Originally posted on College Spun  |  Last updated 5/10/13
This past Sunday, Ohio State conferred degrees to one of its largest classes ever. With Commencement in the rear view mirror and the class of 2013 officially designated alumni, I thought I would take a look back at the notable OSU sports moments that have occurred during my time at the university. Needless to say, our class experienced four of the best years in Ohio State Athletics history.  2009-2010: Football Overtime Thriller vs. Iowa: Significance: The winner of the game would be crowned Big Ten champion and clinch a spot in the Rose Bowl. OSU had not played in Pasadena since 1997. Highlight: On what was a beautiful and unseasonably warm afternoon in late November, the game did not disappoint. Night games are rare at Ohio Stadium, so as day turned to night shortly after halftime, the fervor in the stadium increased drastically as fans settled in for the rest of what would become a classic game. The Bucks took a 14-point lead with just over 11 minutes left, only for the Hawkeyes to storm back and tie it up to force overtime. At the end of regulation, the stadium was silent and somber after everyone had just witnessed Iowa erase a double-digit deficit with relative ease. But once Ohio State won the coin toss, pandemonium ensued, and it was just the spark that the Bucks needed to turn momentum back on their side. Soccer player-turned-place kicker Devin Barclay knocked home the winning field goal and all was well in Columbus, as fans stormed the field out of equal parts joy and relief. Rose Bowl Upset of Oregon Significance: Oregon’s highly touted, spread option offense was predicted to run all over the Buckeyes, whose own offense lacked a balance attack. Highlight: The Buckeye defense, stout all season long through struggles on the other side of the ball, was up to the task and held the Ducks to 17 points on a beautiful night in the Arroyo Seco. Terrelle Pryor had another game worthy of his top recruiting status coming out of high school, and provided hope for bigger things going into his junior year. This game meant more than just Ohio State’s first Rose Bowl victory in thirteen years, it showed that Jim Tressel could once again beat big teams in big games, and provided a bright spot in what was otherwise a lackluster Big Ten bowl season effort. The Evan Turner Shot Significance: Prevented an early exit in the Big Ten Tournament against rival Michigan. Flickr/EllisMcKay Highlight: Ask any Ohio State basketball fan about “The Evan Turner shot” and they will know exactly what you are talking about. With Michigan up two and 2.2 seconds on the clock, Ohio State inbounded the ball to Evan Turner, who dribbled up court with minimal difficulty and spotted up from 37 feet to win the game as time expired. I remember watching this game in my dorm and hearing the chorus of cheers echo down the hall as the shot went in. This was easily one of the most notable highlights of the past four years. 2010-2011: Sugar Bowl Victory* Over Arkansas Significance: At the time, this was a huge victory over a quality SEC team, though the win would not stand. Highlight: Before the game, it was announced that several OSU players would be suspended the next season for NCAA violations. The decision to allow the players to participate in the bowl game was incredibly controversial, especially given that most of the players in question were some of the team’s best. The Buckeyes jumped out to a 21-point lead and held on to win by five, but the win was later vacated as punishment for the violations. When the game ended though, it appeared all was well in Buckeye Nation. The team had just wrapped up its second straight BCS bowl victory, Terrelle Pryor appeared apologetic – though not exactly eloquent – and spirits were the highest they would be for quite some time. Ultimately, the entire season would be vacated, Jim Tressel would step down as head coach, and the school would receive a one-year postseason ban for 2012, setting the tone for the next two football seasons in Columbus. Men’s Volleyball National Championship Significance: This marked the first national title in program history, and Ohio State also became the first school from the midwest to win the tournament Highlight: In previous seasons, the OSU men’s volleyball team would emerge as the dominant team through its conference schedule, only to run into a wall at the NCAA Tournament. That changed in 2011, as the Bucks beat tournament host Penn State in the semifinals and won a thrilling five game match against UC Santa Barbara in the championship. Steven Kehoe finished off a stellar college career as tournament Most Outstanding Player. 2011-2012: Braxton’s Hail Mary Flickr/MGoBlog Significance: During the only night game of the year at Ohio Stadium, Braxton Miller helped breath temporary life into a season that was on a respirator from the start. Highlight: With victory looking doubtful, Braxton Miller heaved a desperation 40-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith with just seconds left on the clock. I still remember this moment like it was yesterday. The absolute frenzy in the stands after the pass was a combination of happiness, surprise and all out shock. No one expected a true freshman quarterback – who is not exactly known for his throwing ability – to successfully execute a last second drive with a 40 yard pass. Though Ohio State would go on to win only one more game the rest of the year, the Miller-to-Smith pass proved that not all was lost in the 2011 football season. Final Four For Men’s Basketball Significance: This was the first trip to the national semifinals for the men’s basketball team since Greg Oden and crew made it to the championship game in 2007. Highlight: 2012 witnessed the most successful season for men’s basketball in this time period. The highlight for me was the overall team play of this group and how every player really found their role and filled it well. Aaron Craft cemented himself as the starting point guard and emotional leader, Jared Sullinger continued his dominance in the paint, and Deshaun Thomas emerged as a major threat. The Bucks also won the Big Ten regular season title. Ultimately, they fell short of a title game duel with Kentucky by losing to Kansas in the Final Four. 2012-2013: Kenny G Saves the Day Significance: Purdue proved to be one of the most serious threats to what would ultimately turn into an undefeated football season for Ohio State. Highlight: The Boilermakers gave the Buckeyes trouble all game, and it looked like the perfect season would come to an end when quarterback Braxton Miller went down with an injury. Miller laid on the Ohio Stadium turf for what seemed like an eternity, 105,000 scarlet-clad onlookers holding their breath in hopes that their young star was not seriously hurt. Miller would return for the next game, but the comeback effort against Purdue was put in the capable hands of back-up Kenny Guiton. With less than a minute to go and an eight point deficit to overcome, Miller’s understudy drove the team down the field with poise and confidence. A pass to Chris Fields trimmed the lead to two, and a successful two-point conversion attempt sent the game into overtime. Ohio State would go on to win on a Carlos Hyde touchdown run, preserving perfection, and prompting this fantastic celebratory outburst from Urban Meyer: Double Buzzer-Beaters Significance: In an NCAA Tournament full of upsets and last second heroics, the Bucks contributed their own drama in two consecutive games. Highlight: OSU handled Iona in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but getting past Iowa State and Arizona required more dramatic performances. Aaron Craft took charge against the Cyclones, waving off Deshaun Thomas to drain a three pointer with 0.2 seconds left. It was LaQuinton Ross’ turn against the Wildcats, a surprising subject for late game heroics. Ross knocked down a three with two seconds remaining to break a 70-70 tie and send OSU to the Elite Eight. The most notable thing about these two shots is the players who took them. Thomas was clearly Ohio State’s best player and primary offensive weapon all season. It was up to guys like Craft and Ross to step up and contribute more offensively if the team was going to make any kind of tournament run. Ultimately, they stepped up in the biggest way possible. All in all, it would be tough to find a better four year period in the history of Ohio State athletics. Though the Woody Hayes era may challenge the football success, I think there is no question that men’s basketball has not won as consistently as they have under Thad Matta. Add in a historic national title for men’s volleyball, and these past four years have combined to produce a laundry list of memorable moments.
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