OSU on Opening Day: What Buffalo is Up Against

By Michael Citro on August 28, 2013 at 11:15a
For Buffalo, a house of pain.

We’re just three days away from the 2013 season opener against the Buffalo Bulls, who may not realize exactly what they’re up against in this inaugural meeting between the schools.

Ohio State is riding the nation’s longest winning streak (12) and has a long history of success on opening day, clowning opponents almost every year. The Buckeyes are 107-12-4 in opening games since the university began fielding a football squad in 1890. That’s nearly an 89% winning percentage in the opener over the course of 123 years of Ohio State football.

A third of those opening day losses came before 1895. Another happened in 1943 to something called the Iowa Seahawks — a U.S. Navy pre-flight school at the University of Iowa. Considering the 41-12 OSU win in the previous year’s meeting between the two teams, the Buckeyes no doubt threw that 1943 contest (28-13) to buoy the spirits of those future defenders of freedom during a tumultuous global political climate. Everyone else did too. The Seahawks went 9-1 in 1943 and finished No. 2 in the AP poll. #TheMoreYouKnow

Returning to modern times, the Buckeyes have celebrated a victory on opening day every year since 2000. With 13 consecutive wins in openers, Ohio State trails only Nebraska (27), Florida (23), USC and Wisconsin (15 each) for the longest current winning streak in the season’s first game.

The Buckeyes are 32-2 in the last 34 season openers, with both losses coming at neutral sites against marquee programs. Ohio State dropped the 1986 opener in the Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium in New Jersey against No. 5 Alabama, 16-10. In 1999, the Bucks again fell in East Rutherford, dropping a 23-12 season opener against the University of Miami, ranked No. 12 at the time.

The opening day numbers are even better at home. The Buckeyes have won 34 home openers in a row, dating back to a loss to No. 5 Penn State back on Sept. 16, 1978. Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions served up a 19-0 smackdown on Woody Hayes that day, against freshman quarterback Art Schlichter, in what would become Woody’s final season. That was nothing compared to the inaugural home opener. Those jerks from Wooster curb stomped the good guys back in 1890, 64-0. Ouch. #NeverForget For some reason, I can’t find the box score on the internet. Oh well.

We imagine Buckeye Nation was calling for Alexander Lilley’s head after the debacle of 1890.

Overall, Ohio State is 111-8-4 (91.8%) in home openers. The percentage improves when you toss out the 28-2-2 mark predating Ohio Stadium. In the Horseshoe, the Buckeyes are 83-6-2 (92.3%) on opening day.

Over the last ten years, Ohio State has averaged a 38-9 victory on opening day, with two shutouts (42-0 over Akron in 2011 and 43-0 over Youngstown State in 2008). The defensive outlier is 2009, which saw Navy score 27 points in a 31-27 OSU win. That was also the largest opening day crowd in Ohio Stadium history, with 105,092 showing up to watch the Buckeyes take down the Midshipmen (albeit in a scary and way-too-close-for-comfort fashion).

While Ohio State has been fantastic in season openers, its head coach has been flawless. Urban Meyer is 11-0 in his career on opening day, with an average margin of victory of 31.3 points. Although Ohio State’s closest opening day in the last 11 years was 2009, it was also Meyer’s largest Week 1 victory. His Florida Gators chomped hapless Charleston Southern 62-3 that season.

As if Ohio State’s opening day prowess wasn’t enough of a worry for the Bulls, the Buckeyes are also killing it against unranked non-conference opponents in the Shoe. Ohio State has won 61 straight games against such opponents on home turf. The last time the Scarlet & Gray fell to an unranked non-conference team on their own soil was on Oct. 2, 1982, when Florida State won in Columbus, 34-17. As Buffalo doesn’t currently appear on the AP Top 25, you have to like Ohio State’s chances.

Then there’s the Buckeyes’ record against the Mid-American Conference. Ohio State holds a 28-1 (96.6%) all-time record against teams currently in the MAC.

Buckle up, Buffalo.


Comments Show All Comments


Not worried at all about Buffalo. More worried about our DL depth now. Get well quickly, Tommy. Buffalo is still outmatched. Go Bucks!

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

Oyster's picture

Never look past an opponent.  That will be the toughest part of the game plan for Coach Meyer this week, hopefully the players listen.

