Random Team Tuesday: 2015 Ohio State

by Mike Ferguson

Photo courtesy of Ohio State athletics

Urban Meyer’s tenure at Ohio State was certainly a prosperous one.

Meyer spent seven years in Columbus, winning at least 10 games every year. In four of his final five seasons, the Buckeyes finished in the AP top 5.

In 2015, Ohio State entered the season as reigning national champions. A late-season loss at home to Michigan State however, would cost it a chance at both the Big Ten title and College Football Playoff.

2015 Ohio State

Record: 12-1 (7-1 Big Ten)

Ranking: No. 4 AP; No. 4 USA TODAY Coaches

Bowl: Defeated Notre Dame in Fiesta Bowl, 44-28

Coach: Urban Meyer (fourth season)

Key Players and Award Winners:

Ezekiel Elliott, RB (Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, first-team All-Big Ten): 289 rushes, 1,821 yards rushing, 23 rushing touchdowns, 27 catches, 206 yards receiving

Talor Decker, T (Consensus All-American, first-team All-Big Ten): 13 starts

Joey Bosa, DE (Consensus All-American, first-team All-Big Ten): 51 total tackles, 16 for loss, five sacks, interception, 28 interception return yards, forced fumble

Remembering the Season

Ranked preseason No. 1, Ohio State raced to a 10-0 start. Over that stretch, the Buckeyes played 7-point contests against Northern Illinois and at Indiana.

The lone loss for the Buckeyes came to Michigan State at home. Ohio State entered the contest riding a 23-game winning streak, but 10 points in the fourth quarter, including the winning field goal lifted Michigan State to a 17-14 victory.

That contest would also decide the Big Ten East as the Spartans went on to win the conference and make the College Football Playoff. None of Ohio State’s first 10 wins came against ranked teams, but the Buckeyes closed the year with a pair of victories over top-10 teams.

After handling rival Michigan in Ann Arbor 42-13, Ohio State defeated No. 8 Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, 44-28. It was the third straight major bowl victory for Ohio State.

For the season, Ohio State averaged nearly 36 points per game — good for 28th nationally. The 15.1 points per contest allowed was the second-fewest in the country.

In Reflection

In seven years at Ohio State, Meyer would finish with a stellar record of 83-9. With the exception of the 2012 season when they were on probation, the 2015 campaign was the first of two seasons during Meyer’s tenure where the Buckeyes finished the regular season with fewer than two losses and didn’t qualify for the College Football Playoff.

Ohio State finished the season ranked No. 4 in both polls. The 2015 campaign was the the second of seven straight top-10 finishes — a streak that remains intact.

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.

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