The Item: A 2010 Rose Bowl Program
Transport yourself back to Jan. 1, 2010. Your Buckeyes were slated to play Oregon in the Rose Bowl (Jim Tressel’s first) and you were kind of freaked out.
Let’s be honest: things hadn’t been going so well for Ohio State in BCS games as of late (or in big games at all for that matter, with the large exception of THE game).
Tempered doubt was at an all-time high in Columbus. That’s what back-to-back national championship losses, a loss to USC, a loss to #3 Penn State, a BCS loss to Texas and another loss to USC will do to you.
Added to that laundry list of heartbreak was the fact that Chip Kelly’s Ducks were the kind of team proven to give the Silver Bullets problems. Teams that could spread the field and work the edges while keeping the defense honest with a scrambling QB were Jim Tressel’s 2007-09 kryptonite.
Again, you would never admit it to your non-Buckeye friends, but you were worried. I mean just listen to the pregame pundit chatter.
So, imagine my surprise when I found a mint condition 2010 Rose Bowl program. I had assumed these things met one of two fates: crumpled by anxious Buckeye fans or recycled and fashioned into sandals by environmentally conscious Oregonians.
The Scarlet and Gray faithful lucky enough to purchase one of these at the stadium didn't know it at the time, but they were about to witness an afternoon of greatness.
So without further adieu, let’s take a look at how that “1968 offense” fared against the Oregon Ducks.
The Clips: A Fight For the Pride of the Program in Pasadena
To start the game, it was clear Tressel was ready to execute a game plan unexpected by Kelly. Sophomore QB Terrelle Pryor was known for his ability to churn out yards with his legs, but his arm left something to be desired throughout the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
So imagine Kelly’s surprise when 80% of the plays drawn up for the Buckeyes’ opening drive were pass attempts. The change of tempo (and style) allowed the Scarlet and Gray offense to march 74 yards in just 10 plays, capped off by a Brandon Saine 13-yard TD catch.
Your move, Kelly.
The vaunted Oregon offense took the field next, but in just six plays they were forced to give the ball back to the Buckeyes. A sack by Cameron Heyward on the third snap of the game for the Ducks set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.
Both teams traded possessions before a Devin Barclay 19-yard FG made it 10-0 Buckeyes to end the first quarter.
The Ducks opened up the second with a FG of their own and forced a three and out. Then, in just eight plays Oregon was able to march 70 yards for a TD to knot it at 10.
On the Buckeyes' next possession they were able to answer with three. Possibly more important: the score was the culmination of a plodding 8-minute drive that kept the explosive Ducks offense off of the field.
With only a minute left to work with before the half, Oregon began to march but was shut down after a Ross Homan INT and resulting 20-yard return.
The turnover put the Buckeyes within striking distance, and with two seconds left on the clock, Aaron Pettrey connected on a 45-yard FG to make it 16-10 at half.
On the Ducks’ first possession of the third quarter they used a great kickoff return by Kenjon Barner to jump-start a drive that ended in a TD. The score resulted in Oregon's first lead of the game.
All of a sudden those Buckeye BCS fears started to creep back into Columbus’ collective consciousness. However, the lead wouldn’t last long, as the Scarlet and Gray tallied yet another FG to make it 19-17 to end scoring in the third.
Heading into the fourth, it was nail-chomping time.
On Oregon’s first possession, the Buckeye D held yet again, giving the ball back to Pryor and the offense with roughly 13 minutes left in the game.
The unit picked up two first downs but then stalled around mid-field. With less than a FG separating the two teams, the Buckeyes were left with one option: convert a third and 13 or risk giving the ball back to Oregon’s speedy playmakers.
Enter Jake Ballard.
The conversion gave the Buckeyes a much-needed shot of momentum and five plays later, DeVier Posey was celebrating in the end zone.
Game. Blouses. Buckeyes.
The win was only three years ago, but it seems like a lot longer, doesn't it? Hard to believe it was (technically) the Scarlet and Gray's most recent bowl victory. Thanks for stumbling in – we should do this again sometime.