And like that... poof... he's gone.
Urban Meyer capped a magnificent seven-year run at Ohio State with a Rose Bowl victory as the Buckeyes jumped out to a big lead and held on for a 28-23 win over Washington in Pasadena.
It looked like it might be a cakewalk as Ohio State built a 28-3 lead behind three touchdown passes from Dwayne Haskins but complacency crept in allowing Washington to record three fourth quarter touchdowns.
Even though things got lax late, Ohio State still completed a 13-1 season, sending Meyer out a winner and setting the stage for Ryan Day to take over.
Meyer's retirement is the one certainty amid a host of unanswered questions including which draft-eligible players might return and which assistant coaches might depart, paving the way for Day bring in his own guys at a few spots.
Clarity on those uncertainties will come into focus over the next few weeks but for now, here are Five Things from Meyer's final act as Ohio State's head coach.
Parris Campbell capped a solid career and a ridiculous senior season with 11 receptions on 12 targets for 71 yards and a touchdown in his final collegiate game.
The 11 receptions pushed Campbell's season total to 90, shattering David Boston's single-season school record of 85 set back in 1998. Haters will point to the help Campbell had on the pop-pass jet sweeps but the reality is 90 catches in the new benchmark in Ohio State's record books.
And those 71 yards pushed his season total to 1,063, good for the fifth-best single-season in school history while also making him just the fifth Buckeye to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards in a single-season.
|RECEIVER||YEAR||GAMES||REC||REC YARDS||YPC||TD||AVG YDS/G|
Campbell kicked off the scoring in the Rose Bowl with a 12-yard catch giving him 12 on the season, good for the fourth-best single-season in school history.
Parris had his struggles with hanging on to passes early in his career but the dude kept grinding and turned in one hell of a final season on the field while serving as a key leader in the locker room.
ROCK THE MIKE
Mike Weber has been a bit of an enigma over the course of his career in Columbus. Having already announced his intentions to enter the 2019 NFL Draft, Weber took advantage of one last game to show scouts what he could with 96 rushing yards on 15 carries (6.4 per) and another eight yards on one reception out of the backfield.
Weber was key to Ohio State building a big lead in the first half. On the Buckeyes' first scoring possession, Weber cranked out 52 yards on just four carries, all of which went for first downs via chunks of 9, 14, 10 and 19 yards.
On the drive putting Ohio State up 14-3, Weber caught a pass wide at the line of scrimmage and barreled over a defender for eight yards and a first down which was part of 22 total yards contributed on the march.
Later in the half he would add an 11-yard burst featuring a nifty spin and another 8-yard scamper. Overall, his touches created seven first downs in the opening half alone.
On a night when J.K. Dobbins never really got going, it was nice to see Weber sprint through the finish line of his Ohio State career.
BEGINNING OF THE END
Washington head coach Chris Petersen made some curious decisions at the end of the first half that ultimately put the Huskies in a hole they could not escape.
Trailing just 14-3 despite being pretty much dominated, Washington took possession at its own 8-yard line with 1:21 left in the second quarter.
Instead of trying to run some clock and make Ohio State burn timeouts knowing his squad would get the ball to start the second half, Petersen got greedy dialing up three consecutive pass plays.
First down resulted in a 5-yard completion which okay, fine. Second down nearly resulted in an interception by Shaun Wade before third down saw quarterback Jake Browning miss badly on a slant intended for Aaron Fuller. With the two incompletions stopping the clock each time and setting up fourth down, Ohio State got the ball back at its own 43 yard line with 1:00 left and didn't even have to use a timeout.
Petersen's decisions led to Washington using only 21 seconds of game clock and Ohio State took advantage as Haskins hit Ben Victor for 10 yards, Campbell for 19, Luke Farrell for nine and finally Rashod Berry for a 1-yard touchdown giving Ohio State a 21-3 lead with 14 seconds left in the half.
In a game that turned out to be just a five-point win for Ohio State, Petersen's choices at the end of the first half proved to be all kinds of terrible.
OKUDAH, WHITE SPRINGBOARD TO 2019
We'll see which draft-eligible guys in Ohio State's secondary – Jordan Fuller, Damon Arnette and Kendall Sheffield – opt to return to Columbus for another season but no matter what happens, safety Brendon White and cornerback Jeffrey Okudah are primed to take on increased responsibility in 2019 following strong Rose Bowl efforts.
Okudah racked up five tackles and two critical pass breakups giving him a team-leading eight on the season. With Ohio State leading 14-3, Okudah provided tight coverage on a first down incompletion and recorded one of his PBUs on a 3rd-and-5 effort from Browning.
Later with Ohio State leading 28-3 and Washington trying to convert a 4th-and-4 from the OSU 22, Okudah again got his hand on a pass forcing a turnover on downs late in the third quarter.
White earned Rose Bowl Defensive MVP honors with eight stops, two TFL and a pass breakup of his own in a stellar performance.
Key plays from White included a heady knock of the ball out of a receiver's hands on 3rd-and-6 with Ohio State leading 28-10 leading to a turnover on downs and later a tackle for loss as he made a pre-snap read, blowing up a throwback screen to force a punt as Ohio State nursed a 28-17 edge. He also intercepted Browning's 2-point conversion try keeping OSU in front 28-23 with less than a minute left in regulation.
No matter what Fuller decides, White is a sure starter at safety next year as he enters his junior season. Similarly, Okudah will be a key fixture in Ohio State's 2019 secondary and both appear ready to take the next step which is great news for a defense that endured its fair share of struggles this season.
Urban Frank Meyer is a damn boss.
He's not perfect. He's said as much. At this point, everyone has their mind made up about him no matter which side of the fence they land on so I'll just say this:
Ohio State's football program is the healthiest it has ever been thanks to Meyer and despite any mistakes he's made, he's created a blueprint for ensuring his players have the tools and resources to enjoy productive careers whether it be on the football field or off it.
On the field, Meyer won 83 of 92 games during his time in Columbus including a perfect 7-0 record versus Michigan, one national title, three B1G titles, and wins in the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta and Cotton Bowls.
He was a beast as an underdog, he took Ohio State's recruiting to an unprecedented level, and he set the program up for a smooth transition to the Ryan Day era.
He has skeletons like any other person and certainly just like 99% of his detractors. At the end of the day, it's a safe bet he's done more to positively influence the lives of young people than the overwhelming majority of those same detractors.
For my money, Urban Meyer is the best coach I've ever been around and I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to cover the program's successes and failures during his tenure in Columbus.