PASADENA, CA- Less than two minutes remained in the 105th Rose Bowl Game pesented by Northwestern Mutual, as No. 6 Ohio State led No. 9 Washington 28-17. After trailing 28-3 at the end of the third quarter, Washington scored 14 unanswered fourth quarter points and had the ball with a chance to pull within four. Senior tight end Hunter Bryant lept in the air, raised one hand and hauled in Jake Browning’s pass for a miraculous catch to put Washington in scoring position.
Four plays later senior running back Myles Gaskin scored from two yards out. With just 42 seconds left on the clock, however, the Huskies fourth quarter comeback effort fell short. Ohio State senior receiver Johnnie Dixon recovered Washington’s onside kick attempt to seal a 28-23 Rose Bowl victory for the Buckeyes, the first for head coach Urban Meyer in his last game.
“This has been a bucket list,” Meyer said. “We came so close, and I love all the other bowls, but being a Big Ten guy from Ohio and watching the Rose Bowl in the 70s with Archie Griffin playing, it’s everything everybody says it was.”
Meyer, the only coach to win national titles in two different conferences and the third-winningest coach in college football history, announced his retirement on Dec. 4.
“While we enjoyed tonight, I don’t believe I’m going to coach again,” Meyer said.
Meyer retires with an all-time coaching record of 187-32, winning 85.4 percent of his games. The Buckeyes captured their eighth Rose Bowl win in program history.
Ohio State sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins completed over 67 percent of his passes, gained 251 yards and threw for three touchdowns. Junior running back Mike Weber rushed for 96 yards on 15 carries.
“Today 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.”
Sophomore back J.K. Dobbins scored one touchdown on the ground. Senior wide receiver Parris Campbell caught 11 passes for 71 yards and one score. Dixon caught two passes for 27 yards and one touchdown.
Browning, a senior, completed 35-of-54 throws and collected 313 yards for Washington. Gaskin carried the ball 24 times, scored two touchdowns and picked up 121 yards. Andre Baccellia led the Husky receiving core with 12 catches for 109 yards.
“Tough one,” Washington head coach Chris Petersen said. Gaskin added, “Just love this program, love Coach Pete. Love these guys.”
A Browning pass intended for Aaron Fuller fell incomplete on fourth-and-4 at the Ohio State 22-yard line with nearly three minutes remaining in the third quarter. Gaskin lobbed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Drew Sample with 12:17 left in the fourth quarter, finishing off a 10-play drive for Washington. Ohio State kept a 28-10 lead. Browning tossed incomplete on fourth-and-6 at Washington’s own 48-yard line with nine minutes to go.
After forcing an Ohio State three-and-out, Washington senior receiver Max Richmond partially blocked Ohio State’s punt. The ball rolled inside the Husky 34-yard line and with it, so did the game’s momentum. Browning threw a 24-yard dime to Baccellia and then found Fuller for 37 yards. Gaskin found the end zone from one yard out three plays later, cutting Ohio State’s lead to 28-17 with six minutes and change left to play.
Ben Burr-Kirven sacked Haskins to force another Ohio State three-and-out, as Washington slowly crept back into the game. With under four minutes left, the Huskies barely advanced past their own 15-yard line before having to punt themselves. Yet another Washington defensive stop gave Browning one more chance to decrease Ohio State’s advantage with the Husky offense firing on all cylinders.
Gaskin’s touchdown with under one minute left gave Washington their third touchdown of the fourth quarter. Ohio State sophomore safety Brendon White intercepted Browning’s throw on Washington’s two-point conversion attempt. The Huskies outscored Ohio State 20-0 throughout fourth quarter action.
“It was a great game and I’ll tell you what Washington is a hell of a team,” Meyer said.
Nearly 11 minutes into the second quarter, Washington held possession on fourth-and-10. Browning snapped the ball and pooch-kicked it, catching Ohio State defenders off guard. Washington downed the ball at Ohio State’s own 3-yard line. Two consecutive three-and-outs gave Ohio State the football with under one minute left in the first half.
Haskins picked up two quick completions of 10 and 12 yards to Binjimen Victor and Campbell. Out of a Washington timeout, Victor drew a 15-yard pass interference penalty. Three plays later, Haskins delivered a 1-yard touchdown toss to Rashad Berry with 18 seconds left. Ohio State entered halftime leading 21-3, behind three Haskins touchdown throws.
Gaskin broke the second half open with two straight runs for gains of 13 and 14 yards. Ohio State defensive end Jashon Cornell pushed Washington back seven yards and the Huskies’ offense continued to sputter. Ohio State took over and Dobbins ran in a 3-yard touchdown to extend the Buckeyes’ lead, 28-3, with 8:23 left in the third quarter.
The game’s first two possessions featured no progress for either offense. The Buckeyes were flagged for a 5-yard false start penalty one play in. Dobbins gained none on the ground and Washington linebacker Brandon Wellington dropped Campbell in the backfield for a loss of 1. Washington linebacker Ryan Bowman followed by sacking Haskins in the backfield to force a quick Ohio State three-and-out.
Washington took over at their own 30-yard line and gained five yards on a Gaskin carry. Browning tossed it right back to Gaskin, but Jonathon Cooper sacked him to push Washington back six yards. Washington punted back to Ohio State after Browning’s third down pass fell incomplete.
Starting from the 23, Haskins and Webber guided Ohio State down the field in an 11-play, 77-yard scoring drive. Campbell finished off the Buckeyes’ possession by hauling in a 12-yard touchdown pass. Webber ran four times for 52 yards on the drive, including a 19-yard pickup on fourth-and-1 in Washington territory.
Washington traded punts with Ohio State before advancing into Buckeye territory for the first time. Gaskin and Browning combined for three pickups of 22 total yards, pushing Washington inside Ohio State’s 30-yard line. False start and holding penalties kept Washington out of the end zone. Browning found Baccellia to pickup 8 yards, still short of the first down. Peyton Henry converted a 38-yard field goal, cutting Ohio State’s lead to 7-3 with 1:19 left in the first quarter.
Facing third-and-3 from Washington’s 14-yard line, Ohio State fell victim to their second false start penalty of the first half. Haskins connected with Dixon, however, one play later for a 19-yard touchdown. Ohio State took a 14-3 lead with just over 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
Washington falls to 48-46-2 all-time against Big Ten opponents and 10-4 overall on the season. The Huskies 20 fourth quarter points tied for the fifth-most in fourth quarter Rose Bowl History. The total yardage battle fell heavily in Washington’s favor, the Huskies out-gaining Ohio State 444-364. Edges in passing (315-251) and rushing (129-113) statistics also belonged to Washington.
The Buckeyes’ 28 points were scored on 33 offensive plays. Ohio State finishes the season 13-1 overall. The Buckeyes are Rose Bowl champions for the first time since 2010. Offensive coordinator Ryan Day officially takes over for Meyer as head coach beginning Jan. 2.