“The Granddaddy of Them All” had the look of a lopsided blowout through the end of the third quarter. But the Huskies would not leave Pasadena without a fight. Still, the Buckeyes survive a fourth-quarter surge by Washington. And Ohio State returned the Rose Bowl trophy to the Big Ten for the first time since 2014.
Domination by the Buckeyes
In the weeks leading up to the game, media and analysts went back and forth. On the one hand, many (including us) predicted that the Buckeyes’ offense would carry the day. Many others, however, questioned how anyone could predict the Huskies defense surrendering enough points to lose this game. Washington undoubtedly heard enough about Dwayne Haskins and the rest of the Ohio State offense.
But the Huskies were unable to turn that frustration into results, at least during the first three quarters. By that time, Ohio State had put up 28 points and over 340 yards. Haskins showed patience and poise as he stood in the pocket and picked apart the Huskies’ zone defense. And the Buckeyes looked dominant.
Don’t Call it a Comeback
Going into the locker room, Washington Head Coach Chris Petersen was asked how he would challenge the Buckeyes in the second half. His answer was simple. The Huskies needed to hold the ball longer and sustain some drives. His team listened.
The Huskies offense woke up at halftime, made some adjustments, and started churning late in the third quarter. The Huskies’ second drive of the frame was their first spanning over 50 yards in the game. Unfortunately, Washington was unable to capitalize, and the drive stalled within a couple yards of the red zone due to a fantastic batted ball by Jeffrey Okudah.
But after holding Ohio State to a quick three and out, the Huskies scored on the next drive. Washington narrowed the gap to 28-10. Over the next four drives, the Huskies held the Buckeyes to ten total yards and forced punts on each. Meanwhile, the Huskies held the ball for over 23 minutes in the second half. And they closed the gap to 28-17 with eight minutes left in the game.
However, Petersen wasted a timeout before a punt with the clock running down. While this may not have been a singularly decisive moment in the game, it certainly did not help matters. The Huskies scored on their next possession, coming within five of the Buckeyes. But they only had 42 seconds left at that point to work with. So Washington came up short in the comeback attempt, as valiant as it was.
Meyer’s Last Game a Win
And so the Buckeyes won the Rose Bowl 28-23 after a strong start against a normally-stout Huskies defense. As we discussed in our preview, this was Urban Meyer’s last game. And his team, especially the seniors, rallied around him. True to form, Meyer referred to pre-season spectacle vaguely as “other stuff” in his post-game remarks. Despite the other “stuff” Buckeye Nation will undoubtedly miss Meyer. Either way, the Ryan Day era in Columbus begins now.