Orange Bowl

1977

 

Ohio State 27

Colorado 10

 

 

Ohio State Fight Song

 

MIAMI- College football's Battle for No. 1 was won yesterday on the playing fields of New Orleans. In a lesser skirmish in sparkle city the Big 10 Conference won only its second bowl game in 10.

Ohio State coach Woody Hayes, who came into this 43rd Orange Bowl game like a lamb was still smiling after the game because his Buckeyes had defeated Colorado, 27-10, to finish the season with a record of 9-2-1. Not bad for a team Hayes considers one of the less-talented aggregations in his 26 years at Columbus.

For one half, it was a game as Colorado (8-4) trailed just 17-10. But, its offense began to sag "under the weight of the massive Buckeye defenders and finally collapsed entirely in a second half that seemed to drag on interminably. The statistics bore out how the victory was achieved. Ohio State racked up 21 first downs to 12 for Colorado. The Buckeyes rushed for 271 yards to 134 for the Buffaloes. Colorado passed for more yardage, 137 to 59, but did so only because its runners were having so little success. Colorado completed only eight passes all evening.

So bogged down was the Colorado offense, that it could not capitalize on four lost fumbles by Ohio State. The Buffaloes had scored all their points before the first quarter had ended.

Mark Ketterberg kicked a 26-yard field goal and Emery Moorehead had caught an 11-yard pass (video). But touchdowns by Ohio State's Jeff Logan, Pete Johnson (video) and Rod Gerald (video), plus two field goals by Tom Skladany provided the final margin as Colorado came no closer to scoring the rest of the way than missed field goals.

Only 65,537 people turned out for the game, making a total of 11,195 no shows. It was the smallest crowd to witness the Orange Bowl since the 1951 contest between Clemson and the University of Miami.

Ohio State had opened the game with senior Jim Pacenta at quarterback. But an early fumble sent him to the bench and when sophomore Rod Gerald came in and took the Buckeyes on a two-play touchdown drive, it was clear the game had shifted to Ohio State. Gerald gained 81 yards on 14 carries.

Noone had anticipated an artistic game, since neither was a top 10 team, But the game began conjuring up visions of Norman Mailer sitting down at his typewriter and striking five incorrect keys to start his working day. The Colorado kickoff went out of bounds, drawing a penalty. On the Buckeyes first two plays, Colorado was penalized for being offsides. Then Pacenta slipped trying a pass. Things settled down after that.

Hayes has never been great fan of the forward pass and he must have liked the tactics even less when Pacenta dropped to throw early in the game and was hit, the tackle jolting the ball back 20 yards to the Ohio State 43 where Colorado's Laval Short recovered.

Quarterback Jeff Knapple threw to Emery Moorehead, advancing the ball to the Ohio State 32. The Buffaloes went on to post a first down at the nine, on a run by Jim Kelleher but then came three failures, and Mark Zetterberg had to come on a kick a 26 yard field goal giving Colorado a 3-0 lead after almost six minutes of play.

For the second consecutive kickoff, Ohio State returned well, this time to the Colorado 42 on a dash by Jeff Logan. But again, the Buckeyes were stopped and Tom Skladany was well short on his 56-yard field goal attempt.

After Knapple had thrown again to Moorehead moving Colorado to its 42 yard line, Billy Waddy ran 40 yards on a reverse so well camouflaged that only one Ohio State defender, Tom Roche, was between him and the goal line. Yet Roche made the tackle. This merely delayed the Colorado touchdown, however, as Moorehead caught a Knapple pass for 11 yards on a fourth down play to score. Zetterberg kicked. Colorado led, 10-0, and from the look on Hayes' face, you would have thought someone had taken General George Patton's name in vain.

 

Apparently, this anger catalyzed his players, for after yet another good return, to the Ohio State 47 by Jim Harrell, the Buckeyes had a score in two plays. Rod Gerald ran a keeper and then Logan took a hand off and sprinted 36 yards with 3:11 to play in the quarter (video). Hayes began to frown a bit less fiercely.

After that quick drive to a touchdown the Buckeyes settled down to one of their more traditional, antideluvian marches, eschewing the pass and ramming straight at the Buffaloes. But on a third down and six at the Colorado 11, Gerald was stopped as he tried to run around left end and Skladany tied the score, 10-10 with a 28 yard field goal at 9:33.

 

Zetterberg kicks PAT for 10-0 first quarter lead.

 

Colorado defense stops Ohio State runner.

 

Colorado quarterback Jeff Knapple prepares to hand off.

 

Rod Gerald scores final TD for the Buckeyes.

 

Time ticks away on the Buffs.

 

Attendance- 65,537

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
CU- FG Zetterberg 26
CU- Morehead 11 pass from Knapple (Zetterberg kick)
OSU- Logan 36 run (Skladany kick)

Second Quarter
OSU- FG Skladany 28
OSU- Johnson 3 run (Skladany kick)

Third Quarter
OSU- FG Skladany 20

Fourth Quarter
OSU- Gerald 4 run (Skladany kick)

Individual Statistics

Rushing
CU- Reed 22-58, Kelleher 11-26, Waddy 1-40
OSU- Springs 23-98, Gerald 14-81, Logan 14-80

Passing
CU- Knapple 8-22-137
OSU- Gerald 2-6-39

Receiving
CU- Morehead 4-68, Reed 2-51, Hasselbeck 2-18
OSU- Harrell 2-59
 

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