The Ohio State Buckeyes are headed to the Sunshine State.
One day after getting their dreams of playing for a BCS National Championship dashed by No. 4 Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game, OSU is set to travel to Miami, Fla., to take on the No. 12 Clemson Tigers (10-2, 7-1) in the Discover Orange Bowl Jan. 3, 2014 after earning an at-large bid.
“On behalf of our players, staff and The Ohio State University, we are honored to accept the invitation to play in the Discover Orange Bowl,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said Sunday evening on the Orange Bowl teleconference. “We look forward to representing Ohio State down in south Florida.”
The Buckeyes (12-1, 8-1) dropped to No. 7 in the BCS Standings after falling to the Spartans, 34-24, Saturday. With a win, OSU likely would have had a chance to face off against No. 1 Florida State in Pasadena, Calif., but instead are scheduled to play in another BCS bowl against an ACC opponent.
Meyer said he did not meet with the team Sunday, and that he does not think the team will have any problems getting up to play Clemson after missing out on a chance to play for the national title.
“We had a good conversation after the game last night,” Meyer said. “They’re heartbroken, but they’re also competitors and I think the fact that they’re playing in a BCS Bowl against Clemson, that’s going to wake you up real fast … There’s not doubt in my mind that we’ll be excited to go play in this bowl game.”
It is the ninth time OSU has been selected to play in a BCS bowl, tied for the all-time ever with Oklahoma, according to a press release.
The Tigers and Buckeyes have only met one other time, in the 1978 Gator Bowl, a memorable affair that cost former OSU coach Woody Hayes his job.
Trailing 17-15 with just over two minutes remaining, OSU quarterback Art Schlichter was intercepted by Clemson’s Charlie Bauman to all but end the game. Following the play, Hayes punched Bauman through the face mask after he got up on the OSU sideline.
Hayes was fired by OSU the next day.
The 2013 version of the Tigers, who lost in their regular season finale Nov. 30 to then-No. 10 South Carolina 31-17, sport a high-powered offense, ranked 12th in the country with 502.9 yards per game. Led by senior quarterback Tajh Boyd, the Tigers are tied for 11th in the country in scoring at 40.2 points per game.
OSU junior linebacker Ryan Shazier, who is from Pompano Beach, Fla., said it will be nice to play the final game of the season in his home state.
“It will be really cool to be able to play Clemson in Florida in the Orange Bowl game … in front of my family and friends,” Shazier said in an OSU press release. “It will be nice to be able to play the last game of the season in my home state. It will mean a lot.”
Buckeye senior left tackle Jack Mewhort said he has not yet turned his thoughts to the bowl game, but said he is going to enjoy getting the opportunity to play in a BCS bowl in his final game at OSU.
“I think it means a lot for us to go back and play in a BCS bowl game,” Mewhort said in the release. “To get a win in a big time bowl and at the same time show some resiliency would be a great way to go out. I couldn’t ask at this point for anything more than to play in a BCS bowl game, and getting to go to battle with these guys I’ve been fortunate to play with for the last four or five years will be great.”
Kickoff between the Buckeyes and Tigers is set for 8:30 p.m. at Sun Life Stadium.