It was so metaphorical. The two offensive turnovers for Ohio State came from seniors Daniel Herron and DeVier Posey. They were two players who contributed to the tattoo scandal, and whose suspensions were extended past their initial penalties when news of further NCAA rules violations came to light.
It was their actions that helped contribute to the Ohio State bowl ban for next season. As they each fumbled offensive possessions away, they were assisting in giving up this bowl game, just as their rules violations helped to give up next year’s bowl game.
They weren’t the only offensive seniors who made mistakes today. Offensive linemen J.B. Shugarts had two false starts. Shugarts had an amazingly prolific career of false starts, so I guess it was fitting that his Buckeye career end with him getting called for a pair. Center Mike Brewster who has started over 50 games was called for a holding penalty. But the offensive line in general had issues. True freshman quarterback Braxton Miller was sacked six times today. Blocking was also an issue in the third quarter when punter Ben Buchanan saw a kick blocked. The result of the play was a Florida touchdown.
The Buckeye loss this afternoon gave them their seventh of the year. In an amazing statistic, the last time an Ohio State team lost 7 games in a season was 1897. No other school in the country had a streak remotely close to that. Florida State has the next longest streak of non 7 loss seasons, and that goes back to 1975.
On offense, Florida looked good in the first quarter. They had a productive drive which ended in a fumble, and later had a long scoring drive. At the end of 1, the Gators led 7-0. They had controlled the ball for a commanding 10:02 and had converted 7 first downs.
But Ohio State did have flashes of production on offense. Between the tackles, they were able to pick up yards, and when he wasn’t being sacked, Miller had a strong passing day. On a their most balanced drive of the game, Ohio State drove for a tying score with 11:25 left in the second quarter when Miller hit Posey on a quick slant. It was a perfectly executed play.
When Ohio State kicked off, Florida returner Andre Debose went 99 yards for a touchdown on a return where it looked like he never even broke into a full sprint. He wasn’t touched on the play, and before he had even crossed midfield, it was clear that Debose was going to score. All of the momentum which the Buckeyes had gained was now deflated as Florida regained the 14-7 lead. Ohio State would not pull even again for the rest of the afternoon.
At the end of the first half, OSU did manage to kick a late field goal when Drew Basil nailed a 47 yard kick. 14-10 at the half.
At the beginning of the third quarter, Ohio State received the ball. The drive ultimately stalled when trying to regain lost yards after the Brewster hold, and when the Bucks setup to punt, Buchanan never had a chance. Three Gators swarmed the Buckeye punter, as the kick was blocked, and the Florida defenders charged into the end zone.
Immediately getting the ball back after the score, OSU struggled, and the Buchanan punt was nearly blocked. Florida senior Jeff Brantely threw an interceptoin as the ball was tipped up and caught by Buckeye senior Tyler Moeller. At the time, it was the Gator’s third turnover of the game, but Ohio State was unable to capitalize as the Bucks gave the ball back when Posey fumbled what would have been a first down reception.
Early in the fourth quarter, Florida kicked a field goal from deep inside Buckeye territory to put them up by 14. The offensive struggles got worse as OSU tried to get back into the game. In what was a reoccuring theme throughout the season, when Ohio State found themselves trailing in games, they were typically doomed. Trying to get back into the game, the offense continued to run between the tackles and throw short screens. Late in the game, these plays were not effective at getting them back into the game.
At the end of the fourth quarter, with Florida essentially playing a prevent defense, Miller was able to efficiently lead the team down the field for a score. But when the Bucks tried an onside kick, Florida easily recovered and the game was over. And the season was over. And Buckeye bowl games for the next two years were over. And the one year tenure of Luke Fickell was over. And the careers of several Ohio State assistants who are not going to be retained were over. And the careers of the players who were involved in the tattoo scandal were over.