The Top 11 Plays of the 2012 Football Season

By Ross Fulton on December 24, 2012 at 7:00p
26 Comments

The 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes made a number of timely, crucial, and spectacular plays in all three phases of the game to compile an undefeated 12-0 season. But several of those plays stand out more than others. Without further ado, I give you the top 11 plays of the 2012 Ohio State football season. 

11. Devin Smith's One-Handed Touchdown Catch

This phenomenal catch on a three verticals route off of a QB counter trey action got the season started in style and marked Smith as a legitimate deep threat.

10. Braxton Miller's Touchdown Run Vs. Cal

Braxton Miller can render even the best designed defenses a nullity. Here, OSU runs a fake outside zone QB counter trey. Cal's defensive back is sitting in the hole, but Miller leaves him grasping for air. This and other early highlight runs put Miller in the Heisman conversation throughout the season.

9. Ryan Shazier Interception Return vs. Penn State

Shazier's pick-6 from quarter-quarter-half coverage provided OSU a lead it never relinquished in Happy Valley. Shazier's interception changed the complexion of the game, allowing OSU to take control in the second half.

8. Corey Brown's Punt Return vs. Wisconsin

Behind great blocking, Brown got immediately upfield for the touchdown. With an anemic offensive showing for much of the game, this return was critical to get the Buckeyes into overtime to secure the win.

7. Braxton Miller Touchdown Run Against Penn State

In a season of great Miller runs, this one was certainly not the longest, but it was perhaps the most spectacular.

6. Zach Boren Sack Against Michigan

Boren's automatic delayed blitz read led to this huge hit that set the tone and perhaps altered the course of the Michigan game. 

5. Rod Smith Wheel Route

This was a perfectly executed wheel route off inverted veer action and showed Urban Meyer at his best—creating big-play opportunities by constraining the defense off his base spread run plays.

4. Braxton Miller Touchdown Run vs. Nebraska

This QB counter trey was set up pre-snap. By aligning trips to the left, OSU was able to pull the Nebraska deep safety to the left hash mark. As such, once Miller got in the open field there was no one left to stop him. Like so many other big Miller runs, this one opened the offensive flood gates for Ohio State.

3. Buckeye Defense Fourth Down Overtime Stop vs. Wisconsin

Here, the Buckeye defense learned from their fourth quarter mistake in allowing Wisconsin to get a last-second touchdown. Rather than sit back in cover 3 zone, OSU brought pressure, specifically an overload blitz with cover-0 behind. Christian Bryant made a nice play on the ball, sealing the Buckeyes' victory.

2. Kenny Guiton Two-Point Conversion Pass vs. Purdue

The Buckeyes' undefeated season would not have happened without a near-miraculous comeback versus Purdue. And this victory could not have happened without key contributions from reserves Kenny Guiton and Chris Fields. Guiton's heady play was exemplified by the game-tying two-point conversion. OSU ran a nicely designed tight end delayed throwback. Jeff Heuerman sold the block, and Guiton delivered an easily catchable ball for the score.

1. OSU Running 'Power' to Ice an Undefeated Season

The Buckeyes sealed their undefeated season against Michigan in the most appropriate way for this squad—running Carlos Hyde behind Jack Mewhort and Andrew Norwell on the left side of the Ohio State offensive line. This is where OSU repeatedly went when they needed tough yards, and the two-headed running monster of Miller and Carlos Hyde was the engine to Ohio State's success in 2012.

 

26 Comments

Comments

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Braxton's TD run against Penn State needs to be a lot higher.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Oakland Buckeye's picture

Agreed, in fact penn st run should be #1, Smith catch 2 - that's what started the 12-0 season.

thatlillefty's picture

What's so amazing about that play is it seems he doesn't even see the guy coming from his left, but rather 'feels' it and jukes his way to the end zone. Brax is crazy athletic.

daytonbuckeye's picture

One of my favorites not listed above was the goal line stand against Wiscy when RDS caused the fumble.

cajunbuckeye's picture

^^^^This. When that ball came out everybody went insane. Definitely makes my top 10 list.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

Ahh Saturday's picture

Think that goal line stand finishes higher if the D didn't give up a TD on the subsequent possession.

pcon258's picture

if they hadn't scored later in the game, that would have been one of the most exciting plays we had seen in our lifetimes. On the goal line, to save an undefeated season, to keep montee ball from setting the record. shame they had to let up a td afterwards, because that would have been, holy sh*t, just would have been amazing

Ross Fulton's picture

I agree. If I could include one more I would include that--but in terms of meaning to the game, as others said, by giving up the touchdown the next possession the outcome was not truly altered by it. 

