After losing Big Ten championship game in disappointing fashion, Buckeyes get Clemson in Orange Bowl

After losing 34-24 to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game on Saturday, Ohio State’s plans of going to Pasadena to play for the BCS title were squashed. Instead, it was announced yesterday that the Buckeyes (12-1) are heading to Miami Gardens, Fla, to play Clemson (10-2) in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl.

Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes rushes for a touchdown against the Michigan State Spartans in the third quarter of the Big Ten Conference Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes rushes for a touchdown against the Michigan State Spartans in the third quarter of the Big Ten Conference Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Against the Spartans, Ohio State led 24-20 entering the fourth quarter, but the porous Buckeye defense surrendered two touchdowns and OSU’s sputtering offense came to a halt in the final period.

With 14:53 remaining in the game, Michigan State began at its own 10 yard line following a 48-yard punt by Ohio State’s Cameron Johnston.

The Spartans needed just three minutes and 15 seconds to go 90 yards in eight plays capped off on a 9-yard TD pass from Connor Cook to Josiah Price. Cook was 4-of-7 passing for 76 yards during that scoring drive which put Michigan State up for good at 27-24 with 11:41 left.

From there, the only offense the Buckeyes could muster was 25 yards in 12 plays. Ohio State went three-and-out after the Spartans scored the go-ahead touchdown, then was stopped twice on fourth down.

For the game, junior quarterback Braxton Miller did well running the ball, gaining 142 yards on 21 carries. But Miller wasn’t real accurate throwing the ball, hitting just 8 of his 21 of his attempts for 101 yards and a TD. Senior running back Carlos Hyde netted 118 yards on 18 carries. Ohio State racked up 273 rushing yards and 374 yards of total offense with 21 first downs.

Defensively, the Buckeyes were torched for 438 yards by the Spartans with 304 of those coming through the air. Once again, Ohio State made an average quarterback look like the second coming of John Elway as Cook was 24-of-40 with three touchdowns and one interception.

Up next, Ohio State gets Clemson in the Orange Bowl, who has a quarterback far better than Cook by the name of Tajh Boyd. As a senior, Boyd has completed 67.6 percent (252-373) of his passes for 3,473 yards with 29 TDs and 9 INTs this season. The early line has Ohio State favored by four points. Have the people in Las Vegas not seen the Buckeyes’ pass defense?

This will be just the second meeting between the two schools. The last time Ohio State and Clemson faced each other on the gridiron was in the 1978 Gator Bowl, as the Tigers won 17-15. This game proved to be coach Woody Hayes’ last game in his storied history. With just over two minutes left in the game, OSU quarterback Art Schlichter threw a pass that sailed wide and was intercepted by Clemson’s Charlie Bauman. Hayes then punched Bauman as he taunted the Buckeye bench. The next day Ohio State fired Hayes after 28 seasons.

This will also mark just the second appearance by Ohio State in the Orange Bowl, The last time was in 1977 as the Buckeyes defeated Colorado 27-10. The 2014 edition of the Orange Bowl is set for Friday, January 3. Kickoff at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on ESPN.

About Matt Barker

Matt Barker began blogging on the Buckeyes for the web site, AllSports.com, back during Ohio State's championship year of 2002. Going out on his own, Mr. Barker began Buckeye Banter in August of 2003, now in its 10th year.