Close Calls, Bad Breaks Swing Peach Bowl Out of Ohio State’s Favor in a Game of Inches in Atlanta

               Buckeye fans, please be careful. The following exercise is not for the faint of heart.                </p><div><p>

In fact, you might even find an examination of the twists, hiccups, and near-miss breaks that derailed the outcome of Saturday's college football playoff semifinals. But someone has to do it.

Of course, no contest of any kind can come closer than the 1-point margin that separates winners from losers. But the kick that would have won the game for Ohio State in the final seconds wasn't particularly close: Noah Ruggles's 50-yard try was a shot from Mercedes to his Benz's stadium goal in his post. Straying to the far left, the fate of the Buckeyes was decided. But considering Ruggles hit his goal earlier in the night he fielded 48 yards, Ohio State needs only a few more yards to set up his Ruggles for a more realistic kick. it may not have been.
The Buckeyes appeared to win the game after a 27-yard CJ Stroud scramble brought Ohio State to Georgia's 31-yard line with 24 seconds remaining. But only at the edge of Ruggles' range did Ohio fail to gain another inch before the kick. In fact, the Buckeyes actually lost yards in a run-up with Darlan Hayden on the next play after Stroud's run. Ryan Day received criticism after the fact.

Day said there were plays he wished had come back to the Peach Bowl, but it wasn't one of them.

"With two timeouts left, it added to the field goal. If there weren't two timeouts left, we had zero timeouts," Day said.  "If you split one, it could come out in the back end there. You have two timeouts left, and if you have a few yards there, you can add to the field goal. That was the idea." It didn't work as well as I wanted, but I didn't change the call."

When asked about the play call, Stroud stood by Day's decision and stepped in to label it a "great call" at the end of his head coach's response. 

Still, Donovan Jackson said when the offense finally left the field, he knew more needed to be done to put Ruggles in a better position.

“I can say that I had complete trust in the guys on this team, but obviously if you're five yards away, you're better off one yard away. 'I was like,'" Jackson said.  “But I trusted everyone in the team, which is a special teams unit.
But it was hardly the first dodgy call. By then, there had been a series of sequences that contributed to the eventual demise of Ohio State University. From two touchdowns at the start of the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes were one point behind when the celebration started in Atlanta.

The Buckeyes led 21-7 to play with 10:56 in the second quarter as Marvin Harrison Jr. pulled a second touchdown pass from Stroud. Ohio State's passing game was humming. But the Bulldogs came back and tied things up by scoring two consecutive touchdowns in under five minutes of game time. The momentum reversed and Ohio State had to regain some.

To that end, Day chose to go for it on 4th and 1st from his own 35-yard line after a backeye drive quickly stalled. Ohio State picked it up at an 8-yard run by Stroud, who moved the chain to give the Buckeyes a chance to answer Georgia's run.

not so soon

Day had no choice but to punt as Mitch Rossi was whistled for an illegal motion penalty, resulting in the Buckeyes being backed up to their own 30. Georgia then kicked a field goal to get their first lead of the game after just seven plays.

But that play wasn't as important as the sequence that followed.

Ohio State stole the next 17 points in a row to take a 14-point lead at the end of the third quarter, but the Buckeyes would have 21 if it weren't for a booth review that overturned a targeting call against Georgia's Javon Bullard. You could have earned points. behind the end zone. Ohio State not only failed to score a new string of downs because the ball was on the Bulldogs' doorstep, but also lost Harrison for the rest of the contest after training staff shut him down due to a concussion from the collision. .
The Buckeyes scored four fewer points than they would have liked on that possession, and without Harrison they would have gained 106 yards and two scores by that point, leaving the pass offense to manage only 29 remaining yards. was.

“I would say losing Marv didn't affect the game, but it definitely did,” Day said.  "I can't say enough about what this guy did and how he fought with everything given to him in the second half. I'm proud of the way he played." ."
In the ensuing possession, another tough decision from the refereeing crew kept Georgia's scoring drive alive. With 4 and 6 from Buckeye 13 on the opening drive of the 4th quarter, Brockbowers was dominated just short of the chain. Ohio State would have taken over with 12:10 to play.

After further investigation, officials determined that Bowers had picked up enough yardage to move his stick. Ohio State still kept Georgia out of his zone in the end, but a field goal put the ball rolling for a fourth-quarter comeback for the Bulldogs.
Just over a minute slipped off the clock before the next key moment happened. Ohio State was three out and lined up to punt the ball to the Bulldogs from 34. Down with direct snaps from Mason Arnold.

Not so fast.

Kirby Smart called a timeout just a second before the ball was snapped, and the Bulldogs adjusted their placement for a possible fake, and the referee shook the playoff. Day did not try it again.
Georgia added insult to injury just ten seconds later. The Bulldogs scored a 76-yard touchdown on his first play after the punt, and the two-point conversion put him down 38-35 with only three points down and he had 8:41 left to play. . Not only did Georgia perform well to create an explosive score. Lathan Ransom was only down in his 1-1 coverage of Ariane Smith, and without help behind, was his race to the end of the track into his zone.

Smith may have beaten Ransom anyway, but if Buckeye's safety wasn't lost, we'd probably be talking about a different outcome in the Peach Bowl.

“I thought our team came out in this game and swung and played hard, but it fell short. ' said Day.  “There were a lot of plays in this game that I would like to see come back as a coach and as a player. I'm proud of how they competed, the seniors and advanced players are proud of what they've done for the program, and the younger players who are coming back know what it takes to win at CFP. It is an opportunity to learn, grow and see

If you're a Buckeye fan, the what-ifs are endless. But if you don't completely ignore a wound this fresh, you can't help but stare in awe.

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