Evanston 2013 as East Lansing 2012

By Jeff Beck on October 7, 2013 at 2:30p
Parallel Universe Braxton

"A great team win. We found out something about our team today, to go on the road in a hostile environment against a quality, quality football team and find a way to win."

That’s coach Urban Meyer talking last season about the Buckeyes’ big win vs. #20 Michigan State, but it easily could have come during the Northwestern post-game presser. That’s because the two games felt eerily similar. Meyer has continually cited the 2012 Michigan State game as the moment his 12-0 Buckeyes went from average to great. On a soggy field in Evanston the 2013 edition may have experienced the sequel.

The parallels in the two games are certainly there. In both contests, the Scarlet and Gray were playing their first B1G road game against a ranked opponent in a raucous environment. Both games also saw a less than perfect Braxton Miller turn the ball over three times, contributing to a second half opponent lead. Luckily for Ohio State, Miller was able to find his poise in both contests, converting 70+ yard drives in each to put the Buckeyes up for good.

The 2012 game was important because it was a moment where the team began to play for eachother, ultimately drowning out the noise that only an NCAA sanction can create.

The 2013 team has a different kind of noise, the kind only a weak conference can generate. Finally bowl-eligible, these undefeated Buckeyes have the chance to do what their predecessors couldn’t, but will the national perception stand in the way of that goal? Only time will tell, and there’s a lot of football to be played, but rest assured you’ll hear about the perceived weakness of the B1G until the final whistle. Nevermind an Oregon squad that’s playing in a conference with only one other true threat (no need to analyze that media types…just walk over this way and you’ll see our 339 different uniform combinations as well as our marquee win against a terrible Tennessee squad).

SolidarityWinning for eachother.

The Michigan State game also allowed Meyer to finally get a glimpse at what he had. Up until that point, his Buckeyes hadn’t experienced a true test. Despite playing down to their competition in each of the first four games, Ohio State had yet to meet an equal on the football field. In East Lansing, that’s exactly what they got. The trial by fire afforded the team the confidence and resolve to reel off the next seven.

In many ways, the game last Saturday was the first true glimpse at the 2013 squad. Essentially, this is what Meyer will have to work with for the remainder of the season. All players are back from suspension, while an injured Christian Bryant isn’t coming back (at least not in the near future). There are certainly areas that need to get better quickly (looking at you secondary), but that is the beauty of college football. The good teams get better as the season wears on.

The 2012 Buckeyes weren’t playing their best ball after the Michigan State game, in fact, they wouldn’t play to their full potential for another whole month. Despite wins piling up en masse the defense would give up an average of 33 points per game in October. It’s hard to win ‘em all when you’re giving up over 4 TDs an outing. But, the 2012 squad learned from each game, becoming more formidable as the schedule charged into November. In the team’s last three games, they were playing some of the best defense in the country.

The hope is this trajectory can be repeated in 2013. Surely by now you’ve read all of the doom and gloom pieces regarding this team’s secondary. Yes, they gave up 343 yards through the air. That needs to be corrected. Soon. The good news is, it can be. Quality talent coupled with relentless coaching yields a team that gets better week to week. The team that gave up 49 points to Indiana in 2012 wasn’t the same team that held UM’s Devin Gardner to just 171 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT (previously averaging 278 yards passing and 4 total TDs per game).

Last year’s Michigan State game was a jumping off point for a storybook season. It was a rallying cry for the team, and a warning shot to the rest of the conference that the team was for real. We may have just witnessed a similar moment on the banks of Lake Michigan.


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Hoody Wayes's picture

Or Buckeyes 2013, as Buckeyes 2012?

jeremytwoface's picture

This is plastered on almost every locker at the WHAC.....

And when we win the game, we'll buy a keg of boooooooooze!! And we'll drink to old Ohio 'till we wobble in our shoes.

ChazBuckeye's picture

Great article Jeff.  This was exactly what I was thinking after the game Saturday night (before I drank myself into oblivion).  I was hoping thinking the comparisons were very similar to 2012 MSU game and the game against NW.  We can always be optimistic right...

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

ChillitownBuck30's picture

This is a good article.  This comparison had never crossed my mind.  Well done.  If the Buckeye defense improves (mainly the secondary) like it did last year...man oh man...it will be a sight to see.  

“Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself.”

buckeyeEddie27's picture

Dead on.  My buddy and I were thinking the same thing at half time.  I had visions of Urban doing his "open your heart" motions from last year.

