|2012 Ohio State Buckeyes football|
Big Ten Leaders Division Champions
|Conference||Big Ten Conference|
|2012 record||12–0 (8–0 Big Ten)|
|Head coach||Urban Meyer (1st season)|
|Offensive coordinator||Tom Herman (1st season)|
|Co-offensive coordinator||Ed Warriner (1st season)|
|Co-defensive coordinator||Luke Fickell (7th season)|
|Co-defensive coordinator||Everett Withers (1st season)|
|Home stadium||Ohio Stadium|
(c. 102,329, Field Turf)
|2012 Big Ten football standings|
|#25 Nebraska xy||7||–||1||10||–||4|
|#3 Ohio State* x||8||–||0||12||–||0|
|Championship: Wisconsin 70, Nebraska 31|
|† – BCS representative as champion |
x – Division champion/co-champions
y – Championship game participant
The 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes football team represented The Ohio State University in the 2012 NCAA Division I FBS football season. It was the Buckeye's 123rd season overall, the 100th as a member of the Big Ten Conference and the second as a members of the Big Ten Leaders Division. The team was led by head coach Urban Meyer in his first debut returning to coaching since retiring from Florida in 2010 due to health concerns. The Buckeyes played their home games at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes finished the season undefeated with 12 wins (12–0 overall, 8–0 in the Big Ten), Big Ten Leaders Division champions and ranked third in the AP Poll. Due to findings of an investigation conducted by the NCAA during the previous season, Ohio State was ineligible for both the Big Ten championship game and an appearance in a bowl game for the 2012 season.
Following their first losing season since 1988, the Buckeyes hired Urban Meyer, who won two national championships with the Florida Gators, as the head coach in November 2011. Meyer and his staff brought in a top five recruiting class while returning 20 starts and starting quarterback Braxton Miller for Spring and Fall camp. Ohio State entered the season ranked in the middle of the Big Ten, with many expecting a transition season for Meyer and the players. The Buckeyes opened the season with blowout victories against Miami (Ohio) and UCF. Ohio State would defeat Michigan State 17–16 and Nebraska 63–38, games they lost in 2011, to move to 6–0 on the season. The Buckeyes would hold in overtime games against Purdue and Wisconsin later in the season, winning eleven straight. The Buckeyes capped off their undefeated season with a 26–21 victory over arch rival Michigan.
At the end of the season, several players were recognized with postseason awards for individual accomplishments. Braxton Miller was named the Big Ten offensive player of the year, while John Simon was named the Big Ten defensive player of the year. Also, three players were named to the AP All-American Team, including Johnathan Hankins, Bradley Roby and John Simon.
Before the seasonEdit
Following the revelation of NCAA infractions in late 2010, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel resigned as head coach of the Buckeyes on May 31, 2011 after ten seasons in Columbus. Ohio State starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor left the program as well before the 2011 season to enter the NFL Supplemental Draft, where he was selected by the Oakland Raiders. Other players involved in the infractions that were suspended included DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Dan Herron and Solomon Thomas, who were all originally suspended for the first five games of the season. Ohio State appointed Luke Fickell, a longtime position coach at the university, to serve at the interim head coach on March 30, 2011 who originally would replace Tressel who was suspended as well for five games, but was eventually given the title for the entire season due to Tressel's resignation.
Ohio State opened the season on September 3, 2011 with a 42–0 victory over the Akron Zips. Ohio State lost their first game against the Miami Hurricanes and entered conference play with a 3–1 record. Ohio State lost their first two conference games against the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Michigan State Spartans. Ohio State won their homecoming matchup against the Wisconsin Badgers and eventually achieved a 3–2 conference record. The Buckeyes, however, would end up losing their last three conference games, including one against the Michigan Wolverines, who they had not lost to since the 2003 season. Ohio State ended the season with a 6–6 record and a 3–5 record with the Big Ten conference. The Buckeyes did not win at least a share of the conference title for the first time since 2004 and did not reach a Bowl Championship Series bowl for the first time since 2004 as well. Ohio State went on to play against the Florida Gators in the Gator Bowl, which they would lose 24–17 and resulted in the Buckeyes first losing season since 1988. Urban Meyer was hired as the head coach of the university on November 28, 2011.
Ohio State opened their spring practice on March 29 for the first time under the direction of Urban Meyer. At the opening of practice John Simon, Johnathan Hankins, Garrett Goebel and Adam Bellamy started on the defensive line with Travis Howard and Bradley Roby starting at cornerback. Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett were the starting safeties on opening day. The running back position rotated between Jordan Hall, Carlos Hyde, Rod Smith and Bri'onte Dunn with Braxton Miller starting at quarterback.
The annual spring game for the Ohio State Buckeyes was held on April 21 at Ohio Stadium on a rainy afternoon in Columbus, Ohio. Urban Meyer began the afternoon with a 1-on-1 circle drill held at midfield before the start of the game. At the conclusion of drill the Buckeyes took the field and split into two teams, a Scarlet and Gray team. Starting quarterback Braxton Miller started for the Scarlet team with backup Kenny Guiton starting for the Gray team. The first touchdown came from the Scarlet team in the first quarter with a run yard touchdown run from Carlos Hyde. Starting kicker Drew Basil kicked a 41 yard field goal at the beginning of the second quarter to extend the Scarlet lead to 10–0. The Gray team got on the board with a 28 yard touchdown pass from Guiton, but a second field goal from Basil would allow the Scarlet to enter the locker room at halftime with a 13–7 lead over the Gray. During the third quarter the Gray team would take a 14–13 lead over the Scarlet team on a four yard touchdown run from Guiton. However, under Miller, the Scarlet team would drive down and score a touchdown on a Rod Smith run, giving them a 20–13 lead and eventually the victory.
