The seemingly annual battle of teams who’ve disappointed their fanbases.
These two teams have seen each other a grand total of . . . wait for it . . . two times. The last time came last bowl season in the Capital One bowl which was a high powered shoot-out between the two. Neither electing to play much defense the Bulldogs beat the Huskers 45-31 in Orlando. Their last meeting prior to that was the Sun Bowl in 1969 which the then top of the food chain Huskers under Bob Devaney destroyed Georgia 45-6. They would win the AP National title in 1970.
Neither team finished the season the way they had hoped or they way they had started it. Georgia began the year in the top ten and loaded with talent that should have taken them to the title game. Injuries to several of their best players on offense and defense, the Bulldogs did the best they could to become bowl eligible. Nebraska suffered an early non-conference loss to UCLA at home and had time to recover but a loss to Minnesota in week seven soured their chances at a B1G title.
I found a great website that shows a ton of statistics that can have an impact on your choice to win this game, which includes a Transitive Wins which is like the man that beat the man that beat the man. StatMilk Nebraska v. Georgia.
Nebraska has one of the best players in the B1G over the last two seasons in Taylor Martinez but his injury would hand that off to junior Ameer Abdullah, who finished this season with over 15oo yards rushing and 8 touchdowns to go along with 26 receptions for 232 yards and 2 touchdowns. He rushed for over a hundred yards in eight straight games this season and did so in ten of the twelve games. Illinois was a sieve against most teams and Abdullah almost went for as much as Carlos Hyde against them pulling down a cool 225 averaging 11.3 a carry and scoring 2 touchdowns. Abdullah edged out Hyde for the over-allpurpose yardage per game lead with 154 a clip. If he returns for his senior season next year, he will be a handful and threaten to go over 2,000. Read More
Hey, it’s the Gator Bowl! Did they play this last year? I don’t seem to remember it…
The History: Did you know the Gator Bowl is the sixth oldest bowl game and the first bowl to ever be televised nationally? It has been played every year since 1946 in Jacksonville. It features the third selections from the Big Ten and the SEC.
Northwestern Scouting Report: The Wildcats bring a 9-3 record into the Gator Bowl. Their three losses easily could’ve gone the other way and therefore, they are a very dangerous team. They are hungry for a bowl victory as they have not gotten one since the 1948 Rose Bowl. The most important player on the field for Northwestern will be quarterback Kain Colter. He suffered an “upper extremity” injury against Michigan in November, causing him to miss one game, but he was back in action against Illinois and is seemingly good to go for the game against the Bulldogs. He is much more dangerous with his feet, so look for Northwestern to let him make things happen on his own.
Buckeye Connection: Ohio State is 59-14 all time against the Wildcats. They last played in 2008 in a game which resulted in a 45-10 win. Read More
Everything is sort of quiet around the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, the holidays are almost here. Since hindsight is 20/20, let’s look back on 2012. Who’s ready to rumble?
The 2012 story didn’t begin on January 1, 2012. Of course, so much had already happened up to that point that I would be remiss without first going back to November 29, 2011 when the hiring of Urban Meyer as the next head coach at Ohio State became official. With that, we also have to think back to December 22nd of 2011, the day the sanctions prohibiting the Buckeyes from playing in a bowl game after the 2012 season, reducing scholarships and prohibiting Ohio State from competing in the Big Ten Championship game was announced.
“Gator don’t play…”
2012 started out with a trip to something called the Tax Slayer dot com Gator Bowl where the Buckeyes squared off with? Of course it had to be Urban Meyer’s old team, the Florida Gators. In a game that was quite honestly hard to watch, the Buckeyes fell 24-17. Unfortunately it was a game that didn’t feel like it was winnable in the end despite the mere seven point deficit. The good news from that day was that on the next day, January 2nd the Gators former boss officially took the wheel driving the Buckeye football program.
Anticipation and predictions
We waited all spring and through a long dry summer to finally see what Urban Meyer’s offense with Braxton Miller at quarterback would look like once it actually came to fruition on the field. Preseason speculation saw the Buckeyes picked to win anywhere from 7-10 games. With the Big Ten being in another of its string of down years, it wasn’t too farfetched to think the Buckeyes could be 10-2 or even 9-3. I think the consensus among people closest to the program were that road games at Michigan State and Wisconsin seemed like stumbling blocks for a young team. I think most thought Nebraska at Ohio Stadium would be a toss-up considering all that Nebraska had returning from 2011. Naturally, we all know anything can happen in The Game.
The first quarter against Miami… Read More
Happy 2012! Here’s our version of the weekly wish list for the Gator Bowl… the last Buckeye bowl game for a while.
A Will To Win - This is the first time since 2004 that Ohio State isn’t in a BCS bowl…. With a whole new fold in place for the upcoming season, it’s important to go out and play like you want to win this meaningless bowl. It just sets up momentum heading into the spring and leaves a lasting mark.
