Ohio State TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl Game Notes
Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Dec. 22, 2011
Ohio State (6-6) vs. Florida (6-6)
Monday, Jan. 2, 2012
1 p.m. ET
EverBank Field (77,000) - Jacksonville, Fla.
Television: ESPN2 will televise the game with Mike Patrick (play-by-play) and Ed Cunningham (analyst) in the booth and Jeannine Edwards on the sidelines.
Radio: WBNS (FM 97.1 The Fan) is the flagship station for the 73-station Ohio State radio network. The Luke Fickell pregame show airs 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Paul Keels will call the play-by-play with former Buckeye Jim Lachey in the booth and Marty Bannister on the sidelines. The game can also be heard on SiriusXM satellite radio channel 91.
First and 10
Buckeyes In Bowls
Ohio State has a 19-22 record in bowl games, dating back to the 1921 Rose Bowl, where the Buckeyes were defeated 28-0 by California. The Buckeyes have appeared in 11 different bowl games during their storied history.
The Buckeyes are 5-3 in eight BCS game appearances. Ohio State holds a 15-19 record in bowl games played on New Year's Day or later.
Buckeyes In This Bowl
The ending of the last Gator Bowl the Buckeyes played in is well documented. Regarding that episode, coach Luke Fickell said during a Gator Bowl interview session that "We'd like to put a completely different spin on Ohio State's Gator Bowl history" [this year].
Miller, who became Ohio State's starting quarterback in the fourth game of the season, threw for 997 yards this season with 11 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He completed 50 percent of his attempts (67 of 134), and he capped his season with a 14-for-25 effort for 235 yards with two touchdowns - all season highs - in the regular season finale against Michigan.
Dangerous as a runner, Miller led the Buckeyes with 695 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry. Included was a school-record (by a quarterback) 81-yard touchdown run vs. Indiana.
Miller rushed for more than 100 yards a team-best three times with 105 yards against Indiana and Penn State, respectively, and 100 vs. Michigan. He accounted for 13 rushing and passing touchdowns in the last five games of the season, including all seven of his rushing scores and six of his 11 passing touchdowns.
Miller was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week twice. The first time was after the dramatic win over Wisconsin when he completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith with 40 seconds to play and rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns.
More on Miller:
Ohio State's Big Ten Freshmen of the Year:
1990 - Robert Smith, RB
1992 - Kory Stringer, OT
1994 - Orlando Pace, OT
1996 - Andy Katzenmoyer, LB
2002 - Maurice Clarett, RB
2008 - Terrelle Pryor, QB
2011 - Braxton Miller, QB
Simon, a first-team all-Big Ten Conference selection by the conference head coaches, leads the Buckeyes with seven quarterback sacks and 15 tackles for loss (for minus-58 yards), figures that rank tied for second and sixth, respectively, in the Big Ten.
The Youngstown, Ohio, native (Cardinal Mooney) and 2010 honorable mention all-Big Ten selection recorded 50 tackles this season for the Buckeyes to rank sixth on the team. He also broke up three passes while starting all 12 contests. He was named Big Ten player of the week after a nine-tackle (and four TFL) game against Illinois.
Simon, who was a semifinalist this year for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, enters the 2012 TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl with 27 career TFLs and 11.5 career sacks.
Simon Headlines All-Big Ten Buckeyes
John Simon was named to the 2011 All-Big Ten First Team by the coaches.
Senior center Michael Brewster, senior linebacker Andrew Sweat and junior safety C.J. Barnett earned second team All-Big Ten honors by the coaches while Simon and senior offensive tackle Mike Adams garnered second team laurels from the media.
In addition, Johnathan Hankins, Dan Herron, Jack Mewhort and Jake Stoneburner earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors from the coaches while Barnett, Brewster, Hankins, Mewhort, Tyler Moeller, Andrew Norwell, Stoneburner and Sweat were named honorable mention All-Big Ten by the media.
Buckeye Award Winners
Shazier Named Big Ten Freshman of the Week - Nov. 21
In his first career start, true freshman linebacker Ryan Shazier earned himself Big Ten freshman of the week honors with his 15-tackle performance against Penn State. Filling in for the injured Andrew Sweat, Shazier recorded seven solo tackles and had a large role in Ohio State's goal line stand in the third quarter.
Miller Hits 100 Again
Braxton Miller topped 100 yards rushing for the third time in four games vs. Michigan, rushing for 100 yards on 16 carries and one TD while also adding a career-high 235 yards through the air. Against Penn State the week prior, he tied his personal best with 105 yards off 18 carries. He leads the Buckeye rushers with 695 yards on the season.