During the game, quarterback Braxton Miller completed 24 of 31 passes for 258 yards with wide receiver Michael Thomas catching 12 passes for a total of 131 yards during the game. The game gave fans a glimpse of Meyer's new spread offense that the Buckeyes will adopt during the season. Linebacker Ryan Shazier led the team with eight tackles. Running back Jordan Hall did not play during the game due to health and precautionary reasons and starting lineman John Simon did not play for a long period during the game.
Nine separate Ohio State players were on the preseason award watch list in twelve different award categories. These included Johnathan Hankins and John Simon for the Bednarik Award; Corey Brown for the Biletnikoff Award; Etienne Sabino for the Butkus Award; Drew Basil for the Lou Groza Award; Jake Stoneburner for the Rotary Lombardi Award; and Braxton Miller for the Maxwell Award. Prior to fall camp, both Stoneburner and Jack Mewhort were suspended from the team indefinitely following their arrests, while senior linebacker Storm Klein was dismissed from the team for his arrest. Klein was later reinstated by head coach Urban Meyer, while still serving a two game suspension. Ohio State opened their fall camp on August 3 with all players reporting.
Urban Meyer accepted the head coaching job at Ohio State in November 2011 after coaching at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida, where he won two national championships. Meyer retained only three coaches from the previous years staff, including former interim head coach Luke Fickell and defensive line coach Mike Vrabel. Meyer brought in Tom Herman and Ed Warinner to replace Jim Bollman as offensive coordinator, while Everett Withers and Fickell replaced Jim Heacock as defensive coordinator. Meyer also brought over strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti from his staff at Florida.
|Name||Position|| Seasons at|
|Urban Meyer||Head coach||1st||Cincinnati (1986)|
|Tom Herman||Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks||1st||California Lutheran (1997)|
|Ed Warinner||Co-Offensive Coordinator, Offensive Line||1st||Mount Union (1984)|
|Luke Fickell||Co-Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers||10th||Ohio State (1997)|
|Everett Withers||Assistant Head Coach, Co-Defensive Coordinator, Safeties||1st||Appalachian State (1985)|
|Stan Drayton||Running Backs||2nd||Allegheny College (1993)|
|Zach Smith||Wide Receivers||1st||Florida (2007)|
|Mike Vrabel||Defensive Line||2nd||Ohio State (1996)|
|Tim Hinton||Tight Ends, Fullbacks||1st||Wilmington (1982)|
|Kerry Coombs||Cornerbacks||1st||Dayton (1983)|
|Mickey Marotti||Assistant Athletic Director for Football Sports Performance||1st||West Liberty (1987)|
Following the 2011 season, four Ohio State players were selected in the 2012 NFL Draft. Mike Adams was selected in the second round, DeVier Posey in the third, with Daniel Herron and Nate Ebner selected in the sixth. Other key players to depart due to graduation included Joe Bauserman, Michael Brewster and J.B. Shugarts on offense and Dionte Allen, Tyler Moeller, Andrew Sweat, and Solomon Thomas on defense. Transfers out before the 2012 season included Jamaal Berry who transferred to Murray State, Jeremy Cash who transferred to Duke, Jordan Whiting who transferred to Louisville and Kenny Hayes who transferred to Michigan State. DerJuan Gambrell and Dominic Clarke were both released from the scholarships in January following a violation of team rules.
Ohio State has 20 returning starts from the 2011 season, including nine on offense and defense, as well as two on special teams. Quarterback Braxton Miller started in eight games during the 2011 season and will return to lead the Buckeyes in 2012.
|2012 Ohio State Buckeyes roster|
Sources: 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes football roster
Starters and backups.
Ohio State's 2012 recruiting class was ranked third by Scout, fourth by Rivals and sixth by ESPN. Prior to Urban Meyer being named the head coach of the team 13 player were committed to the Buckeyes, with an additional 12 signing after Meyer's hiring. On National Signing Day, 25 players total were signed to the class. The Ohio State class included five players from the ESPN 150: defensive ends Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington and Se'Von Pittman, offensive guard Joey O'Connor and defensive tackle Tommy Schutt.
The Big Ten Conference released the schedules for the 2011 and 2012 season on September 1, 2010, which were revised after the addition of Nebraska to the conference. As during the 2011 season, the Big Ten continued their scheduling alignment for the 2012 season. As a result, Ohio State played all five Leaders Division opponents: Illinois, Indiana, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. Ohio State also faced three Legends Division opponents: Michigan State, Nebraska and Michigan, the permanent cross-division opponent. Ohio State played four non-conference games: Miami (Ohio) of the Mid-American Conference, UCF and UAB of Conference USA, and California of the Pacific-12 Conference. Ohio State had their only bye week between their games against Illinois and Wisconsin. Ohio State was ineligible to advance beyond their twelve regular season games and unable to participate in the Big Ten Championship Game or any bowl games.
Beyond weekly television coverage, all games during the 2012 season were broadcast on the Ohio State Football Radio Network. Paul Keels headed the crew with play-by-play, Jim Lachey with color commentary, Marty Bannister as sideline and locker room reporter and Skip Mosic serving as the pre-game and halftime show host.
