP title, but the Buckeyes would remain ranked fourth in that poll.
The 12th Buckeyes victory was similar to their other close victories this season. It was anything but pretty, but their resilience came through in the end.
Junior running back, Carlos Hyde, and sophomore quarterback, Braxton Miller, once again carried the load on offense. Hyde rushed for 146 yards including one touchdown while Miller went 14-of-18 passing with 189 yards and a score.
Hyde's score was the first of the game early in the first quarter and was set up by Michigan's first turnover.
The Wolverines shook off the turnover and answered right back when Devin Gardner found Roy Roundtree for a 75-yard passing touchdown.
The back and forth scoring would continue and Michigan went into the half leading 21-20. The big play of the first half coming on a 67-yard touchdown run from Michigan's original starting quarterback Denard Robinson whom would play much of the game at running back due to an injury to his throwing arm.
On Michigan's first possession of the second half, Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke called timeout on fourth and 2 near midfield. Following the timeout, Hoke called upon Robinson on a run straight up the middle. Ohio State's leading tackler, linebacker Ryan Shazier, met Robinson in the hole and drove him back for a two-yard loss.
The roll of the dice cost the Wolverines the lead as Ohio State drove to the Michigan 11 before settling for Basil's 28-yard field goal, putting the Buckeyes up 23-21. That would be the last lead the Wolverines would hold.
Ohio State's defense clamped down and caused turnovers, but despite the turnovers, Ohio State could only muster one more field goal. Fortunately for the Buckeyes, that would be all they need.
The last turnover ended the Wolverines' hopes.
Gardner tossed a floater that was intercepted by C.J. Barnett, ending the Wolverines final threat as Hyde carried the ball repeatedly and the Buckeyes played keep-away to secure the victory.
Before the final second ticked off the clock, the largest crowd ever to witness "The Game" in Columbus at 105,899 fans rushed the field.
Meyer got emotional as the final seconds ticked off, embracing his players on the sideline at a raucous Ohio Stadium. Too emotional, he said later.
"I've got to keep a little more composure, I guess," he said sheepishly. "In the coaching manual, I think it's chapter 13, it says, 'Keep cool.' I lost it there for a couple of minutes."
So just how will this football season be remembered in Columbus?
If you ask Meyer, he seemed to have an initial thought.
"We're 12-0," said Meyer, "And I'm going to see to it when you walk into that Woody Hayes (practice) facility that this team will never be forgotten. Because they deserve that."
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