RedStorm45's picture

The outcome wasn't really altered by rod smith's wheel route either.

BoFuquel's picture

Higher if the Zebra's hadn't robbed Wiskey of their 1st down on the previous play.That will forever taint that great play in the eyes of The ESECPN Nation.Even if it was on The ABSEC Network.GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

BME_Buckeye's picture

 
My top 11
1. BRAXTON MILLER PASS TO STONEBURNER VS. PENN STATE TO ICE THE GAME RESULTING IN THE HOPELESS LOOK FOR PSU FANS.
2. BALL MEET WALL, WALL MEET BALL. SHAZIER FORCED FUMBLE AGAINST WISCONSIN ON 4TH AND 1. 
3. KENNY GUITON TWO-POINT CONVERSION PASS VS. PURDUE
4. RYAN SHAZIER INTERCEPTION RETURN VS. PENN STATE
5. OSU RUNNING 'POWER' TO ICE AN UNDEFEATED SEASON
6. BRAXTON MILLER'S TOUCHDOWN RUN AGAINST PENN STATE
7. BRAXTON MILLER'S TOUCHDOWN THROW TO DEVIN SMITH VS. MICHIGAN STATE
8. BRAXTON MILLER'S TOUCHDOWN RUN VS. CAL BRAXTON MILLER'S WINNING TOUCHDOWN THROW TO DEVIN SMITH VS. CAL
9. ZACH BOREN SACK AGAINST MICHIGAN

10. DEVIN SMITH'S ONE-HANDED TOUCHDOWN CATCH
11. JOHN SIMON'S SACK VS. NEBRASKA

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.

 

pcon258's picture

its funny how the national play of the year is only the 11th best play of the season. I could watch all 11 of these on loop all day

partisan's picture

Thing that stands out to me is the breakaway speed Braxton has in those Cal/Nebraska TD runs.  Is it just me or did he lose a step late in the season due to being banged up?

luckynewman13's picture

I agree...something wasn't right with him the last few games. Lots of cramping issues.

Ross Fulton's picture

There is no doubt that he did not run with the same aggressiveness and acceleration the rest of the season. I pointed out that Urban got on him about it in the second half of the Michigan game. 

JakeBuckeye's picture

I get that this list considers sentimental value and overall meaning towards the season, but if this is simply "The Top 11 Plays of the 2012 Football Season", Devin Smith's one hander is firmly at number one, and Braxton's one yard touchdown run against Penn State is at number two.

Ross Fulton's picture

Agreed but as you said I wanted to take those other factors into account. I've never been a fan of top play lists without context. 

TBDBITLinWIScantSON's picture

All good options, to be sure. I would consider the TD bomb to Smith against Sparty. was huge.

WB

Ross Fulton's picture

Was also disappointed I couldn't find a way to fit that in.  

Brutus's picture

In my mind, the two pt conversion was easily the biggest play of the year.  Extremely well designed and perfectly executed, not to mention ridiculously clutch play by the back up QB.  Without that play, there is no 12-0 and this is just another 11-1 year with a satisfying win against scUM.
Merry Christmas all (or whatever your thing is).

MediBuck's picture

I loved the Zach Boren sack, if only it gave us this image of pure badassery to live by for eternity: http://www.zimbio.com/Zach+Boren

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

Hoody Wayes's picture

1. DEVIN SMITH'S ONE-HANDED TOUCHDOWN CATCH.
This play was more than a highlight. This play was a message.
It read: The 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes = Unforgettable.

RedStorm45's picture

Roby's pick six? Brown return against Nebraska?  Smith's 40 yard td run against Nebraska? Miller to smith, against cal or Msu? Even the 4th quarter td/drive against Purdue was pretty clutch.  Millers insane run against Nebraska/any opponent before Purdue?  All honorable mention I guess.

mobuckeyenut's picture

We had lots of great plays thru out the year but the win over Bitchigan was the SWEETEST of them all  Go BUCKS

rvm102246

TatumRuled's picture

Zach's sack: I love that the offensive linemen were totally clueless with what was occuring behind them.

"Hell, Woody didn't recruit me; he recruited my mother!" -Jack Tatum