Ohio State began their 2012 season on a humid and overcast afternoon in Columbus, Ohio. Urban Meyer led the Buckeyes onto the field for the first time as head coach to face the Miami RedHawks, a team they last faced in 2005. The game began with both teams struggling on offense, with a Miami field goal being to the only score of the quarter. Ohio State had four possessions during the first quarter, but was only able to gain 48 yards. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller completed only 1 of 7 on pass attempts, gaining only five yards. Miami was able to capitalize on defensive breakdowns by the Buckeyes and with kicker Kaleb Patterson converting a 24-yard field goal to put the RedHawks up 3–0. Miami quarterback Zac Dysert was able to throw for 165 yards, completing 13 of 23 passes. The Buckeyes turned their offense around at the beginning of the second quarter with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Miller to receiver Devin Smith. The 7–3 lead soon turned into a 21–3 lead for the Buckeyes heading into halftime. Ohio State was able to score on three of their four possessions during the second quarter with two touchdown passes from Miller to Smith and Brown, as well as a Carlos Hyde touchdown run later in the quarter. Ohio State complied 297 yards during the quarter compared to Miami's 38.
The second half of the game saw the Ohio State defense and offense continue to step up and hold the lead. The Buckeyes immediately got on the board again with 65-yard touchdown run from Miller 17 seconds into the third quarter. The Buckeye defense stepped up on the corresponding RedHawk possession, recovering a fumbled for a touchdown on a Miami attempted punt. This fumble recovery gave Ohio State a 35–3 lead. Miami would score their only touchdown of the day later in the quarter, making it a 35–10 game heading into the fourth quarter. Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller was taken out of the game during the third quarter with cramps and was replaced by junior quarterback Kenny Guiton. Ohio State was able to score three touchdowns during the fourth quarter, all on the ground, with Hyde, Zach Boren and Bri'onte Dunn all scoring respectively. Ohio State won the game by a final score of 56–10 and went to 1–0 on the season, giving head coach Meyer his first win as Buckeye head coach. Ohio State was able to gain 538 yards during the game, with Miami compiling only 312 total during the game. Braxton Miller completed 14 of 24 passes for 207 yards and two touchdown passes, with Kenny Guiton completing 5 of 9 for 37 yards. Miller also rushed for a total of 161 yards, a new Ohio State quarterback record.
Ohio State faced the University of Central Florida Knights for the first time, hosting them at Ohio Stadium in front of a crowd of 104,745. The Buckeyes opened at a much faster pace than they did the previous week, with their first offensive drive of the game going for 71 yards and eventually ending with a touchdown on a Braxton Miller 37-yard run, giving Ohio State an early 7–0 lead. The Buckeye defense was also effective early, stopping the Knights on their first two offensive possessions of the game. However, following an Ohio State turnover on downs at midfield, UCF was able to drive down the field and get on the board following a Shawn Moffitt field goal. The first quarter ended with Ohio State holding onto a 7–3 and a Drew Basil field goal early in the second quarter gave the Buckeyes a 10–3 lead. However, in contrast to the previous week, Ohio State was unable to pull away from the Knights in the second quarter, with a very efficient 78 yard drive by the Knights midway through the second quarter resulting in a touchdown pass from Blake Bortles and a tie game at 10–10. On the next Ohio State offensive possession, the Buckeyes were unable to hold onto the ball and turned it over to the Knights due to a fumble, around midfield. However, just a few plays later, the Buckeyes were able to regain possession on a Travis Howard interception. The turnover gave way to an eight play, 48 yard drive for the Buckeyes and resulted in a touchdown, giving Ohio State a 17–10 lead going into halftime. Ohio State had 240 total yards during the first half and scored on three of five possessions.
The second half opened well for the Buckeyes, who would convert on the first possession for a touchdown pass from Miller to Jake Stoneburner. The Knights gave the ball back to Ohio State following an Etienne Sabino interception of Bortles. Ohio State capitalized again on offense and took a 31–10 on a Miller run, taking a 21 point lead with 8:08 left in the third quarter. However, UCF responded on their next possession by going 84 yards in 14 plays, ending the drive with a touchdown pass from Bortles. The extra point was blocked by freshman Adolphus Washington, resulting in a 31–16 Buckeye lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Knights began the fourth quarter with the ball deep in Ohio State territory, however another Ohio State interception prevented any score from UCF. Penalties and misplays stalled the Buckeye offense for the rest of the day, but the Buckeye defense was able to keep UCF out of the endzone and did not allow any points during the fourth quarter. Ohio State won the game 31–16 and with the win went to 2–0 on the season. Ohio State had a total of 411 yards of total offense, with 256 of those yards coming from the running game. Braxton Miller completed 19 of 25 passes on the day and led the team in rushing with 141 yards.
Ohio State faced the California Golden Bears in their third game of the season on a sunny afternoon at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes last faced the Golden Bears during the 1972 season. The game began with both teams struggling on offense with both the Buckeyes and the Golden Bears first possessions resulting in punts. Ohio State also punted on their second possession, but was able on the next drive due to a 55-yard Braxton Miller touchdown run. Drew Basil capped off the drive with a missed extra point, which allowed California to take the lead on their following possession, after a 75-yard drive. Ohio State responded with a 75-yard drive of their own and ended the first quarter holding a 13–7 lead. The second quarter saw a tremendously slower pace for both teams, with the only scoring coming from a touchdown pass from Miller to Stoneburner. Following a drive filled with penalties, California was unable to take advantage of a 40-yard field goal, missing it and sending Ohio State into the half with a 20–7 lead.
