Many know what the Buckeyes were good at and were not, but some aspects of the season went underreported or were merely forgotten.
So before the campaign ends up too far in the rearview mirror, here are a few facts and figures that might teach you something about the 12-2 campaign.
So The Offense Was Really Good
We all knew the Buckeyes could score with the best of them, but there are some numbers that definitely jump off the page. The Buckeyes' totals of 45.5 points and 511.9 yards per game broke school records of 42.5 points and 497.5 yards, set in 1969 and 1998, respectively.
For all the concern about the team's passing game at times – and it was merited – the Buckeyes ended with some impressive tallies there. Braxton Miller finished 13th in the nation in passing efficiency at 158.1, but the more impressive statistical campaign might have been turned in by Kenny Guiton. In spot duty, generally against overwhelmed nonconference foes, Guiton posted a pass efficiency of 165.2, which would have led the Big Ten and placed ninth in the nation had he played enough. In addition, Guiton had 14 touchdowns and two interceptions in 109 attempts, which would have 50 TDs and 7 interceptions had he thrown all 386 passes the Buckeyes attempted. In all, he threw a TD on 12.8 percent of all attempts; Heisman winner Jameis Winston was at 10.4 percent.
Miller, of course, was pretty good himself, though. On the season, he was responsible for 36 touchdowns – 24 passing, 12 rushing – which broke the school record pretty handily. The previous mark of 31 was set by Bobby Hoying in 1995 and matched by Troy Smith in 2006 and Terrelle Pryor in 2010. Miller is one away from tying Schlichter's career record of 85.
The rushing offense was the source of great success as well, and that could be found in the team's yards per carry average. Only twice in program history before the season did Ohio State average 8.0 yards per carry in a game; the team quadrupled that mark in 2013, doing so six times. A school-record average of 10.5 yards was established vs. Illinois, leading the way as the Buckeyes also topped the mark vs. Michigan (8.50), Purdue (8.41), Florida A&M (8.40), Penn State (8.0) and Indiana (8.0).
Ohio State was also a run-heavy team in 2013, running 635 times and throwing 368 passes. Even switching the 22 sacks the team had from runs to passes (since they were called pass plays), that comes up with the Buckeyes calling runs on 61.1 percent of plays. Urban Meyer mentioned near the end of the season that balance does not necessarily equal a 50-percent split between run and pass plays, something the data shows as well. The team was much more balanced than a year ago, though, when it called runs on 63.2 percent of plays. The 22 sacks was also a big improvement over the 30 allowed in 2012 and the 46 in 2011.
The Buckeyes' effectiveness running the ball, though, helped tremendously in the red zone, where you could say Ohio State was historically good. The team scored touchdowns on 84.1 percent of its red-zone possessions (53 of 63), the best in the nation. In fact, the Buckeyes were just the third team in the past seven years, according to CFBstats.com, to top the mark of 84 percent, joining Wisconsin in 2011 (85.3) and Oklahoma in 2008 (84.5 percent). Since Meyer became the coach, the Buckeyes have scored touchdowns on 92 of 114 red-zone possessions, 80.7 percent.
Carlos Hyde also had an impressive season, famously becoming the first Urban Meyer running back in the coach's 12 years to break the 1,000-yard barrier. In all, despite rushing for a total of 41 yards during the four-game nonconference season because of suspension, Hyde totaled 1,521 rushing yards. His per-game average of 138.3 was good for fifth in the nation, and he topped 100 yards in each of his final nine games.
Replacing Hyde will likely fall to a greenhorn in 2014, though. The leading returning running back as far as carries is Dontre Wilson, who had 31 times, while Ezekiel Elliott paces the returning backs with 262 yards. In all, just 96 of 385 (24.9 percent) running back carries return in '14 with Hyde and Jordan Hall going out the door, leaving Wilson, Elliott, Roderick Smith, Warren Ball as well as Brionte Dunn and the incoming recruiting class to pick up the slack.
A Few Defensive Notes
We would do well to not take the performance of Ryan Shazier in 2013 for granted. Not only were his 22.5 tackles for loss good for third in a single season at Ohio State, his total of 143 tackles was historic. Shazier's tackle total was the most for a Buckeye defender since Chris Spielman posted 156 in 1987. Shazier wasn't perfect, and his tackle total was inflated by a) the 14 games OSU played, and b) the number of plays the defense faced because it couldn't get off the field at times. But that's a lot of production and something that won't be easily replaced in 2014.
While most people focused on the struggles of the team's pass defense – and rightly so, considering it ranked 110th in Division I – the run defense actually was quite impressive. Overall, Ohio State allowed just 109.4 yards per game on the ground in 2013, good for ninth in the nation. The Buckeyes also ceded just 3.3 yards per carry and nine rushing TDs in 14 games, in part because the 42 rushing plays of 10 yards or more the team allowed was fifth in the nation.
Then there was the passing defense, which was breached by just about every high-profile receiver the Buckeyes faced. In the end, nine opposing receivers topped the 100-yard mark vs. the Buckeyes on the season, and history was made when Jared Abbrederis of Wisconsin set an OSU opponent record with 207 yards. Jeremy Gallon also had 175 yards while Penn State's Allen Robinson tallied 173.
For Good Measure
The Buckeyes were good early and not as good late, if the score-by-quarter stats are to be believed. Led by an offense that scored on its first drive 10 of 13 times, Ohio State outscored opponents by a 229-69 margin in the opening frame of games. On the other hand, the Buckeyes weren't as good in the fourth quarter, being outscored 99-90 on the season. That issue came to the forefront in the Big Ten title game loss, as Michigan State outscored the Buckeyes by a 14-0 margin in the final frame.
Let's also not forget Cameron Johnston, who did more than just set the Ohio State single-game punt average at 57.0 yards vs. Illinois. On the season, the Buckeyes' net punt unit averaged 40.8 yards per kick, good for fifth in the nation, and a good chunk of that was because of Johnston's abilities. The Australian freshman was better than advertised in 2013, it's fair to say. Alabama led the way at 42.4 yards per punt, while Purdue was tops in the Big Ten at 41.7 yards.