Urban Legend? Not Anymore, Meyers Records First Big Ten Win
Urban Meyer and his Ohio State Buckeyes breezed through their non-conference schedule defeating their first 4 opponents by a combined score of 151-85. Meyer’s first Big Ten game would have his 14th ranked Buckeyes on the road in Lansing against the #20 ranked Michigan State Spartans. It would like be a defensive struggle with two of the better defenses in all of college football facing off against two run first offenses. Ohio State’s offense is solely focused around QB Braxton Miller who is the team’s leading passer and rusher, while the Spartans really on a ground and pound offense led by RB Le’Veon Bell.
It was indeed a defensive struggle and the two teams combined to score just 10 points in the first half, with the Buckeyes leading 7-3. Braxton Miller was on the wrong end of a few vicious hits and was checked on the sidelines twice during this game; however he kept shaking off the hits and returning under center. Miller was 16-23 with 179 passing yards, 1 TD and 1 interception, while leading the team with another 136 rushing yards on 23 attempts. Philly Brown pulled in 12 of Miller’s 16 completions for 84 yards but the play of the game came when Miller found Devin Smith for a 63 yard go-ahead TD late in the 3rd quarter to make it 17-13.
The Spartans were right where they needed to be going into the final quarter of the game, but they just couldn’t get that big play necessary. They would drive down the field and squeak out a 48 yard field goal to make it a 1 point game 17-16 with just over 7 minutes to play. Michigan State’s offense was impacted by the Buckeyes, especially Le’Veon Bell. Bell rushed the ball just 17 times but just kept getting hit near the line of scrimmage, something he wasn’t used to happening through the early part of this season. In Bell’s previous 117 rush attempts, prior to today’s game, he was hit on just 48 of those plays within two yards of the line of scrimmage. He had accumulated 610 yards on those 117 rush attempts with 5 TDs, but against the Buckeyes he was hit within two yards of the line of scrimmage 15 of his 17 rushes. He would finish the game with just 45 yards and a 2.6 yards per carry average, well below his season average.
Ohio State was able to hold on to their 17-16 victory and earned Urban Meyer’s first official Big Ten W and he became just the 5th Buckeyes Head Coach to start his first season 5-0. This is really all for nothing though because due to sanctions on the team Ohio State is ineligible to win the Big Ten Title.