Photos by David Heasley
As the Buckeyes make more and more memorable strides this season, we at 1870 wanted to reminisce a little about what made us so proud of our team in the past 10 years. 2019 isn’t the first time the Buckeyes felt on top of the world, and it certainly won’t be the last. So without further ado, let’s go into 2020 with a little celebratory history.
2015 Braxton Miller spin move against Virginia Tech. The defending champion Buckeyes returned with one of the most stacked lineups in college football history in 2015—12 Buckeyes were selected in that spring’s NFL Draft alone, and five in the first round— but they’d begin their incumbency against the one team that beat them the year prior: Virginia Tech. A healthy Braxton Miller showed what Ohio State had been missing in the teams’ last matchup, stopping on a dime to change directions on an open-field, 360 degree pirouette that broke Hokie hearts and ankles en route to a 53-yard touchdown. The move crystallized a redemptive victory in prime time for a Buckeye team that seemed poised to repeat as national champs—until they didn’t. (But a lot of students did make it on the OSU Snapchat story that day for performing their own spins on friends, trees, and lampposts all across campus.)
Joey Bosa’s walk-off sack against Penn State. Joey Bosa left quite the legacy in Columbus as one of the premier pass rushers in Ohio State history, but no shrug celebration or quarterback-crushing hit cemented it more than this one. After surrendering a 17-point lead in enemy territory at Penn State, the Buckeyes found themselves in double overtime, at risk of allowing the Nittany Lions to knot it up once more. Instead, Bosa man-handled a Penn State running back straight into his own quarterback’s knee, and suddenly all three were flatly in the dirt. Bosa was the first to his feet, a swarm of white uniforms coming to engulf him in boisterous celebration following the game-ending sack.
2019 Rose Bowl win. It wasn’t a fairy tale sendoff—Urban Meyer decided to hang it up after a season marred by controversy and health concerns—but the Buckeyes sent their indomitable figurehead into (temporary?) retirement with one last Rose Bowl victory in 2019. After holding off a three-touchdown comeback-rally from the Washington Huskies, Meyer received a Gatorade shower that made for a bittersweet moment among the scarlet and gray faithful. Every end is a new beginning though, and following the game, Meyer finished his locker room speech with a ceremonial passing of the torch—in this case, a whistle—to his successor, Ryan Day.
Urban Meyer’s arrival. It’s always darkest before the dawn. The fallout from “tattoo-gate” left Ohio State without a quarterback and head coach in 2011, rushing true freshman Braxton Miller and interim coach Luke Fickell into a season that earned the Buckeyes’ their most losses in school history. It may have been a hard pill to swallow at the time, but the porous year made possible the return of a prodigal son and program savior in Urban Meyer, who got his Master’s degree and first college coaching degree from the school in the ‘80s. Meyer immediately shot the Buckeyes right back to the top of the totem pole, winning his first 24 games in a row, and delivering a national title in just his third season at the helm.
Tyvis Powell interception – 2013 Michigan game. This game had everything. Huge upset potential, with an unranked Michigan team threatening to snap Ohio State’s 23-game winning streak. Flared tensions, as three players got ejected for fighting, and Ohio State’s Marcus Hall left the field flipping a double-barrel bird to the Wolverine crowd. Wire-to-wire intrigue as well— Michigan scored with just 32 seconds left to make it 42-41. Instead of tying it up with an extra point, the Wolverines went for 2 and the win, setting up a do- or-die situation that left both fan bases on the edge of their seat. Michigan looked poised to pull off their second Rivalry Game win of the past three years, but Tyvis Powell dashed their hopes with a goal-line interception that kept the Buckeyes’ undefeated season intact.
Cardale Jones’ performance in the 2014 Big Ten Championship vs. Wisconsin. The Buckeyes already had a loss on their resume. They already lost their starting quarterback. They already lost their BACKUP quarterback the week before, so there was no way Ohio State was hobbling out of the Big Ten Championship with a win, let alone a chance at the inaugural College Football Playoff. Then came Cardale Jones. Ohio State’s third-string quarterback put on a virtuoso performance, shredding the Wisconsin defense for 257 yards and three touchdowns to lead Ohio State to a 59-0 win—the most lopsided result in any Big Ten Championship Game to date. Jones’s MVP-winning display bolstered the Buckeyes back into playoff contention, as they jumped up two spots in the rankings to qualify as the last team into the tournament.
2017 home comeback against Penn State. When Saquon Barkley returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown against Ohio State at the Shoe in 2017, it appeared a long day was at foot for the Buckeyes. Down 20-35 in the fourth quarter, it was getting even longer, until J.T. Barrett strung together the signature moment of his Buckeye tenure. Barrett tossed three touchdowns in the final 11 minutes, including two in the last five, to outscore Penn State 19-3 in the quarter to finish with a 39-38 win. A 13-for-13 quarter for Barrett led Urban Meyer to shower his senior quarterback with the praise of a near-perfect game, and even threw his hat in the Heisman ring. All the while, thousands of Buckeye fans flooded the field to stand on the same earth Barrett had just laid claim to.
Curtis Samuel game-winner – 2016 Michigan game. Enter double overtime at the Horseshoe. Down three, Ohio State faced a fourth-and-1 and a tough decision: Go for it, and risk a home loss to TTUN, or kick a field goal with a player who had already missed from 37 and 21 earlier in the game. Urban Meyer put the ball in the hands of J.T. Barrett, who picked up the first down by a matter of inches, despite the vehement protests of Jim Harbaugh. On the next play Curtis Samuel ended the back-and- forth slugfest with a 15-yard scamper, crossing the goal line with a jump of jubilation and outstretched arms for a pose that will be seen in OSU-Michigan rivalry highlights for decades to come.
College Football Playoff win over Alabama. The NBA has Gregg Popovich. The NFL has Bill Belichick. College football has Nick Saban and UrbanMeyer.Thetwobestcoachesin the sport’s modern era went head-to- head in the first-ever College Football Playoff in 2014. Alabama was favored by 9.5, the undefeated No.1 seed, and the jury was still out on Cardale Jones, but he and Zeke rolled the tide and sent Saban packing against all odds. Elliott set a Sugar Bowl record with 230 yards rushing, including an 85-yard sprint to pay dirt that sealed the victory, and helped immortalize his signature crop top jersey stylings.
2015 National Championship. Few would’ve thought a team that got blown out at home by an unranked opponent in the second week of the season would still be standing by the national championship game. Even fewer would’ve thought the Buckeyes could have a chance to win it with a man who started the year at No. 3 on the depth chart at the most important position on the field. Ohio State had more than just a chance though—they thoroughly outclassed an Oregon team boasting the Heisman Trophy winner in Marcus Mariota and one of the most potent offenses in the country. Zeke topped his already piping hot streak of Herculean postseason performances with a monstrous 246 yards and four touchdowns for Ohio State to capture just its second national title since 1970. Couches burned across campus all night long in celebration. •