The Streak

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Last updated: 11/19/2013 9:35 PM
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Football
From the Depths Arose The Streak
By Rob Ogden

Coming off the school's first losing season since 1988, Ohio State quarterback Kenny Guiton could have never foreseen a 22-game winning streak in the Buckeyes' future.

"I never would have guessed that," Guiton said. "We all left the Gator Bowl with a sour taste. We didn't know what the future would hold. We weren't headed in the right direction at the time."

Ohio State has since reeled off 22-straight wins following that Jan., 2012 loss in the Gator Bowl and is on the verge of setting the school's all-time mark for a consecutive wins.

To see just how far the team has come in those 23 months, senior center Corey Linsley looked back.

"Coming from that moment, it's a whole 'nother world away," Linsley said. "There's a lot of reasons why we were 6-7 and why we're undefeated now but regardless I think we've done nothing but worked hard and earned this spot.

"It's been one heck of a ride. Just a lot of stuff thrown at us. For the guys that stuck it out, through everything, through the ups and downs, it's absolutely been worth it."

The ups are obvious. The nation's longest-active win streak. The school's sixth undefeated season. A Big Ten Leaders Division Championship. The chance to clinch another on Saturday. 

The lows stuck out in Linsley's mind, as well.

"Losing to that team up North," Linsley said. "After that game everybody was like, 'We haven't lost to these guys in forever.' There were two classes that went through and never lost to them.

"I don't think anybody really wanted to be at the Gator Bowl and obviously that wasn't our expectation going into the season. Those were the darkest moments."

Saturday, the Buckeyes get the chance to add another 'up' to the list. In 124 years of Ohio State football, a 23-game win streak would be longest.

With 4-6 Indiana coming to town, there isn't much doubt that the Buckeyes will get it. But for now, they're not thinking about it.

"Things like the win streak and clinching the Leaders Division, it's a lot of pressure on you and to concentrate on that stuff produces nothing but anxiety and stress," Linsley said.

"At the end of this game, if we get this win then that will be a heck of an accomplishment, but right now we're just focused on beating Indiana. Because Indiana doesn't really care about our win streak. After we get it, it will resonate. But right now, I didn't even know what our record was two weeks ago and I think that was the feeling on the team, too."

That certainly is the feeling of coach Urban Meyer, who said few of his words were devoted to the streak when addressing his team this week.

"I think someday you'll be able to look back and reflect. Now is not that time. We have too much work to do," Meyer said. "To have our name even in that breath is almost as overwhelming. But if you spend too much time on it ... We spent, I think, 30 seconds on it, then moved on."

Meyer is a seasoned veteran when it comes to handling such streaks. This marks the third time he has led teams to win streaks of 20 or more games. Although 23 would be new territory. Meyer's longest winning streak at previous stops was 22 at Florida between 2008 and 2009.

If Ohio State wins Saturday, it will surpass the previous OSU record, set between 1967 and 1969.

The last streak Ohio State passed in the record book was 19 games, set between 2005 and 2006. Meyer is responsible for ending that one, and Guiton said Meyer is responsible for getting the current one to where it is.

"After the 2011 season, I didn't know the demeanor of the head guy coming in," Guiton said, "but once I met him, I knew he would get it in the right direction."

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