I was one of the few people who actually thought OSU might win last night against Texas. I didn't say much about it. It's not like I was sure we would win. But, with everyone saying the Bucks had no chance and with the brilliant mind of Jim Tressel on our side, I hoped against hope that we would pull off an upset and regain just a little dignity in the mind of the national football pundits who seem to think the Big 10 is now a laughingstock.
During the game, even though we led for a great portion of it and did a great job of shutting down Texas' offense, I kept getting this bad feeling. Our offense still did not look all that competent with the exception of the running game. The seemingly inevitable mistakes (dropped balls and penalties) kept hurting us, keeping Texas' drives alive and killing ours. The Big 10 simply finishes their season too early leaving our players looking like they're playing their first game of the season in the bowl games instead of their last game of the season.
The normally uber-conservative Tressel did mix it up. The package with Pryor and Boeckmann in was impressive. Pryor caught a touchdown pass and the 2 point conversion that was taken away on the off-setting interference call with Pryor and the defender should have been a no-call. Although, ultimately, that made no difference. Texas got a huge break on the roughing the passer that was not roughing the passer.
When Texas went up 17-6, I thought it was over. I thought about going to bed. But, I got on Facebook and started messing around instead. The way the Buckeyes offense had been completely ineffective at putting the ball in the end zone, at that point, I thought "No way they're going to do it now." But, they proved me wrong, putting up 15 points in the fourth quarter and holding Texas to zero until that final drive. That was some inspired football.
When the Bucks scored with 2 minutes to go, I thought we might win, for about 30 seconds. Then, I looked at the clock and got that feeling again that whatever can go wrong will go wrong in a bowl game. We had come out playing relatively well. We had a great game plan. At least while we might have looked a little nervous, we didn't look flat. Then it happened. Texas had the drive of the night. We came so close to stopping them (within 6" on a 4th and 2 play). But, the curse had more power than Tressel's coaching or the seniors' determination. With 16 seconds left, Texas put the ball in the end zone, crushed the Buckeyes hopes and allowed the pundits to breathe a sight of relief and say "I told you so." Actually, I think of the bowl games and national showcase we've lost recently, this might have been our least talented team and we put up the best fight. Tressel did a wonderful job and the boys played their hearts out. It just wasn't meant to be. Maybe next year.