Ohio State Football: Top 10 Plays from the 2011 Season
Although the 2011 season for Ohio State football may not have been the season that fans and players had hoped for, the future for Buckeye football has never been brighter.
A new coaching staff and talented roster full of potential add to the excitement for future football seasons to come. A 6-7 overall record is not what the fans are accustomed to seeing, but spectacular plays made by the Buckeyes are customary each and every year. The 2011 season was no different.
Here is a video slideshow of the top 10 plays, along with a bonus honorable mention clip, during this past season.
10. Carlos Hyde Touchdown Run vs. Nebraska
Starting off the list is Carlos Hyde's 63-yard touchdown run against Nebraska. Early in the second quarter, the Buckeyes were nearing midfield when Braxton Miller handed the ball off to Carlos Hyde.
The offensive line made a great push to the left, misleading the defense into believing the run was going to go that direction. Hyde then made a quick cut to the right and broke into the open field.
Hyde then used his speed to outrun the chasing defenders and scampered into the end zone, giving Ohio State a 16-3 lead.
9. Braxton Miller Touchdown Run vs. Wisconsin
Lined up in the pistol formation along with Boom Herron, Braxton Miller took the snap and ran an option towards the left sideline.
The Badger cornerback stuck with Herron expecting Braxton to make the pitch. Instead, Miller cut inside and ran upfield. Ohio State tight end Jake Stoneburner made a great block to open up a gaping whole for Miller, who went into the end zone untouched.
8. Chris Fields Punt Return TD vs. Toledo
Locked up in a tight battle with Toledo, Ohio State found themselves trailing 14-15 with only a minute remaining in the first half.
The OSU defense had just forced the Rocket offense to a three-and-out, forcing Toledo to punt. After an illegal formation penalty on Toledo, Vince Penza punted the ball to Chris Fields.
Fields then dodged two tackles and ran towards the end zone. A teeth-rattling block made by Corey Brown on the last defender then allowed Fields to score the touchdown, giving the Buckeyes a 21-15 lead going into halftime.
7. Goal Line Stand vs. Penn State
Ohio State was down 14-20 and was facing a potential two-touchdown deficit after a Boom Herron fumble gave Penn State excellent field position. The defense was facing a first and goal on their own two-yard line.
On first down, Penn State handed off to FB Michael Zordich who gained a yard. Zordich was given the ball again on second down, but rushed for no gain.
The home crowd then started to will the defense on third down. Quarterback Matt McGloin tried a sneak with no avail.
With the Horseshoe erupting with noise, Penn State decided to go for it on fourth down. Running back Silas Redd got the ball and tried to leap over the pile. Redd was upended while in the air and fell short of the goal line.
6. Braxton Miller Touchdown Run vs. Michigan
With Ohio State trailing Michigan 10-16, the Buckeyes capitalized on a Denard Robinson fumble forced by Ryan Shazier.
Braxton Miller took the snap in the pistol formation and took off to the right side. After juking past the first defender at the line of scrimmage, Miller then ran down to the eight-yard line before making a great cut back to the inside which allowed him to get past the pursuing safety and fall into the end zone.
5. Braxton Miller Touchdown Run vs. Indiana
The longest play from scrimmage during the 2011 season was Braxton Miller's 81-yard scramble against Indiana.
Miller ran the quarterback draw from the shotgun formation and got past the first line of defenders. Great down-field blocks by wide receivers Corey Brown and Devin Smith then allowed Miller to dive into the end zone for six.
4. Braxton Miller Touchdown Pass vs. Michigan
Ohio State made an opening statement in the season finale against hated rival Michigan up in Ann Arbor.
During the opening drive of the game, Braxton Miller ran a play-action pass play that wound up being a 54-yard touchdown pass to Corey Brown. Miller faked the handoff to Boom Herron and rolled to the left.
Michigan missed an assignment deep in the secondary as Miller launched the ball down the field. A Wolverine defender was not within ten yards of Brown, who caught the ball at the one-yard line and fell into the end zone.
3. Devier Posey Catch vs. Penn State
In Devier Posey's first game back from his suspension against Penn State, he made an immediate impact in the passing game. Posey ended up with four receptions for 66 yards, but his second catch of the game was one for the highlight reel.
With two defenders close by and about to run out of bounds, Posey jumped up and snatched the ball out of the air with one hand. He came down with one foot just inbounds and was pushed to the ground into the Penn State bench area.
Posey had possession of the ball throughout the catch to complete an 18-yard play for a first down conversion.
2. Evan Spencer Catch vs. Akron
In the season opener versus Akron, Evan Spencer made one of the most spectacular catches of the year. It also showed the determination and heart this team had this year.
Even up 35-0 in the fourth quarter, when the game was in complete control in favor of Ohio State, the true freshman receiver made a tremendous effort to make a play that seemed impossible at first glance.
Spencer was able to turn his body and change his direction to his back shoulder while going at full speed. He then raised his arm up and made a great one-handed snag down at the Akron five-yard line.
It even impressed future coach Urban Meyer, who can be heard in the video, who was commentating the game for ESPN.
1. Braxton Miller Hail Mary vs. Wisconsin
After Braxton Miller ran a 44-yard touchdown, the game seemed to be over as the Buckeyes had a 12-point lead with under five minutes to go and a defense that had been playing great all game.
After Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson completed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jared Abbrederis, Ohio State could not convert a third and five and punted back to the Badgers. With 90 seconds left in the game, Wilson and Abbrederis hooked up again for a 49-yard touchdown to take the lead.
The Horseshoe went absolutely silent as fans watched in disbelief at what was unfolding before their eyes. However, after a good kickoff return by Jordan Hall that put the Buckeyes near the 50-yard line, a miracle was about to unfold.
Four plays after Hall's kickoff return, Miller made his move.
He scrambled to the right and dodged two defensive players. Just as he was about to cross the line of scrimmage, Miller tossed the ball towards the end zone.
The ball seemed to hover in the air forever as it became evident that an Ohio State receiver had somehow got behind the secondary. The ball fell into Devin Smith's arms in the back of the end zone with 20 seconds left and a deafening roar erupted from Ohio Stadium.
The defense held on for the final seconds and the night ended with the Ohio State faithful rushing the field to celebrate a Homecoming weekend upset win with the team that refused to lose.
The video speaks for itself. The new era in Ohio State football has begun.
Do you agree with the top ten list? What play do you believe was the best of the Buckeyes' 2011 season?
Please comment on your thoughts.
Follow me on Twitter @KyleWinklerOSU for Ohio State football information.