We know that Ohio State was defeated by Alabama in the 1978 Sugar Bowl 35-6, but we wanted to give our readers a synopsis of the Bucks last two appearances in the New Orleans Superdome. First up is the 1998 Sugar Bowl where Florida State beat Ohio State 31-14.
It was the final year of the Bowl Alliance. The ACC Champion and 4th ranked Seminoles entered the '98 Sugar Bowl 10-1, with their one loss to the Florida Gators. The Buckeyes entered the '98 Sugar Bowl 10-2, with losses to #1 ranked Michigan and former #1 ranked Penn State by a total of 10 points. The Bucks were tied for 2nd in the Big 10 with both Penn State and Purdue.
Andre Wadsworth and crew got their groove-on, sacking OSU QBs 6 times that night (Stan Jackson 4 times and Joe Germaine 2 twice). When the 'Noles weren't knocking Buckeye quarterbacks to the turf, they were chasing them out of rhythm. Ohio State was in the second and final year of the Jackson/Germaine starting debacle...um, tandem at QB. Neither one of them looked comfortable that night due to the constant pressure brought by the 'Noles pass rush.
"We got beat by an outstanding football team. They're a big, strong defensive football team and they kept relentless pressure on us the entire ballgame," said Ohio State coach John Cooper.
On the 'Noles offense, QB Thad Busby finished the day completing 22 of 33 passes for 334 yards. Although Busby threw for 2 INTs, he ran for a 9 yard score and threw for a 27 yard TD to E.G. Green. Green finished the game with the one score, 7 total catches for 176 yards, and the Sugar Bowl MVP trophy.
In what limited offense the Buckeyes could muster, Pepe Pearson finished with 60 yards on 22 carries, while Jackson & Germaine combined to go 16-of-36 for 207 yards with one TD and three interceptions.
You may also remember that the game saw a Dan Stultz to John Lumpkin trick-play touchdown nullified because Lumpkin failed to check-in properly with the officials prior to the play. Ah.. the JHC..
With the win, Florida State ended up 3rd in the final polls. They has also accomplished a few other amazing feats. Not only did they complete their 11th straight season with a top 5 ranking or better, but they also won the 12th out of their last 13 bowl games. Things like this grew the legend of Coach Bobby Bowden.
With the loss, Ohio State ended up 12th in the final AP poll. But the team showed signs of greatness, and there was a lot of potential for the next year. The Bucks and 'Noles seemed to be bound for another possible battle the next year. Maybe even, for it all.