The Ohio State offense was unable to put together a serious drive in the third quarter and defense was unable to make key stops on crucial plays. A Bredan Bigalow 81-yard touchdown run, the third longest run given up at Ohio Stadium, gave the Golden Bears the only points of the quarter, cutting the Buckeye lead to 20–14. The Golden Bears missed a 42-yard field goal that would have brought them to within three points, however were on the Buckeye side of the field heading into the fourth quarter. An eight play, 46 yard touchdown drive gave the Golden Bears a 21–20 lead, their first lead of the game. However, the Buckeyes were able to respond, executing an 11 play drive which resulted in the Buckeyes taking a 26–21 lead, and after a successful two point conversion, were able to take a 28–21 lead with 8:31 lead. Two plays later, Bigalow was again off to the endzone and tied the game at 28–28 midway through the fourth. Ohio State was able to put together a prolific drive with the result being a 72-yard touchdown pass from Miller to Devin Smith, giving Ohio State a 35–28 lead. The Buckeye defense held for the final three minutes and following an interception from Christian Bryant, the Buckeye ran out the clock to their third victory of the season, starting off 3–0. Braxton Miller threw for 249 yards and completed 16 of 30 passes with five touchdown, four on passes and one run. Returning starter Jordan Hall ran for 87 yards on 17 attempts with wide receiver Devin Smith accounting for 145 yards on five receptions. Linebacker Ryan Shazier lead the way for the defense with 13 tackles and one sack.
The Buckeyes faced the UAB Blazers of the University of Alabama at Birmingham for the first time ever on a mild afternoon at Ohio Stadium in front of a capacity crowd. Ohio State began the game slowly on offense, as they had in their previous non-conference games. UAB dominated the majority of the first quarter with the Blazers out gaining the Buckeyes in terms of total offensive yards 99 to 42. With both team struggling to put together any offensive threat early, the special teams for UAB provided the key play of the first quarter on a blocked punt by Calvin Jones, which gave the Blazers a 6–0 lead, after the extra point was blocked. UAB went ahead 9–0 early in the second quarter, however only held the lead briefly as Braxton Miller and the Ohio State offense quickly put together a 75 yard drive, ending in a Rod Smith touchdown run. Following a UAB field goal, Ohio State was able to put together two touchdown drives in the last two minutes of the first half, one a Miller 12-yard touchdown run and another a touchdown run from fullback Zach Boren. Going into halftime, Ohio State held a tenuous 21–12 lead.
Ohio State deferred the ball at the beginning of the game and was set to receive to begin the second half, however, UAB head coach Garrick McGee called an onside to begin the second half, with the Blazers recovering. The Ohio State defense was able to hold up against the Blazer offense, but as was the case in the first quarter, the offense was unable to mount any significant threat. UAB once again out gained the Buckeyes during the quarter 107 to 43 in terms of total offensive yardage, but penalties, especially three chop-block calls, would eventually stall any scoring chances. The fourth quarter began with UAB kicker Ty Long converting on a 34-yard field goal cutting the Buckeyes lead to 21–15. The Ohio State defense continued to hold against UAB and would shut them out the remainder of the game. The Buckeye offense went on a 71 yard drive ending in a Braxton Miller touchdown run with about five minutes remaining in the game, which would eventually put the game out of reach for UAB and give the Buckeyes the 29–15 victory. With the win, Ohio State moved to 4–0 on the season and undefeated heading into Big Ten conference play. Urban Meyer also became the first Ohio State head coach since Earle Bruce to win his first four games coached. UAB out gained Ohio State in total offensive yardage throughout the entire game 403 to 347 as well as total first downs 22 to 20. Braxton Miller completed 12 of 20 passes, rushed for 84 yards and scored two touchdowns. Running back Jordan Hall, in his second game following his injury, led the team in rushing with 105 total rushing yards.
Ohio State traveled to East Lansing to take on the Michigan State Spartans for their first Big Ten game of the year, as well as their first game away from Columbus. The Buckeyes were looking for revenge for last year's 10–7 loss at Ohio Stadium, which was Michigan State's first victory over the Buckeyes since 1999. The Buckeyes opened the game by marched down the field on eight plays and scoring a touchdown to take a 7–0 lead on their first possession. Michigan State responded with a Dan Conroy field goal on their opening drive to make it 7-3 early in the first quarter. As the tempo of the game began to slow down, both defenses began to take over the game. The Ohio State special teams blocked a punt during in the second quarter, but it proved to be in vain as Braxton Miller threw an interception afterwards. As was the case earlier, the rest of the second quarter was a defense battle, with no one scoring and Michigan State kicker Dan Conroy missing a field goal, which would later prove to be the deciding points. The first half ended with the score remaining 7–3.
The second half began just like the first half with both offenses scoring early. Michigan State kicked their second field goal of the day with 11:04 remaining in the third, which closed the gap to a 7–6 game. Ohio State and Drew Basil would respond with an impressive drive of their own, resulting in a field goal and pushing it to a four point game again at 10–6. Michigan State would score their first touchdown of the game midway through the third quarter on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Maxwell to Keith Mumphrey. Mumphrey was able to break sever Buckeye defensive men and score, giving the Spartans a 13–10 lead. Once again the Buckeyes would respond quickly, this time on a four play touchdown drive, which ended with Braxton Miller throwing a 63 yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith. With the touchdown, Ohio State led the game 17–13, which would be the score at the end of the third quarter. Michigan State had several opportunities throughout the fourth quarter to take the lead away from Ohio State, but penalties and missed field goals would eventually halt any momentum. The Spartans did convert on a Dan Conroy 48-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter to make it a 17–16. After the Buckeye defense stopping the Spartans from scoring to take the lead, the Ohio State offense would run out the clock and end the game with a 17–16 victory. The win was Ohio State's first Big Ten conference win of the season, as well as head coach Urban Meyer's first Big Ten win. The win also kept Ohio State undefeated at 5–0 on the season. Braxton Miller led the team in both rushing and passing, completing 16 of 23 passes for 179 yards and one touchdown, along with 145 rushing yards.
