Perfection: ‘rebuilding’ Buckeyes cap unbeaten year with win over Wolverines

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There’ll be plenty of time to lament what might’ve been, what could’ve been for the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes were it not for the shortsighted arrogance of school officials in 2011.

For now, it’s all about what is.  And what it is was the perfect end to a perfect, albeit bowl-less, season in Columbus, neatly wrapped in a bow that only a victory over That School Up North could provide.

On a day when Jim Tressel, the accidental architect of a 2012 postseason ban that will cost his beloved Buckeyes a shot at a BcS title, and his 2002 title team were honored, The Ohio State University paid tribute to the former coach, kicking four field goals en route to a sloppy-at-times 26-21 win over hated rival Michigan.

A first half that took on the look of the classic 2006 edition of The Game, with the Wolverines taking a 21-20 lead into the locker room, gave way to a defensive struggle over the last two quarters as the two teams combined for just six points, all off the right foot of OSU kicker Drew Basil.  The Wolverines turned the ball over four times on the day, including a fumble and interception on its last two possessions of the game that healed seal UM’s fate, while the Buckeyes were flagged for nine penalties.

It was a sloppy, uneven affair throughout, but in the end it was about an OSU defense not giving a damn for whether Devin Gardner or Denard Robinson was under center, or how suspect UM’s playcalling was at times, or even the whole state of Michigan.

It was about capping a perfect 12-0 season in Urban Meyer‘s first year at OSU, the sixth unbeaten, untied season for the school and the third for Meyer — at three different schools.  It was about further cementing their first-ever Leaders division title.  And, most of all, it was about sending the seniors out the only way that matters in the great state of Ohio, with a win over That School Up North.

Yes, as one of the only two remaining unbeatens left standing, these 2012 Buckeyes should be glued to their television sets tonight getting an early scouting report on its potential opponent in the BcS title game.  Thanks to Tressel’s lies and coverup, and a misguided decision on the part of school officials, that won’t be happening.

Still, in what was a “rebuilding” year for the Buckeyes, the program can hang its hat on an undefeated season capped by both a division title and a win over their hated rivals.  And can head into the offseason armed with the knowledge that only they, not the administration, can keep themselves from going one step further in Year Two of Urban renewal in Columbus.

Ohio State DL Darius Slade to transfer

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In a day packed full of Big Ten moves becoming official, Ohio State has added a roster move of its own.

Urban Meyer revealed at the conference’s media gathering in Chicago on Monday that defensive lineman Darius Slade will not return to the team.

A 3-star recruit out of Montclair, N.J., Slade (42) redshirted in 2014 and missed the ’16 campaign with a lower leg injury. He racked up seven appearances in 2015.

Slade was expected to back up Sam Hubbard at defensive end.

Meyer said that he “thinks” Slade is off to Arizona State. If that’s true, Slade would have two years of eligibility to play as a Sun Devil unless the NCAA approved a waive for him.

Indiana RB Camion Patrick, LB T.J. Simmons medical hardships

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Indiana running back Camion Patrick and linebacker T.J. Simmons will not return to the team this fall after being granted medical hardships, the program announced Monday. Both players would be fifth-year seniors in 2017.

Simmons appeared in 37 games with 35 starts before suffering a season-ending injury that knocked him out of the 2016 campaign entirely. He collected 213 tackles, six sacks, 16.5 TFLs, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery as a Hoosier. Simmons will remain with the program as a student assistant.

“T.J. was a three-year starter and a tough kid that I was looking forward to coaching,” head coach Tom Allen said in a statement. “He did everything that he could to get himself back from his knee injury, but he was unable to reach a place where he could consistently play. T.J. is excited about his new role as a student assistant coach in the weight room and on the field. He will be helping his teammates get better. T.J. has such a passion for the game and this program, and I am thrilled to have him help us breakthrough.”

Patrick arrived from East Mississippi Community College — of Last Chance U. fame — and proceeded to sustain injuries to his ACL and a shoulder. He caught six passes for 154 yards with one receiving touchdown and one rushing score for Indiana.

“Unfortunately, Camion dealt with multiple injuries during his time at IU and was never able to fully recover,” Allen said. “He has worked hard in the classroom. Camion has battled to get back following each injury, but his body has let him down. He recognizes that. We recognize that, and we want to help him finish strong in the classroom and help him create a bright future for himself.”

Penn State K Joey Julius no longer with the team

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Joey Julius was everyone’s favorite kickoff specialist last season. Sadly, he won’t be your favorite kickoff specialist in 2017.

At Big Ten media days on Monday, the Nittany Lions unveiled their 2017 roster and Julius was not on it.

Listed at 5-foot-10, 258 pounds, Julius announced in May he would seek treatment for an eating disorder.

“I have been struggling over the last couple months with my eating disorder,” he announced at the time. “It got to the point where I had to return to St. Louis to seek further treatment at the McCallum place. Recovery is a wonderful and beautiful thing that I am working on returning too.”

Julius handled 93 kickoffs for the 2016 Big Ten champions, averaging 62.1 yards per kick with 45 touchbacks. His kickoff average ranked 47th nationally, and his 48.4 touchback percentage was 40th in FBS. Julius made 10-of-12 field goals and 20-of-24 extra points in 2015 before ceding the job to Tyler Davis last season.

 

Urban Meyer on College Football Playoff loss to Clemson: That ship has sailed, it’s gone

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Ohio State may have won the inaugural College Football Playoff national championship, but its most recent trip to the postseason tournament was not nearly as much fun. The Buckeyes were blanked by eventual national champion Clemson, 31-0. Asked whether or not that plays into the mental approach to the upcoming 2017 season, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer suggested that loss is no longer thought about.

“That ship has sailed. It’s gone,” Meyer said. “Professionally, it changed how we do some business on offense, and we’re moving forward.”

Ohio State has added former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson as offensive coordinator, with Meyer noting that Wilson is the first offensive coordinator to be brought into Meyer’s program as a head coach (all others have been promoted from within). Meyer acknowledged that more of the offensive management has been put in the hands of Wilson, which supports the thought that things have changed with the offense in 2017.

Ohio State is a heavy favorite among media members covering the Big Ten to win the conference this season, and the Buckeyes will likely be viewed as a playoff contender. Regardless, how last season ended has to leave an empty feeling that needs to be fulfilled this fall, whether Meyer wants to use it as fuel or not.

“It’s the back of everyone’s mind,” Meyer said. “Whether I use that in training camp or not is to be determined.”