Boom Climbs into Top 10 in Rushing
Dan "Boom" Herron had his streak of 100-yard rushing games this season end at three at Purdue. In his six games this season, Herron averaged 98.8 yards per game (4.9 ypc). Herron moved into Ohio State's all-time Top 10 rushers with 2,787 yards. He needs 159 to pass Antonio Pittman (2,945 yards) for ninth.
Active Career Leaders - Interceptions
Shugarts Start Streak Snapped
J.B. Shugarts had started 24 consecutive games at right tackle before missing the Purdue game with a leg issue. Antonio Underwood started in Shugarts' place and Corey Linsley also spent considerable time at the position. Ohio State had started the same offensive line crew of LT Mike Adams, LG Andrew Norwell, C Mike Brewster, RG Jack Mewhort and LG Shugarts four consecutive games - since Adams' return - and had averaged 267.0 rushing yards per game in that stretch.
Seven Frosh Have Now Started
Ohio State had seven different freshmen start a game this season. RS frosh Bradley Roby led all with 12 starts at CB. He is followed by QB Braxton Miller (9), WR Verlon Reed (five before season-ending knee surgery), DE J.T. Moore (three), Ryan Shazier (2), T.Y. Williams and Antonio Underwood.
A Mountain of Youth
All those freshmen starters only begin to tell the story of the number of young Buckeyes seeing playing time in 2011. Fourteen true freshmen have played in at least one game (10th-most nationally) and seven red-shirt freshmen have played for a mountain of youth totaling 21 freshmen (19th nationally) who have played this season.
True Frosh on the Field:
Michael Bennett, Brian Bobek, Jeremy Cash, Curtis Grant, Doran Grant, Joel Hale, Jeff Heuerman, Braxton Miller, Steve Miller, Ryan Shazier, Devin Smith, Evan Spencer, DerJuan Gambrell and Antonio Underwood.
15-Year Best 346-Yards Rushing
Dan Herron (141), Braxton Miller (105) and Carlos Hyde (105) each ran for 100 yards against Indiana and the end result was a 15-year best 346-yard rushing game by the Buckeyes. The last time an Ohio State team rushed for more was Nov. 9, 1996 at Illinois when Pepe Pearson, no doubt running behind Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award winner Orlando Pace all day, led a 348-yard team effort with 165 rushing yards.
Miller Big Ten Freshman of the Week Oct. 31
A huge game vs. Wisconsin - three TDs accounted for including a game-winning TD pass with 20 seconds to play - earned Braxton Miller the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week honor Oct. 31. Ohio State defeated No. 15 Wisconsin, 33-29. Miller scored the first two touchdowns of his career before capping the game with his most important TD pass to date. He coasted in from the 1 yard line in the third quarter for his first collegiate score to give Ohio State a 10-7 lead. Then he burst off the left edge for a 44-yard sprint in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 26-14. And then after Wisconsin scored two touchdowns inside of the final four minutes to take a 29-26 lead, Miller threw his sixth touchdown pass of the season, a 40-yarder to fellow freshman Devin Smith with 20 seconds to play to give Ohio State the come-from-behind victory. For the game, Miller rushed for a career high 99 yards and passed for 89 on 7 for 12 passing for a career high total offense day of 188 yards.
Simon Named Big Ten Defensive POW Oct. 17
John Simon's aggressive, relentless pursuit of all things Blue and Orange Oct. 15 in Champaign, Ill., earned the junior defensive tackle from Youngstown, Ohio, with the Defensive Player of the Week Award from the Big Ten Conference. The Big Ten award, the first by a Buckeye this season, was one of numerous awards for Simon last week. On a national scale, Simon was named the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week and the College Football Performance Award's National Defensive Lineman of the Week. Simon spearheaded an Ohio State defense with a career-high eight tackles, including a career-high four tackles-for-loss, in the team's 17-7 road win over 16th-ranked and previously unbeaten Illinois. Simon's TFLs included two quarterback sacks and totaled 16 yards in losses.
Stoneburner Second in Career TDs
Jake Stoneburner is tied for second place among Ohio State tight ends with nine career touchdown receptions. The junior caught his fifth touchdown this season - a 32-yard screen pass from Braxton Miller with blocking assistance from Mike Brewster and Mike Adams - in the first quarter against Nebraska and his sixth with a 17-yarder from Miller at Illinois. His seventh was a 7-yarder from Miller vs. Penn State.
