PASADENA — Ohio State started off hot and held off a late charge from Washington to win the 105thRose Bowl Game 28-23.
“What an up-and-down year,” said OSU coach Urban Meyer, who started the season under suspension. “But a year that when we needed them the most, (the players) gave us their very best. Never more indicative than the game in Columbus, Ohio, against our rival, and then we went to Indianapolis and played a very good team, and then to come out here to the Rose Bowl.
“They gave us their very best. Big Ten Division champs, Big Ten champs, Rose Bowl champs, and one of the great teams in Ohio State history.”
Dwayne Haskins threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns, Parris Campbell had 11 catches for 71 yards and a score and Mike Weber ran for 96 yards as Ohio State got out to a 28-3 lead midway through the third quarter.
“Mike ran the ball really efficiently and got a lot of first downs with him,” Haskins said. “Opened up the passing game for us, giving us some wide-open lanes and, as far as impacting the zone coverage, we did a great job picking up some blitzes today, and we had to be efficient.”
Washington made the game interesting with star running back Myles Gaskin, off a direct snap, throwing a jump pass to Drew Sample for a score and then scoring on runs of 1 and 2 yards as part of a 121-yard effort.
“More than anything, just an attitude adjustment,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said of his team’s second half turnaround. “That breeds excitement when you make a few plays and kind of feed off each other.”
The final score came with 42 seconds left and Washington’s two-point pass was intercepted by Jake Browning.
Washington’s onside kick attempt was covered by Ohio State’s Johnnie Dixon (who also had a first-half touchdown). That secured the Rose Bowl win for the Buckeyes in Meyer’s final game.
“I have no idea, to be honest with you,” Meyer said about what he would do when he woke up on Jan. 2 no longer the coach of the Ohio State football team. “I’ve been thinking about that a little bit and trying not to think about it because it gets in the way of these two players and the team.
“But I have the best athletic director that you can be around. I have a school that I love dearly. I feel very welcome in Buckeye Nation and here and I’m an Ohioan. So my job as we move forward is to make (new head) Coach (Ryan) Day, who is an elite coach, make this program even stronger, and that’s all our focus. That’s their focus, my focus, Gene Smith’s focus. It’s a very strong program, but we’re going to make it stronger.”
Meyer completes his seven-year run at Ohio State with an 86-9 record, having won a national title and gone 7-0 against arch-rival Michigan.