The Buckeyes played host to the Nebraska Cornhuskers under the lights at Ohio Stadium on homecoming in front of the largest crowd in Ohio Stadium history. In their previous meeting, Nebraska defeated the Buckeyes in their first meeting as conference foes 34–27, during the 2011 season. Ohio State started out slowly on offense, but were able to score the first points of the game following a Bradley Roby interception return for a touchdown. The Nebraska offense would come back to score on their two drives to end the first quarter. Two Ameer Abdullah touchdown runs would give Nebraska their first lead of the night at 14–7 at the end of the first quarter. Nebraska would continue to dominate on offense during the first quarter and score a field goal following an eight play drive, giving them a 17–7 lead. Ohio State finally responded on their first drive of the second quarter, with a Carlos Hyde touchdown run. The Cornhuskers and the Buckeyes would shoot it out offensively throughout the second quarter. A touchdown pass from Ohio State's Braxton Miller and a touchdown run for Nebraska's Taylor Martinez would lead to a 24–21 score favoring Nebraska midway through the second quarter. Ohio State ended the quarter with Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller both scoring on touchdown runs, giving the Buckeyes a 35–24 lead at halftime.
The second half continued the offensive showdown seen during the second quarter. Nebraska scored on their first possession of the half on a Martinez touchdown pass, closing the score to 35–31. However, both the Ohio State offense and defense would step up throughout the third and fourth quarter. Ohio State scored two touchdowns during the third quarter, on a two Carlos Hyde touchdown runs and on a Corey Brown punt return. Ohio State held a commanding 49–31 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes early in the fourth quarter to put the game away with a 56–31 lead, and would not give up another Nebraska score until midway through the fourth quarter on a Martinez touchdown run. Ohio State score their final touchdown of the game with just seconds remaining and would go onto win 63–38. Ohio State moved to 6–0 on the season and 2–0 in conference play, becoming the only undefeated team remaining in the Big Ten. Ohio State out gained the Cornhuskers in total yardage 498 to 437. Braxton Miller lead the Buckeyes in both rushing and passing, scoring two touchdowns.
The Buckeyes faced their first Leaders Division counterpart of the season in the Indiana Hoosiers. In their previous meeting, the Buckeyes defeated Indiana 34–20, during the 2011 season. The Buckeyes began the game well on offense with their first possession going nine plays and finishing with Corey Brown touchdown run. A Drew Basil field goal later in the first quarter gave the Buckeyes a 10–0 lead. This Buckeye lead would soon disappear on the ensuing Hoosiers drives. Stephen Houston would score on a 59 and 7 yard touchdown run, giving the Hoosiers their first and only lead of the evening at 14–10, early in the second quarter. After struggling on offense earlier in the second quarter, they were able capitalize on their final drives of the half. A Bradley Roby blocked punt return and a Devin Smith touchdown reception from Braxton Miller would allow the Buckeyes to head into halftime with a 24–14 lead.
The second half of the game turned into an offense shootout, with both teams being able to capitalize on big plays, while the defense struggled consistently getting off of the field. Mitch Ewald kicked a field goal for the Hoosiers after their first drive of the half, which was followed by a 67-yard touchdown run for Miller and the Buckeyes. Indiana scored their first passing touchdown of the game in the third quarter on a pass from Cameron Coffman to Shane Wynn. Carlos Hyde would score a touchdown for Ohio State on a 14-yard run giving the Buckeyes a 38–27 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The offensive shootout continued into the fourth quarter with Indiana dominating the Ohio State defense for most of the quarter. Hyde would score another rushing touchdown early in the fourth quarter giving the Buckeyes a commanding 45–27 lead. A Hoosier rushing touchdown, followed by a Miller touchdown pass would keep Ohio State ahead 52–34 midway through the fourth quarter. The Hoosiers were able to mount a comeback later in the fourth with Indiana scoring on a 12-yard touchdown pass and closing the lead to a 14 point game. An onside kick recovered by the Hoosiers would allow them to drive down and score on another pass touchdown from quarterback Nate Sudfeld, with the two point conversion successful. Ohio State was able to recover the final onside kick and avoid the upset, insuring their 52–49 win and a 7–0 record on the season, as well as a 3–0 conference record. Carlos Hyde led the Buckeyes in rushing yards with 156 yards and one touchdown. Braxton Miller leading the Buckeyes in passing yards with 211 and three touchdowns.
Ohio State returned to Ohio Stadium to face the Purdue Boilermakers. In their previous meeting, Purdue defeated the Buckeyes 26–23 in overtime, during the 2011 season. Purdue scored quickly on their first possession with an 83 yard pass from Caleb TerBush to Akeem Shavers that would give them a 7–0 lead just 17 seconds into the game. The extra point attempt by Paul Griggs was blocked and allowed Ohio State to take the lead later in the quarter, at 7–6, after a Braxton Miller touchdown run. Purdue continued to score on big plays by taking back the ensuing kickoff 100-yards, which would give the Boilermakers a 13–7 lead. Purdue's kick return would be the last points scored in the first half, with a defensive battle beginning to take shape. The Boilermaker defense was able to shut down the Buckeye offense, forcing them to punt on many of their drives throughout the second quarter. Purdue was able to threaten in Ohio State territory, however a C.J. Barnett interception and a Griggs missed field goal would ensure that the Boilermakers went into halftime with only a six point lead.