Tight End Touchdowns
10 - John Lumpkin (1996-98)
9 - Jake Stoneburner (2009-present)
9 - John Frank (1980-83)
9 - Rickey Dudley (1994-95)
9 - Charles Bryant (1959-61)
9 - Darnell Sanders (1999-01)
8 - Jan White (1968-70)
8 - Robert Grimes (1950-52)
Brewster Reaches 48 Straight
All-American center Mike Brewster has started 48 consecutive games. The senior from Orlando, Fla. made his first start in Game 4 of the 2008 season vs. Troy and started the final 10 games of the season. He started all 13 games in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Red Zone Efficiency
Officially, Ohio State has scored 32 of 36 times (88.9 percent) this season inside the 20 with 23 touchdowns and nine field goals. The only four times the Buckeyes have failed to score came on a fumble and on three end-of-game possessions against Akron, Colorado and Indiana while running out the clock. So if you take out those three instances, Ohio State is really 32 of 33 (97.0 percent).
Since Rod Smith's fumble in the first quarter against Akron, Ohio State has scored on 30 consecutive red zone possessions if you don't count the three possessions in which the Buckeyes took a knee to run out the clock.
Buchanan a Wuerffel Award Finalist
Junior punter Ben Buchanan, a strategic communications major from Westerville, Ohio, was a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy, which is presented by the All Sports Association of Fort Walton Beach, Fla. The award is presented to the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.
Simon a Lott IMPACT Trophy Semifinalist
John Simon was among eight semifinalists for the annual Lott IMPACT Trophy, which was announced by the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation.
The Silver Bullet Defense
The Buckeyes have a long-standing tradition of producing the best defenses in the Big Ten and the nation year in, year out. Here are some bullets that put into perspective the Silver Bullets dominance:
|Year||PPG Allowed||FBS Rank|
Fewest 100-yd rushers allowed (FBS Teams Since 2007)
Coach Luke Fickell
Not Since 1922-24
Ohio State ranks second among all NCAA Div. I programs with 85 consecutive seasons since last posting back-to-back losing records. The Buckeyes have not been under .500 for two or more consecutive seasons since 1922-24, which trails only Tennessee; the Vols have not had back-to-back losing seasons since 1909-11, a span of 98 consecutive seasons.
2011 Game Captains
Akron: Mike Brewster, John Simon, J.B. Shugarts
Toledo: Joe Bauserman, Nate Ebner, Andrew Sweat
Miami: Brewster and Tyler Moeller
Colorado: Zach Boren, Simon
Michigan State: Ebner, Jordan Hall, Nate Oliver
Nebraska: Brewster, Sweat, Moeller
Illinois: Brewster, Sweat, Stoneburner
Wisconsin: Brewster, Sweat, Simon, Dan Herron
Indiana: Mike Adams, Sweat, Moeller, Boren
Purdue: Brewster, Herron, Moeller, Simon
Penn State: Brewster, Herron, Moeller, Sweat
Michigan: Brewster, Herron, Sweat, Moeller
Nine Buckeyes Have Degrees
Nine members of the football team have their degrees from The Ohio State University:
Joe Bauserman - fisheries and wildlife
Evan Blankenship - communication
Mike Brewster - strategic communications
Dan Herron - African-American studies
Tony Jackson - marketing
Don Matheney - computer science
Tyler Moeller - consumer affairs
Chris Roark - marketing
Donnie Evege - communications
Dan Bain - English
Urban Meyer Named Head Coach
Sometime during the morning of November 28, 2011, Ohio native Urban Meyer returned home. It was at that time when the 47-year-old Meyer, born in Toledo, raised in Ashtabula and with degrees from the University of Cincinnati and The Ohio State University, signed a six-year agreement to become the 24th head coach in the storied history of Ohio State football.
The only candidate interviewed by a five-member search committee of senior Ohio State leaders, headed by President E. Gordon Gee and Director of Athletics Gene Smith, Meyer returns to collegiate coaching after sitting out the past year to devote time to his family - wife Shelley, college-age daughters Nicole and Gisele and 13-year-old son Nathan - and to work as an analyst for ESPN.
It's easy to see why he was the No. 1 choice of the search committee. Through 10 full seasons as a head coach, Meyer has the tenth-best winning percentage in major college football history with a winning rate of .814 (104-23). He will leap all the way to No. 2 among current major college coaches with that percentage, trailing only the percentage owned by Boise State's Chris Peterson.
Building His Staff
Meyer is still assembling his coaching staff, which as of press time included four coaches from the 2011 coaching staff - Luke Fickell, Mike Vrabel and Taver Johnson from the defensive side of the ball and Stan Drayton from the offense. Meyer has also hired Tom Herman (Iowa State) as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, Everett Withers (North Carolina) as co-defensive coordinator/assistant head coach, and Zach Smith (Temple) as wide receivers coach.
Scarlet & Gray Super Sunday