Meyer: We Win As a Team
By Brandon Castel
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Urban Meyer could have thrown his defense under the bus.
Photo by Dan Harker
It wouldn’t have taken much.
He was tired and frustrated after Ohio State’s defense nearly collapsed in epic fashion against an Indiana Hoosiers team that doesn’t have a Big Ten win since 2010. Not only did the Buckeyes allow 49 points, the most by an OSU defense since Penn State hung 63 on them back in 1994, but the defense almost blew an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Meyer was noticeably withdrawn and seemed a little shaken after the win, despite the fact his team is off to a 7-0 start for 22nd time in school history, and the first since the 2007 football season.
“Uhh, I just want to win that game. I’m all in,” said a soft-spoken Meyer, who sat at the podium well after midnight following Ohio State’s 52-49 win over Indiana.
“I’m supporting our coaches, supporting our players. We have to find a way to make a stop and win a game. There's times that the offense has been in reverse and the defense steps up, so we’re a team.”
The Buckeyes allowed 481 yards of offense, including 352 through the air, and gave up 49 points. That’s the most an Ohio State team has allowed since the John Cooper era, and only the second time OSU has allowed 40+ points in a game since Meyer hung 41 on them in the 2007 BCS National Championship game.
“That's horrible,” cornerback Bradley Roby said after the game.
“We’re all pretty embarrassed by that. That’s not Ohio State football. We just gotta really just work on just finishing.”
The Buckeyes won a game in which they allowed 40 points or more for just the second time in school history, thanks to a high-powered offense led by Braxton Miller.
With Miller leading the way, Ohio State racked up 578 yards, including 353 on the ground, and scored 52 points on the road against an IU squad that nearly pulled the upset against Michigan State a week earlier.
Miller had 211 yards through the air to go with 149 on the ground and three scores. Tailback Carlos Hyde rumbled for a career-high 156 yards a touchdown. He also caught two passes for 27 yards and another score, which brings his total to 323 yards and six touchdowns over the last two weeks.
“That’s the cool thing about this is that’s a team, and there were some nice things said in (the locker room) from the heart,” Meyer said afterward.
“We win as a team and we … win as a team. At the end of the day we’re going to find a way to win No. 8 as a team.”
Before Meyer came to Columbus as the new head coach this year, there had been 20 OSU teams in the program’s 121-year history to start a season with a 7-0 record. The last three Ohio State teams to do that (2002, 2006-07) all played in the BCS National Championship game.
Fun With Numbers
Of the 21 Ohio State teams who started a season 7-0 before this current team, three of them played under Jim Tressel and four of them under John Cooper. Earle Bruce had one season which started with a 7-0 record, and it happened to be his first year after taking over the program for legendary head coach Woody Hayes.
Hayes coached 28 years in Columbus and had eight seasons which started with seven straight victories, including four-consecutive years from 1972-75. The common denominator? Some guy named Archie.
The first OSU team to start a season 7-0 was back in 1900 under head coach David F. Edwards, but most of the teams that have done it since then have had at least one legendary superstar player on the roster.
That includes the 1916-17 teams under head coach John W. Wilce, which featured Chic Harley, the first true football star in Ohio State history. Les Horvath would lead the 1944 Buckeyes to a 7-0 start on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy, and the same can be said for Howard “Hopalong” Cassady in 1954.
Quarterback Rex Kern led the Buckeyes to three-straight 7-0 starts from 1968-70, a number which was almost immediately topped by Archie Griffin. The two-time Heisman Trophy winner led OSU to four-straight 7-0 starts from 1972-75. Those would be the last four teams to do accomplish that feat under Hayes before he was fired in 1978.
Earle Bruce began his OSU coaching career with a 7-0 start to the 1979 season. That team went 11-0 before losing to USC by a point in the Rose Bowl. Bruce never started another season better than 4-0 the rest of his OSU career.
He was replaced by John Cooper in 1988 and Coop had four years in the 90s where his teams began with a 7-0 record. The first was in 1993, when Bobby Hoying, Raymont Harris and Joey Galloway led the Buckeyes to a 10-1-1 season.
Cooper’s ’95 team, which featured Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George and Outland Trophy winner Orlando Pace, started the year with 11 straight wins before dropping the last two against Michigan and Tennessee. Ohio State had another 11-0 start the next season, even without George, but Cooper couldn’t clear the Michigan hurdle that year either.
His ’98 team started 7-0 and beat Michigan, 31-16, but who could forget the blunder against Michigan State two weeks earlier?
Then of course there was Tressel, who had three teams start 7-0, including the 2002 BCS National Champions. In fact, all three of Tressel’s teams that started 7-0 at least played in the national title game.
Not So Much Fun With Numbers
The 49 points allowed by the Buckeyes against Indiana were the most by an OSU team since 1994, and just the fifth time since that Ohio State has allowed an opponent to eclipse the 40-point barrier.
Only one time in 10 years did a team score 40 points on a Tressel-coached Buckeye team, and that was Urban Meyer in the 2007 BCS National Title game.
Cooper had six teams which allowed 40 points or more in a game, including that 63-point fiasco against Penn State in 1994. Cooper’s team also gave up 40+ points to Indiana in a loss in Bloomington back in 1988. That was Cooper's first year, and they lost 42-10 at Pitt and 41-7 at Indiana.
Earle Bruce was the coach the last, and only, time Ohio State played in a shootout where both teams scored over 40 points. A 49-42 win over Illinois back in 1980 was one of only two games where an Earle Bruce-coached team allowed 40+ points. The other was a 40-17 loss at Washington in 1986.
Woody Hayes allowed 40+ points in a game just three times in 28 years at Ohio State, and all three were losses, including the 1973 Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes lost that one, 42-17, to USC, but they got revenge the next year with a 42-21 win over the Trojans.
Before Hayes took the job in 1951, Ohio State had allowed 40+ points in a game just three times since 1905 (all of them against Michigan). Paul Bixler’s coaching tenure lasted just one year, but that was enough to take a 58-6 drubbing at the hands of the Wolverines.
Paul Brown lost to the Maize and Blue, 45-7 in 1943 – one of only two losses to the school up north – and Franicis Schmidt suffered a 40-0 setback in Columbus against No. 7 Michigan back in 1940.
Prior to 1905, the Buckeyes used to regularly take bad defeats, like the 64-0 loss to Wooster in 1890, the 50-0 loss to Oberlin in 1892 and the 86-0 loss at Michigan in 1902.
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