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

jdagrava.1's picture

Good point, just ask the boys Up North.  :)

"It takes a little something special to be a great player.  What you got in you, we're going to find out.  And if there's a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?"

-Urban F. Meyer

geoffrsc's picture

That never gets old.

AeroBuckeye2001's picture

Always brings a smile to my face...

The Ohio State University Class of 2001

BS Aero & Astronautical Engineering

BrewstersMillions's picture

That really is one thing that never plagued him at Florida. The losses Meyer took were seldom, if ever, to inferior opponents. The obvious example is the Ole Miss-Tim Tebow super speech-game but Florida went on to claim title number 2 in pretty convincing fashion after that loss so woe onto he who plays a Meyer coached team after a bad loss.
I'm with you in that you can't over look teams. The NCAA's decision to limit the scholarships a team  really dispersed talent and its why you see teams playing and hanging and sometimes beating teams that normally slaughtered them. Guys are opting to start at Buffalo over riding the pines at Ohio State and its made football better in my opinion.
With that said, Meyer doesn't overlook anyone. He's too fear full of defeat. They'll be prepared, Buffalo is toast.

Oyster's picture

I realize that coaches are prepared and know that things happen, I am concerned that the players may not get it.  I'm sure Carr didn't look past Appy, but his players sure did.  The word on the street is that some were even high when they came out to play. 

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

BrewstersMillions's picture

Not to get too far into a Carr V. Meyer debate because, you know, Carr beat Urban in his last game...but there is a feeling that this team has completely bought into Meyer and his staff's teaching and preaching about The Chase. These dudes appear to have a chip on their shoulder and I get the vibe that every team between them and Alabama is trying to steal from them. 

Oyster's picture

It's still a young team and I always lean on the side of caution.  As for Carr and his last game, I give his players credit for that win as a parting gift.  He was stacked with senior leaders that willed him that game.  Think about it, all the Hart fumbles and they still kept playing?  That is senior leadership at it's finest. 

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

TennesseeBuckeye's picture

Nice story, love history, was there for the '78 Penn State crushing, I was hoping Rod Gerald would have started that year, with Art getting some snaps, oh well.

I may not be able to outsmart too many people, but I can outwork 'em.
Woody Hayes

buckz4evr's picture

Isn't Buffalo projected to win the MAC?  I hope they are that good.  At least it will give us some competition instead of playing a total cupcake. 

Michael Citro's picture

Most of the predictions I've seen have Buffalo in the middle of the pack in the MAC East this year, on the cusp of becoming, or barely becoming, bowl eligible.

OSUStu's picture

Seems like some suspect predictions from the Plain Dealer.  I don't think even the Buffalo blogs predict them to be at the top of the MAC.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

BROSEPH's picture

They return a lot of starters, most in the country I believe.  They are a 79 or 80 overall on NCAA video game, if that's worth anything, that's near the top for MAC schools.  I think they'll be decent.

Poe McKnoe's picture

Turner Gill don't work here no more.

RunEddieRun1983's picture

It's going to be a slaughter.  My guess is 63-10 with a garbage time TD by the bulls in the fourth quarter over most of our Freshmen.

I don't always downvote, but I do always downvote a Michigan fan trolling the Buckeye boards.

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

Mike Mitchell might have something to say about that.

jdagrava.1's picture

Iowa Pre-Flight.... pretty bad-ass if you ask me.

"It takes a little something special to be a great player.  What you got in you, we're going to find out.  And if there's a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?"

-Urban F. Meyer

droessl's picture

In today's video prediction, the role of Buffalo will be played by Vitor Belfort

Dougger's picture

impressive that Urban is 11-0 considering he coached at a MAC school himself for two years. Looked into it, they beat Missouri (!!) the first year, and Tennessee Tech the next year. Not bad.

I like football


I have pondered from time to time if I was in fact considered a jerk by my peers.  However, I now know that as a Wooster grad that I am indeed a "jerk."  I know the loss still stings and feels like it was just yesterday but try and curb those harsh feelings.  At least it was to an Ohio team and not the ttun. 

Michael Citro's picture

My God, I had no idea any of our commenters were on that 1890 team. Figured I was safe insulting anyone 141-144 years old.