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Big Ten Football: Ohio State Buckeyes 2013 Season Review
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15 Jan 2014 11:10 AM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Quarterback Braxton Miller rushed for 1.068 yards and 12 touchdowns. (Image Source: FrankHyatt.com)

Here’s a quick recap of the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes:

Preseason Expectations: The expectations in Columbus were high…as in win the National Title or at least compete for it. Not winning the Big Ten wasn’t even an option.  

Overachieve/Underachieve: If their expectations were the standard, then the Buckeyes underachieved. However, I never believed the Bucks were a top-five team roster wise, just a very good team that took advantage of a very soft schedule. They beat the teams they were supposed to beat and fell short when playing top teams. Michigan State isn’t a juggernaut so you can make a case they slightly underachieved, but 12-2 sounds about right to me.

Pivotal Game: The Big Ten Championship Game. Throughout the entire 2013 regular season, Ohio State was the consensus best team in the conference. By losing the Big Ten Championship Game to Michigan State, Ohio State blew their chance to play Florida State in the BCS Championship Game and fell short of winning the Big Ten title. It all came down to that one game and the Buckeyes came up empty. 

Offensive MVP: QB Braxton Miller: In Big Ten play it was Miller that made the OSU offense go. He’s the conference’s most dynamic runner, regardless of position, and he made strides as a passer this season. Miller led the conference with 24 TD passes and completed 63.5 percent of his attempts, up from 58.3 last season.

Defensive MVP: OLB Ryan Shazier: The speedy do-everything linebacker carried the Buckeyes defense this season with his ability to cover ground sideline-to-sideline and even more so, get into the offensive backfield. Shazier led the Big Ten with 143 tackles and 22.5 tackles for loss using his ability to make blockers miss and take down the ball carrier.

Trending: Coming off an undefeated season to then losing two games is technically trending downward, but the 2012 Buckeyes didn’t have to play in the Big Ten Championship Game or in a bowl game. Ask anyone who watches Ohio State closely and they’ll tell you the 2013 edition was a better football team top-to-bottom. I didn’t believe either team was a National Title squad. On a positive, this past season they were close to being a true contender and they are headed in the right direction.

Looking to 2014: The Buckeyes should have high expectations again…Big Ten Title and National Championship contenders. The two keys to getting over the hump are Braxton Miller and their defense. Miller improved as a passer but was still exposed as subpar when it comes to throwing the football in crunch time. Can he make even bigger strides in 2014? Maybe even more important than Miller’s improvement, is their defense, which was torched all too often and far from championship caliber when they were asked to step up in competition. HC Urban Meyer has recruited well, so the horses are there to win the race.

Big Ten Links:

Big Ten Football Final Power Rankings: Michigan State Represents in the Rose Bowl

One-On-One With Penn State Offensive Guard John Urschel

One-On-One: MSU LB Max Bullough Talks About Winning the Big Ten Championship

One-On-One: Michigan State’s Max Bullough Talks Playoffs & Defines Spartan Dawg

Q&A: Iowa’s James Morris Talks About the Perception of the Big Ten & Upcoming Playoffs

Q&A: James Morris Talks About Corralling the Program & New Year’s Day Bowl

Q&A: College Football Hall of Famer Orlando Pace, Ohio State Buckeyes

Q&A: College Football Hall of Famer Percy Snow, Michigan State Spartans

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. 

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