Both teams opened the second half punting on their first drives respectively. On their second drive of the half, the Buckeyes were able to drive down and score on a Carlos Hyde run giving Ohio State the lead back, at 14–13. A 31-yard touchdown completion from Terbush to Gary Bush on Purdue's next drive would switch the lead back to the Boilermakers at 20–14. A Braxton Miller fumble for the Buckeyes and a Griggs blocked field goal for the Boilermakers would keep both teams out of the endzone for the remainder of the third quarter. Late in the third quarter Miller would take the ball and run for 24 yards, but at the same time was pushed to the ground and remained their for several minutes. Kenny Guiton was brought in to replace Miller and would lead the team for the remainder of the game. Ohio State punted early in the fourth quarter as did Purdue on their first drive of the quarter. On the Buckeye's second drive of the quarter an illegal block penalty on Andrew Norwell was accepted for a safety, giving the Boilermakers a 22–14 lead. Purdue was unable capitalize on the Buckeye's mistake, punting on their next drive. A Guiton interception on the Buckeye's next drive made an Ohio State comeback seem improbable, however, the Buckeye defense forced the Boilermakers to punt, giving them one last chance. Guiton was able to drive Ohio State down to the goal line and throw a touchdown pass to Chris Fields, with a two-point conversion pass to Jeff Heuerman, which tied the game a 22–22. In overtime, Ohio State went on offense first and would score in five plays on a Carlos Hyde run, giving them a 29–22 lead. The Buckeye defense was able to stop the Boilermakers on offense and ensure the win, going 8–0 overall and 4–0 in conference play.
Ohio State traveled to Happy Valley to renew their annual rivalry with the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Buckeyes previous game against the Nittany Lions came during the 2011 season, when Penn State defeated the Buckeyes 20–14. In the previous week, starting quarterback Braxton Miller left the game against Purdue at the end of the third quarter and did not return. Miller was cleared to return to the team later in the day and would start against Penn State. The first quarter was very uneventful for both teams, with each drive ending in a punt. The stalemate was finally broken on Ohio State's sixth drive, in which Mike Hull blocked a Ben Buchannan punt in the endzone, giving Penn State a 7–0 lead midway through the second quarter. Ohio State would respond on their next offensive drive, driving for 75 yards and scoring on a Carlos Hyde touchdown run, tying the score heading into halftime.
The defensive battle continued early in the second half, giving the edge to Ohio State. On Penn State's first drive of the third quarter, Ryan Shazier intercepted a Matt McGloin pass and returned it 17-yards for a touchdown. Sam Ficken would kick a 27-yard field goal on Penn State's ensuing drive, giving the Nittany Lions their first offensive points of the day and closing the score to 14–10. Penn State would force a Braxton Miller interception on the next drive, but would eventually have to punt. Ohio State was then able to drive 57 yards and score on a Braxton Miller touchdown run, giving them the 21–10 advantage midway through the third quarter. Ohio State's next offensive drive ended in the same fashion, on a Miller run, giving them a 28–10 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Penn State was finally able to score their first offensive touchdown early in the fourth quarter off of a McGloin pass. Miller completed a touchdown pass to Jake Stoneburner on Ohio State's next driving, further knocking Penn State out of the game with their 35–16 advantage. The Nittany Lions scored on their last offensive drive of the game, making the final score 35–23 in favor of Ohio State. The win kept Ohio State undefeated and put them at 5–0 in Big Ten conference play. Miller rushed for over 100 yards for the sixth time of the season while also passing for 143 yards.
Ohio State entered their annual matchup with Leaders Division foe Illinois undefeated and ranked sixth in the AP Poll. In their previous meeting, the Buckeyes defeated Illinois 17–7, during the 2011 season, wining the Illibuck trophy for the fourth consecutive season. Illinois received the ball first in the first quarter and were forced to punt, as was Ohio State on their first drive. Illinois would get on the board first, with a 39-yard drive that ended on a Nick Immekus 43-yard field goal, giving the Illini a 3–0 lead. Ohio State answered on their next offensive drive, going 79 yards in ten plays, while taking a 7–3 lead on a Carlos Hyde rush. A field goal on the next Illini drive would bring them within one point of the Buckeyes heading into the second quarter. The Ohio State offense, though, would be able break the game open during the second quarter, scoring 24 points and taking command of the game. The Buckeyes would score on their first four drives of the half, starting with a Drew Basil field goal, expanding the Ohio State lead to 10–6. Another Carlos Hyde touchdown rush and a Braxton Miller touchdown pass would put the Buckeyes up 24–6, with another Hyde touchdown run giving Ohio State the 31–6 advantage. The Buckeye defense would force Illinois to punt three times in the quarter and would intercept a Nathan Scheelhaase pass that would ensure they did not get into the endzone during the quarter.
The Ohio State defense was able to continue their superb performance in the third quarter, forcing the Illini to punt of their first drive of the half. Another touchdown, off of a Braxton Miller run, would give Ohio State a commanding 38–6 lead. Illinois scored their first touchdown of the game at the end of the third quarter and converted two points off of a Tim Russell pass. With the game well in hand by the fourth quarter, Ohio State was able to put in many second-string players, but were still able to score two touchdowns in the quarter on a Braxton Miller pass to Corey Brown and a Bri'onte Dunn run. The only Illini score for the remainder of the game came midway through the fourth quarter with a fumble recovery taken to the endzone. Ohio State won the blowout 52–22 and improved to 10–0 on the season and 6–0 in conference play. Braxton Miller carried the ball 18 times on the day for 73 yards and completed 12 of 20 passes for 226 yards.
