Two Sugar Bowls. Two versions of "The Game". One game at Camp Randall. Which is your favorite game of the YouTube era?
2006: Ohio State vs. Michigan
The 2006 version of Ohio State against Michigan squaring off on the gridiron featured a bit of everything.
No. 1 vs. No. 2. Two undefeated teams with a Big Ten title on the line. A Heisman candidate in Troy Smith. It makes sense as to why this clash was entitled “The Game of the Century.”
That Team Up North took a 7-0 lead early in the first after running back Michael Hart punched it in from one yard out, but that would be the last time the Wolverines would hold an advantage on the scoreboard.
A combo of Smith and Beanie Wells carried the Buckeyes to 21 unanswered points, and propelled Ohio State to a 28-14 lead into halftime.
TTUN put up a fight in the second half in an attempt to crawl back into the game, but the Scarlet and Gray put the game away late on a Smith to Brian Robiskie connection with 5:38 remaining to put the Bucks up 42-31.
Ohio State went on to win 42-39, claim their first outright Big Ten title since 1984 and Smith solidified himself as the winner of the Heisman Trophy with a 316 yard, four touchdown performance.
But we’ll stop there because who wants to talk about the national championship game against Florida? I don't.
2011 Sugar Bowl: Ohio State vs. Arkansas (Vacated)
Down in New Orleans, the Buckeyes faced Ryan Mallett’s Arkansas Razorbacks in the first ever meeting between the programs. Ohio State entered the matchup just 10 days after “TattooGate” took Buckeye Nation by storm, making this game all the more important.
Led by Terrelle Pryor, the Scarlet and Gray got off to a hot start against the SEC squad, taking a 28-10 lead into the locker room after Arkansas notched a field goal as time expired in the first half. The second frame, however, was a different story.
After Buckeyes’ kicker Devin Barclay and Razorback’s kicker Zach Hocker traded 46-yard field goals to begin the third, Mallett found Jarius Wright in the endzone for six. After a successful two-point conversion, Ohio State’s lead was cut to 31-21 heading into the fourth quarter.
Following an Arkansas safety and another Hocker field goal, the Razorbacks found themselves down just five with 8:55 remaining in the game.
With 1:15 left, the Scarlet and Gray sent the punt team out to hopefully pin Arkansas back deep. The Razorbacks had other plans, though, as they blocked the kick to give themselves great field position at the Ohio State 18 yard line.
With everyone on the edge of their seats, Mallett dropped back on 2nd and 10 and fired a strike that found the hands of Ohio State’s Solomon Thomas, ultimately sealing the victory for the Buckeyes.
Ironically, Thomas was one of the five players suspended due to the tattoo scandal. But who cared at that moment, right?
2012: Ohio State at Wisconsin
Another great game of the YouTube era took place at Camp Randall back in 2012.
In the first season under Urban Meyer, Ohio State entered the clash with the Badgers boasting an undefeated record of 10-0 behind the arm of Braxton Miller. The Huber Heights, Ohio native struggled in this one, throwing for just 97 yards on 10 of 18 passing, but luckily he had Carlos Hyde in the backfield.
After Corey “Philly” Brown returned a punt 68 yards to the house late in the first quarter, Hyde punched in a score for six with over 11 minutes left in the half to give Ohio State a 14-0 lead. However, that would be cut to seven at the half after Wisconsin’s Montee Ball ran in for six later in the quarter to make it 14-7.
A scoreless third quarter set up a wild finish in Madison — and that’s exactly what fans got. With eight seconds remaining in the game, Badgers’ quarterback Curt Phillips found Jacob Pedersen in the end zone to tie the game at 14 to take the game into overtime.
Hyde scored his second touchdown of the game in the extra period, and after holding Wisconsin on defense and turning the ball over on downs, the Buckeyes escaped with a slim 21-14 victory to claim the Big Ten Leaders division title.
Additionally, Ohio State won the following week over TTUN to clinch just the sixth undefeated/untied season in school history.
2015 Sugar Bowl: Ohio State vs. Alabama
The first College Football Playoff. Bama. 12 Gauge. This game had it all, and I loved every second of it.
Ohio State took on the highly touted Crimson Tide in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and much like the 2011 Sugar Bowl, New Orleans was good to the Buckeyes.
After trailing 21-6, the Buckeyes scored 14 unanswered points with the help of Ezekiel Elliot and an Evan Spencer to Michael Thomas connection to cut the Tide’s lead to one into halftime.
Out of the locker room, the scoring continued for the Scarlet and Gray as Cardale Jones found Devin Smith down the sideline for a 47-yard touchdown to give Ohio State it’s first lead of the game.
With 3:21 left in the quarter, Steve Miller picked off Alabama’s Blake Sims and returned it to the house to put the Buckeyes up 34-21. But as I'm sure most of Buckeye Nation felt, this one was nowhere near over.
Sims ran in a score to cut the lead to six heading into the final quarter, and with just 3:24 remaining, Ohio State needed a big play to put this one away — and then, Zeke happened.
Elliot took a handoff from Jones 85 yards through the heart of the south and into the end zone to put Ohio State up 42-28. The Tide would try to spark a comeback, but it came to no avail, as the Buckeyes shocked the world with a win.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
2016: Ohio State vs. Michigan
I've seen many Ohio State football games in my 21 years of living. But being in attendance for the 2016 version of “The Game” will be a memory I will never forget.
The Buckeyes and TTUN entered Ohio Stadium completely in the picture for the College Football Playoff, and the winner would surely secure their spot in the four-team bracket.
After a scoreless first quarter and a Wolverine field goal early in the second, Malik Hooker intercepted Wilton Speight’s pass and returned it 16 yards to the end zone to create mayhem throughout Buckeye Nation as Ohio State led 7-3.
However, the offense struggled for most of the game from that point, as TTUN scored 14-unanswered points to lead 17-7 with 6:37 left in the third quarter.
A Mike Weber one-yard touchdown run later, the lead was cut to three heading into the final quarter. I had a headache from yelling and lost my voice by this point in the north end of the stadium, but I knew I had to give everything I had with 15 minutes left.
Both Ohio State and TTUN put on a defensive clinic in the final quarter as the clock ticked down to under a minute left.
The Buckeyes drove down the field and set up Tyler Durbin for a 23-yard field goal with just a second remaining. “It’s up, and it’s good. We are headed to overtime in the Shoe, ladies and gentlemen.”
The rivals traded touchdowns in the first extra period, and TTUN managed to put up a field goal in the second overtime.
Ohio State held possession, needing just a touchdown to earn another pair of gold pants. On a fourth-and-short, J.T. Barrett carried the ball for a vital first down that was inches from being a win for the Wolverines.
Yes, the ball was across the first down marker, Jim. Please control yourself on the sideline.
After a review of the spot that took 20 years off my life, the Buckeyes wasted no more time putting this game to bed.
Barrett handed the ball off to Curtis Samuel, who scampered 15 yards before iconically leaping into the end zone to once again create chaos in the Shoe.
The Buckeyes had won, fans rushed the field and Jim Harbaugh was sad. All was right with the world.
We will stop there because no one would like to discuss the Fiesta Bowl, and that’s fine with me.
Here’s to more memories made in the near and distant future for Ohio State football, and hopefully, plenty more YouTube highlights for Buckeye Nation to watch whenever needed.
P.S. Yes, I'm aware there are games such as the 2014 national championship and the 2014 Big Ten Championship that could be on this list. I think these five are better.