- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
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BuckeyeNation counts down the five biggest moments on the march to perfection for Ohio State, from the biggest games and plays to the locker room speeches and celebrations -- finishing today with the last step in the journey.
No. 1: Simply perfect
Ohio State had other celebrations -- there was a memorable dance party in the corner of Spartan Stadium in September, and the atmosphere was pretty raucous at home after dismantling Nebraska.
The Buckeyes had a couple of wins that would have delivered more style points. Pulling away from Penn State on the road in the second half or grinding past Wisconsin in overtime in front of a hostile crowd might have impressed poll voters more, perhaps.
But there is no bigger event on the calendar for the Buckeyes than the annual meeting with Michigan, and the combination of circumstances swirling around the latest chapter in the storied rivalry made the last week of the regular season even bigger.
There would be no postseason appearance for Ohio State. It was Urban Meyer's first game leading the Buckeyes against the Wolverines. The senior class was being honored. And, obviously, a perfect season was on the line.
So when the final touches were put on a 26-21 win Nov. 24, no victory meant more to the Buckeyes -- and no on-field celebration was larger than the one that included throngs of students joining the team for one last fling before Ohio Stadium closed up shop for the offseason.
Meyer was doused with Gatorade, then passed around hugs to seemingly everybody he could get his arms around. Players giddily posed for pictures with fellow students. Braxton Miller and Devin Smith picked up some drumsticks and played along with the band, pounding out the rhythm for "Buckeye Swag" as the crowd swelled and swayed around them.
There might have been nothing but a couple of field goals during the second half as the offense went through one of its roughest patches of the season, but with the defense pitching a shutout after intermission and Carlos Hyde and Philly Brown contributing early touchdowns in the first half, the Buckeyes did just enough to keep an unblemished record intact.
And, based on the reaction when it was over, nobody seemed the slightest bit worried about impressing voters or the postseason ban. Perfection was all that mattered, and it was officially in the books.