Urban Meyer has set the bar high in Columbus since arriving prior to 2012, winning his first 24 games. But he didn’t get win No. 25 in succession, as Ohio State lost in the Big Ten championship game which cost OSU a trip to the BCS title game.
Still, this was another memorable season for the Buckeyes, whose 2013 campaign forever will be remembered for a killer offense that averaged a Big Ten-high 46.3 points and averaged a conference-best 518.5 yards.
As Meyer continues to add talent—especially on defense—and fine-tune his operation, it only will be a matter of time before Ohio State is back on top.
Record: 12-1 overall; 8-0 Big Ten
Bowl: Orange Bowl vs. Clemson
High point: The Buckeyes navigated lots of pressure and some close calls to arrive in Ann Arbor on Nov. 30 with an 11-0 record and 23-game winning streak. Beat Michigan, and a trip to the BCS title game would be in the offing with a Big Ten championship game triumph over Michigan State the next week in Indianapolis. It wasn’t pretty (603 yards allowed), but the Buckeyes delivered a 42-41 victory at Michigan, picking off a potential game-winning two-point conversion pass in the final moments to preserve victory and push OSU’s winning streak to 24.
Low point: Sitting at No. 2 in the BCS standings after beating Michigan and watching Alabama lose at Auburn, Ohio State was a victory over Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game from playing for the national title. The Buckeyes held a 24-17 second-half lead but fell apart, undone by a defense that often had holes punched in it during the season. This time, the holes proved fatal, as the Spartans notched 438 yards (304 passing) and scored the final 17 points to take a 34-24 decision.
Offensive MVP: RB Carlos Hyde. QB Braxton Miller easily could have been the choice, but let’s opt for Hyde. The senior missed the first three games while serving a suspension. But he came on like gangbusters the rest of the way in leading the Big Ten in average rushing yards per game (140.8 ypg) after carrying 183 times for 1,408 yards and 14 touchdowns. If not for Hyde, the Buckeyes probably don’t win that game at Northwestern on Oct. 5—or a few other ones, too.
Defensive MVP: LB Ryan Shazier. The Buckeye defense often sprung some leaks. But Shazier was a steady stalwart in leading the Big Ten in tackles with 134 (10.3 pg). The junior also led the conference in tackles for loss with 22.5 (1.7 pg), was second in fumbles forced and had six sacks. No shock he was named first-team AP All-American.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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