Moeller's blindside hit on Marshall quarterback Brian Anderson in the third quarter of Ohio State's 45-7 victory Thursday night was not only a hard collision, but it was a symbolic way for Moeller to show that he is 100 percent back from a head injury that cost him the entire 2009 season.
He had been away, but he certainly did not forget how to hit.
"It felt great," Moeller said of his return to the field. "It's one of the greatest feelings."
Moeller forced a fumble when raced around the right end and drilled Anderson in the back. The play was ruled a 6-yard sack for Moeller and was one of the night's best moments for Ohio State. Moeller finished with team highs in tackles (seven) and tackles for loss (2.0).
"You take a guy like that away from football for a year, especially in the situation that happened off the field. You could tell he was excited to play," senior defensive tackle Dexter Larimore said. "Obviously it showed."
Several of Moeller's teammates were beaming after the game when talking about his return to the Ohio Stadium playing field. Moeller had not suited up for the Buckeyes since the 2009 Fiesta Bowl against Texas. He missed all of last season after suffering a head injury when he was attacked by a man in an off-field incident in Florida.
"He was actually one of my roommates last year, and it was tough for him to sit on the sidelines," Larimore said. "He's one of those guys that is always in the weight room, always doing something. Then for a year he really couldn't lift or do activities because of (his head injury).
"But the day he was released he was back in the weight room getting after it. Everything he could do, he was pushing, pushing, pushing. Obviously you saw him out today really getting after it."
Added sophomore defensive lineman John Simon: "We're close friends, and just seeing him lay some wood on people it just gets your juices pumping. … He's a little fireball, and he brings a lot to our defense."
Moeller saw plenty of playing time against the spread offense of the Thundering Herd. As Ohio State's "star," the fifth defensive back in nickel situations, Moeller was called upon to make several plays and did not disappoint.
"I made an emphasis this week of … trying to get the toughness back a little bit," Moeller said. "It really paid off."
Moeller admitted that life finally feels back to normal.
"It does. It really does," he said. "It's like I said through camp, ‘I felt good. I was getting back.' But today was really the day I really felt back to myself again."
That is a great sign for Buckeye fans – and a bad one for Ohio State's 2010 opponents. Senior defensive lineman Cameron Heyward called Moeller a game-changer.
"Tyler just brings another dimension to the game," Heyward said. "He hustles so much and he's so fast off the ball. It's great to have him back on the defense."