Ohio State traveled to Madison in their final road game of the season to face the Wisconsin Badgers. In their previous meeting, the Buckeyes defeated Wisconsin 33–29, during the 2011 season. Wisconsin received the ball first on offense, however, the Buckeye defense was able to force a three-and-out and set the tone for the remainder of the game. Braxton Miller and the Buckeye offense were able to drive 48 yards on their first possession of the game, but were forced to put as well. A 43-yard punt return by Corey Brown late in the first quarter was the first score of the game, giving Ohio State the early 7–0 advantage. Braxton Miller was able to move Ohio State into good field position, which would allow Carlos Hyde to score his first touchdown of the game, giving the Buckeyes the commanding 14–0 lead early in the second quarter. Montee Ball, who rushed for 191 yards on the day, would be instrumental in Wisconsin's fifth drive of the game. Ball would score for the Badgers on a 7-yard touchdown run. The defense for both teams began to take the game over again, with neither team scoring any more points in the first half. Ohio State went into half time with the 14–7 lead.
As in the first half, defense was the dominant force in the second half of the game, with neither team getting into the endzone in the third quarter. Ohio State was forced to punt twice during the quarter, while the Badgers began to put a drive together midway through the third, not giving the ball back to the Buckeyes for the remainder of the quarter. The drive would end with Wisconsin kicker Kyle French missing a 40-yard field goal, keeping intact the 14–7 Buckeye lead. The Buckeye offense, incapable of doing much in the third quarter, faced the same problems in the fourth, with the Wisconsin defense forcing them to punt on every drive during the quarter. Wisconsin, who continually chipped away at the Ohio State defense, got the ball back in Buckeye territory with 1:33 to go in the game. Behind quarterback Curt Phillips and running back Montee Ball, the Badgers would drive down and score a touchdown on a Jacob Pederson reception with just eight seconds left. Ohio State elected to go into overtime with the score at the end of regulation being 14–14. Ohio State was on offense first in the overtime period and scored on a Carlos Hyde touchdown run in just four plays, giving them the 21–14 advantage. Wisconsin, needing a touchdown to force a second overtime was not able to get a first down and was stopped by the Buckeye defense, giving Ohio State the victory. Ohio State won the Leaders Division of the Big Ten following the victory, but were still ineligible to go to the Big Ten Championship Game. Ohio State left Madison with an 11–0 record for the first time since the 2006 season and were in position to complete their first undefeated season since 2002 with one game remaining against arch rival Michigan.
The Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines continued their annual fierce rivalry on November 24. The 108th edition of "The Game" marked the regular season finale for both teams and the season finale for Ohio State due to their post-season ban. The game also marked Urban Meyer's first time as the head coach for the Buckeyes in "The Game" and Michigan head coach Brady Hoke's second game. In their previous meeting, Michigan defeated the Buckeyes 40–34 in 2011, Michigan's first victory over Ohio State since the 2003. The Buckeyes opened the game on offense and took only six plays to drive 75 yards and score a touchdown on a Carlos Hyde run. With Ohio State taking the early 7–0 lead, Michigan turned to starting quarterback Devin Gardner, who replaced Denard Robinson after his injury a few weeks earlier. Robinson was still used as a running threat throughout the game. On the Wolverines' first drive Gardner was sacked deep in Ohio State territory, fumbled, giving the ball and the momentum to the Buckeyes. Michigan forced an Ohio State punt, but were penned deep in their own territory. The Wolverines made up for the field position in one play with a 75-yard touchdown pass from Devin Gardner to Roy Roundtree tying the game at seven. On the ensuing Ohio State possession, Braxton Miller gained the majority of the yards through the air and the ground, moving the Buckeyes to the Michigan 24 yard line, allowing Drew Basil to kick the 41-yard field goal and give Ohio State the 10–7 lead. The Wolverines were able to score a touchdown on their first possession of the second quarter, on a Gardner run, switching the lead to Michigan for the first time at 14–10. The Wolverine defense stopped the Buckeyes on their next possession, however, they could not get anything going on their next offensive drive. Towards the end of the second quarter, Ohio State drove 59 yards with Miller completing a touchdown pass to Corey Brown, giving Ohio State the 17–14 lead. Michigan responded quickly with Robinson scoring his first touchdown of the day on a 67-yard run and giving Michigan the lead once against. A Drew Basil field goal in the waning seconds of the first half closed the score, but the Wolverines still led at half time 21–20.
Michigan opened the second half with the ball on offense, but were unable to convert on fourth down and turned the ball over to the Buckeyes at midfield. Ohio State was unable to get into the endzone on the ensuing drive, but were able to take the lead back from the Wolverines on a Drew Basil field goal, making the score 23–21 in favor of the Buckeyes. Robinson fumbled the ball on Michigan's next offensive drive and gave the Buckeyes the ball in Wolverine territory, however, the drive would end in a Basil missed field goal. The two defenses continued to battle into the fourth quarter with both teams struggling to get any momentum on offense. Ohio State would score their final points of the game midway through the fourth on a 25-yard Basil field goal, giving the Buckeyes a 26–21 lead. Michigan continued to battle on their next offensive drive, being down only one possession, but a Gardner interception with 4:50 to play would seal the victory for the Buckeyes. The Ohio State defense would not allow the Wolverines to cross the 50 yard line the entire second half. Head coach Urban Meyer would call a timeout with 1:26 remaining in the game to allow the crowd and players to soak in the victory and the perfect season, even commenting after the game that, "this is a great team."
Ohio State beat Michigan 26–21 and ensured that the Wolverines would not win consecutive games in the rivalry for the first time since 2000. The win also completed the undefeated season for the Buckeyes, going 12–0 overall and 8–0 in the Big Ten. This was the first undefeated season for the Buckeyes since 2002, the tenth overall, and sixth unbeaten and untied season for the program. The game made Urban Meyer the most successful first-year head coach in Buckeye history since Carroll Widdoes in 1944. Braxton Miller passed for 189 yard on the day, with Carlos Hyde leading the team in rushing yards with 146 yards. Gardner threw for 117 yards, while Robinson lead the team in rushing with 122 yards. Ohio State was ineligible for the BCS or the Coaches Poll national championship, but was still eligible for the AP Poll national championship. However, the Buckeyes would fall behind the BCS national champion Alabama Crimson Tide and the second ranked Oregon Ducks to finish the season ranked third.