Seniors and Juniors Play their Best - Seniors and Juniors, this is the last time you will ever compete in a bowl situation ever again. Cherish it. Enjoy it. Play your heart out like your life depended on it. It might just be another bowl to everyone else, but for you guys– it’s your last chance to compete in the “post-season.”
Run it Up the Gut - As much as everyone is looking forward to new Urban Meyer folds in the offense, I want to see a game like the Illinois contest, where Ohio State runs it a heavy amount. Okay, not that much, but still I’d love to see two 100 yard rushers and some secondary scorers out of the backfield.
Ebner Strike - The Bo Rein most inspirational player on the squad deserves a BIG day on special teams. Here’s to hoping that he gets that against Florida. Read More
The Basics: Tuesday, January 2, 2012, 1:00 PM EST on ESPN2, from Jacksonville. Ohio State (6-6, 3-5 B1G) and Florida (6-6, 3-5 SEC).
It’s really hard to believe that in the history of both programs that the 2006 National Championship game was the first ever match-up between these two teams. This one hardly qualifies as a rematch and it is getting plenty of press about being the Urban Meyer Bowl. Both teams are 6-6 headed into the game and have some similarities after the record but very few. Let’s start with the men in charge.
Will Muschamp took over the reigns from Coach Meyer last December after his retirement from coaching. He grew up in Gainesville and appears to be the leader of the future even after a very sub par season that had National Title expectations. Muschamp has a great pedigree of coaching and more recently was the head coach in waiting at Texas but just couldn’t pass up the Gator opportunity. In his 17th year of coaching he has a defensive background and has had great success as a coordinator posting several top 10 defenses and this years squad is NO different coming in at #9. He has a bright future in Florida and has been left with some great talent as a result of Coach Meyers recruiting efforts.
Luke Fickell is admired by many for what he has done in leading these Buckeyes this season. Tabbed originally as the interim head coach to stand in while Coach Tressel took a five game suspension, he was eventually given the title for the entire season when Coach Tressel resigned. Fickell played for Ohio State on one of the best lines to ever play there and lived in the trenches with Mike Vrabel and Matt Finkes. He has spent all of his time coaching at Ohio State save for two years at Akron. He recently turned down an opportunity to coach the Zip so he could return to his alma mater under Coach Meyer. He was the only person for the job this year and has done an admirable job at holding things together and giving the team a good reason to win this game and finish on a high note before Coach Meyer takes over the next day. Read More
One of those cliche’ phrases that seems to come true more times than not is that “defense wins championships”. It is true that most of the elite teams do what they do the defensive way and that if you choose to dictate what the opponents offense can and will do, you will win. The Buckeyes and Gators aren’t playing for a National title this time, but they are playing for Coach Meyer bragging rights. Which team IS better, his old team that he clearly will always have an affection for? Or his new team that he has always dreamt of coaching and now holds the key to the future of in THE Ohio State Buckeyes?
Let’s get into crunching some numbers about these two defenses. On paper the Gators appear to have the edge. #9 overall in the nation and only giving up 299 yards a game and allowing roughly 3 scores a game is 25th in the nation. Their #39 rush defense has allowed an average of 132 YPG and their pass efficiency defense is in the top 20 at 114. Yardage wise, their #10 pass defense only gives up 167 YPG.
In what has been an off-year for the Buckeyes they’re a ways down the list in national rankings. Overall they have the 24th ranked defense in the nation at 328 YPG. They are right behind the Gators in the scoring category at almost 3 scores a game. The rush defense has given up 142 YPG and comes in at 53 while the pass efficiency defense has been average at 125, good for 48th in the country. They don’t give up the yards in the passing game though, ranking 15th with only 186 YPG given up.
There has been a lot of debate the last week as to how much the loss to Michigan hurts. Under ordinary circumstances, nobody on either side of the greatest rivalry in sports would want to lose the contest called “The Game.” As the seconds ticked off of the scUM’s first win in seven years over Ohio State, I had an odd feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was a feeling I have not experienced after losing to the state up north. It was pride.
Some say there is no pride to be had in losing, but this was a gutsy performance by the Buckeyes. It was clear the defense needs help. It was evident that Braxton Miller needs to work on his accuracy with the deep ball. The one thing that was most apparent was the Buckeyes have heart too. For 60 minutes in Ann Arbor, Ohio State went toe to toe with one of the more prolific offense the scarlet and gray saw all season long.
Then it was just 48 hours that a Buckeye Christmas came early. Now that we are all in the holiday spirit, let’s talk some season ending issues in the latest Scarlet and Gray Q&A.
After watching Braxton Miller play his best of the season, where does he rate in comparison to Terrelle Pryor? Read More