Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins leads the nation in passing yards and touchdown passes.
No. 9 Washington is headed back to the Rose Bowl for the first time since a 34-24 victory over Purdue on Jan. 1, 2001.
No. 5 Ohio State is headed back to the Rose Bowl for the first time since a 26-17 victory over Oregon on Jan. 1, 2010.
Kickoff in Pasadena, Calif., is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2019 for an ESPN broadcast. Here are 10 things to know about the matchup:
Return to tradition
The Washington-Ohio State game will mark the first time in five years that the Rose Bowl has featured the Pac-12 and Big Ten champions. The last time that happened was after the 2013 season, when Michigan State defeated Stanford, 24-20.
Ohio State (12-1), No. 5 in the final AP poll of the regular season, had been holding out for a return to the College Football Playoff. But the CFP committee on Sunday selected Big 12 champion Oklahoma (12-1) for the fourth and final playoff berth on Sunday, sending Ohio State (No. 6 in the final CFP rankings) to the Rose Bowl.
“I think from both sides there’s going to be a lot of excitement to go down to Pasadena,” UW coach Chris Petersen said Sunday. “I think the Rose Bowl carries that much weight. … Ohio State could easily with that resume be in that four-team tournament and that’s hard, that’s disappointing, to not have that opportunity when it really becomes a subjective beauty pageant from there.
“It’s hard to win every single weekend. It just is. Look at everybody’s record. It’s almost impossible as you look at everybody’s record and who got it done, but that doesn’t mean there are not more teams that are peaking and playing at a high level at the end of the season.
“I think everybody wants that thing to get expanded, and hopefully it will soon.”
Back to Pasadena
Washington and Ohio State are each making their 15th appearance in the Rose Bowl. USC (with 34) and Michigan (20) are the only two programs that have been to the Rose Bowl more.
The Huskies are 7-6-1 in the Rose Bowl Game. The Buckeyes are 7-7.
This will be the first postseason matchup between UW and Ohio State.
The Buckeyes boast the most explosive passing offense in the country, with 193 passing plays of 10 yards or more.
Washington counters with one of the stingiest passing defenses in the country. The Huskies have allowed nine touchdown passes in 13 games, and they are the only defense in the country that hasn’t allowed a single pass play of 40 yards.
This will be the first Rose Bowl berth for both Petersen and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, and their first head-to-head matchup.
Petersen recalled first meeting Meyer in either 2003 or ’04 when both were recruiting in Los Angeles. Petersen was the offensive coordinator at Boise State at the time; Meyer was the head coach at Utah. After they chatted for a bit, Petersen said he walked away thinking, “Yeah, this guy might go on to do some pretty good things.”
Added Petersen: “I have nothing but the ultimate respect (for Meyer). I’ve always been a huge fan.”
Meyer and Petersen now rank 1-2, respectively, on the NCAA’s list of active coaches based on winning percentage.
Here are the top 10 FBS coaches by career winning percentage (minimum five years at FBS), updated through Dec. 1:
No. Name, Current School ……….. Yrs. W-L-T (Pct.)
1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State………………. 16 184-32-0 (.852)
2. Chris Petersen, Washington………….. 12 139-32-0 (.813)
3. Dabo Swinney, Clemson ………………. 10 114-30-0 (.792)
4. Nick Saban, Alabama……………………. 21 236-62-1 (.789)
5. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M……………….. 8 91-27-0 (.771)
6. Bryan Harsin, Boise State………………. 5 59-20-0 (.756)
7. David Shaw, Stanford…………………….. 7 81-26-0 (.755)
8. Mark Richt, Miami……………………….. 17 171-63-0 (.731)
9. Gary Patterson, TCU…………………….. 17 166-63-0 (.725)
10. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame……………… 28 231-90-2 (.718)
Source: UW sports information
Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins leads the nation in passing yards (4,580) and touchdown passes (47), having completed 70.2 percent of his passes with eight interceptions during the regular season.
Haskins could be bound for New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony next week, and some are projecting him as the top QB available for next spring’s NFL draft, should he skip his final two seasons of eligibility.
Washington’s Taylor Rapp and Byron Murphy finished the regular season as the nation’s No. 1 safety and the No. 1 cornerback, respectively, as graded by Pro Football Focus. Both were named to the PFF All-America first team on Monday.
Rapp and Haskins, by the way, were teammates on the USA Football U-16 team a few years ago.
UW senior linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven was an honorable-mention selection on the PFF All-America team.
Burr-Kirven leads the nation with 165 tackles and is a front-runner for Pac-12 defensive player of the year, to be announced Tuesday.
Step on the Gaskin
Washington is 5-0 this season and 16-1 the past three seasons when senior RB Myles Gaskin rushes for 100 yards in a game.
The Huskies’ all-time leading rusher, Gaskin ranks third in Pac-12 history in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.
UW and Ohio State have one common opponent this year: Oregon State.
The Buckeyes thumped the Beavers, 77-31, in their season opener in Columbus.
The Huskies beat Oregon State, 42-23, on Nov. 17.
The Beavers finished the season 2-10 overall (1-8 in Pac-12) under first-year coach Jonathan Smith, the former UW offensive coordinator.
New Year’s celebration
Washington and Ohio State are two of five programs to earn a New Year’s Six bowl bid for the third consecutive year, joining Alabama, Clemson and Oklahoma.
The Huskies lost to Alabama in a national semifinal in 2016 and lost to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl last year.
Ohio State lost to Clemson in the other 2016 national semifinal and defeated USC in the 2017 Cotton Bowl.
The road to roses
Ohio State’s lone loss of the season came on the road, 49-20 at Purdue on Oct. 20.
Washington’s three losses all came on the road, by a combined 10 points.
“It has been rocky. It has been tough. It has been hard,” Petersen said Sunday. “That’s why I have a lot of respect for these kids. They’ve been through a lot. There were a lot of expectations put on them, and at times we played really well and at times we haven’t played as well as we think we can.
“A month ago, things were not looking so good. We played a game (at Cal) where we played well on defense but not so well on offense. I think everybody counted us out from doing anything in our league, but the kids worked hard. They stay focused. They battled. They’re tough guys. I’m jut pleased they figured out a way to get this thing done.”