Entering the 2012 season, the Buckeyes were ranked No. 18 in the AP Preseason Poll, while they were ineligible for the Coaches' Poll, due to NCAA sanctions. After Ohio State's 56–10 win over Miami (Ohio), they moved to No. 14 in the AP Poll. After the Buckeyes' 63–38 win over Nebraska, who was ranked No. 21, Ohio State moved into the top ten of the AP Poll at No. 8. The first BCS Standings of the season came out on October 14, however, like the Coaches' Poll, the Buckeyes were ineligible for either the BCS Standings or Harris Poll. The Buckeyes' 29–22 overtime victory over Purdue would drop Ohio State from No. 7 to No. 9. Entering their final game with Michigan, the Buckeyes were ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll, with the 26–21 victory moving them to No. 3 the final poll of the regular season. Though they were not eligible, many projected that Ohio State would have been ranked No. 3 in the final BCS standings, behind Alabama and Notre Dame at the end end of the regular season. Ohio State was still eligible for the AP National Championship, which is separate from the BCS National Championship Game. Though Notre Dame's loss in the National Championship Game left Ohio State as the only undefeated team in the Division I Football Subdivision, they were behind the national champion Alabama Crimson Tide and the Oregon Ducks. Ohio State finished the 2012 season ranked No. 3 in the final AP Poll.
After the seasonEdit
After the victory over Michigan, Ohio State fans celebrated the perfect season with a ceremony at St. John Arena on December 7. Thousands attended the rally, which featured the Ohio State University Marching Band, as well as comments from Gordon Gee, Urban Meyer and many of the seniors. Former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith presented the team with the Big Ten Leaders Division Championship trophy.
After their victory of Michigan in the final regular season game, Ohio State's final team statistics were released. On the defensive side of the ball, Ohio State ranked 31st in scoring defense (22.83 points per game), 34th in total defense (359.58 yards per game), fourteenth in rushing defense (116.08 yards per game) and 76th in pass defense (243.50 yards per game). In conference, Ohio State ranked second in rushing defense and eleventh in passing defense. Ohio State ranked second in the nation in total defense during the month of November. On the offensive side of the ball, Ohio State ranked 21st in scoring offense (37.17 points per game), 47th in total offense (423.75 yards per game), tenth in rushing offense (242.25 yards per game) and 101st in passing offense (181.50 yards per game). In conference, Ohio State ranked second in rushing offense and eighth in passing offense.
In the weeks following the conclusion of the regular season, multiple Ohio State players were honored for their on-field performances with a variety of awards and recognition. The Big Ten recognized several players for their individual performances with various awards. Quarterback Braxton Miller, guard Andrew Norwell, defensive lineman John Simon, linebacker Ryan Shazier, and cornerbacks Bradley Roby and Travis Howard were all named to the Media All-Big Ten First Team. Running back Carlos Hyde, tackle Jack Mewhort and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins were all naed to the Media All-Big Ten Second Team. Defensive backs C.J. Barnett, Corey Brown and Christian Bryant, offensive linemen Reid Fragel and Corey Linsley, and linebacker Etienne Sabino were all named Media All-Big Ten Honorable Mention. Three players were named to the Coaches' All-Big Ten First Team including Hankins, John Simon and Bradley Roby. Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde, wide receiver Corey Brown, Ryan Shazier and Christian Bryant were named to the Coaches' All-Big Ten Second Team. Braxton Miller won the Big Ten Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year award, with John Simon winning the Big Ten Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year award.
In addition to the conference awards, several players were also named to various All-American Teams. Johnathan Hankins and Bradley Roby were named to the AP All-American Second Team, while John Simon was named to the AP All-American Third Team. Hankins was named to the All-American First Team by Scout.com, while Bradley Roby was named to the All-American First Team by ESPN. Many Ohio State players were also award finalists, including Braxton Miller, who was a finalist for the Manning Award and John Simon, who was a finalist for the Bowden Award. The coaching staff was also recognized for their achievements with head coach Urban Meyer being a finalist for the Football Writers Association of America coach of the year, Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award and Bear Bryant coach of the year. Buckeye offensive line coach E Warinner was also recognized by FootballScoop as the offensive line coach of the year. Several Buckeye players were invited to the many postseason All-Star games. Reid Fragel and John Simon were the two Buckeyes invited to the 2013 Senior Bowl, with Fragel pulling out and Simon playing for the North Team. Nathan Williams and Travis Howard were the only Buckeyes that participated in the 2013 East–West Shrine Game, while safety Orhian Johnson represented Ohio State in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
Ten players from Ohio State were entered into the NFL Draft, nine seniors and one underclassmen. On defense, Johnathan Hankins, John Simon, Etienne Sabino, Travis Howard, Nathan Williams, Orhian Johnson and Garrett Goebel are all entered. Hankins, the only junior from Ohio State in the draft, is projected to be drafted in the first round. Simon is projected to be selected in the third round, with Sabino and Howard projected to go around the fifth round. On offense, Reid Fragel, Jake Stoneburner and Zach Boren are all entered. Stoneburner and Boren are both expected to be selected late in the sixth or seventh round. In February 2013, seven Ohio State players were invited to the NFL Combine, including Jonathan Hankins, Nate Williams, Etienne Sabino, Zach Boren, Reid Fragel, Jake Stoneburner and John Simon.