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

jthiel09's picture

Great article, and also reminded me of the comparison of that game to this ... and you are right they are really similar (except for the fact that this Northwestern team is legit and a potential top 10 team by the time the end of the season, post bowl game). I have no doubt Urban & Company will rally the guys and show us the true potential of this team. As far as the national media, we aren't going to change any ones opinions no matter what so let's just keep on winning and let the rest of the country squabble over the SEC and PAC 12.


njclebuckeye5's picture

thanks, Jeff. Great article and perspective.
I don't know about anyone else but this just gets me even more pumped that we beat a dangerous team on the road and came from behind multiple times. This team could have folded, but they played with heart. 

Lobs it to the endzone... Touchdown Devin Smith!!

SaltyD0gg's picture

Do we have someone in the offensive backfield that can play DB? I mean, if we want to follow last year's script...

Pain of Discipline

Pain of Regret

Take Your Pick


The optimist in me really wants to believe this. I truly believe the team's biggest challenge is overcoming the mental mistakes. Turnovers and blown coverages are mostly mental breakdowns. Our athleticism and effort have NEVER been the issue. These guys will run through a brick wall for Coach Meyer. 
A hallmark of a great team is it wins when it shouldn't. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt because i love them, but also because it seems not a lot of people are. It takes time to build what coach Meyer is trying to build. I DO see progress and I DO see improvement. That's all any of us can ask of them. Does anyone remember where we were just 2 years ago? I do. We are LIGHT YEARS ahead of that.

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

KLF Buckeye's picture

"That needs to be corrected. Soon. The good news is, it can be. Quality talent coupled with relentless coaching yields a team that gets better week to week."
That is the comforting thing about having this coaching staff. The deficiencies that make me nervous can absolutely be fixed.

Buckeye419er's picture

Couldn't agree more. I think this bye week couldn't have came at a better time. Now they have two weeks to iron out the creases. They should come back strong and show us what they've learned. I am also optimistic about what this defense can eventually become. 

There can be only one

ibuck's picture

Hopefully, the coaches can identify and correct the "I guys," who let the team down by going for big hits (rather than wrapping on tackles) or who hope for interceptions by watching the QB rather than staying with their man. Appearing on ESPN is the ultimate for an I-guy. 
If they can, the DBs and whole D will play better, and yield fewer yards AND points. (Is Roby an I-guy?)

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

Paulillo's picture

I disagree about Stanford being the only true threat to Oregon in the Pac12. I think Washington looks legit after a close game against Stanford. I guess we'll find out how good they are shortly, since they play Oregon on Saturday.

Buckeye.383's picture

I remain optimistic about this team and the defense's ability to correct its mistakes sooner rather than later. There is plenty of athleticism and potential, and I believe the coaching staff would get things in order, especially with a bye week. 
It's nice to see the optimism....it's a nice change from all the pessimistic posts and headlines from both Buckeye fans and 'outsiders'.  

Born, raised, educated, and will die a Buckeye ~ BuckeyeNation

BammBammRiley's picture

Agree with article and commented during live game chat about possibly being a defining game as last years Michigan State game.

I would say, classifying the environment as "hostile" is highly debatable and subjective, unless we mean hostile to NU. Friendly road game to say the least.

BammBamm is my dog, Riley is my 4 yr old daughter, and THE Ohio state Buckeyes complete the three most sacred loves I cherish

Seattle Linga's picture

Deep down inside those Silver Bullets there is a champion in each one and correct me if I am wrong I know that we will witness a much different and more focused team on the back half. Go Buckeyes! 

Hovenaut's picture

This should be mandatory reading for the sky is falling crowd.

Well done.

Timmah's picture

I guess the only issue I have with the comparison is that we don't have anybody on offense that we can switch over and help the defense in the area greatest need like last year.  Boren really helped fill the gap at linebacker last year, this year  I think we need more secondary help and one guy isn't going to fix it.


Go Bucks!

Stinson's picture

Just beat Iowa...

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." -Wayne Woodrow Hayes

pjtobin's picture

Great read. How do our coaches "fix" our d? What are some of the thoughts from 11w users? I have no clue. I'm just a fan. Not a coach. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

INTLBUCK's picture

I've asked before, if we finish the season undefeated we will be 25-0. Will that count for nothing with the voters?
Do we have to go 38-0 to get a shot???????

will0327's picture

Right its almost like we have to do the impossible to earn respect ....like it or not this team is on a historic run and we all should appreciate this team much more than we do. 


will0327's picture

Think about the storylines with this team lol just think 
1. We were hit with sanctions in 2011 and the world was falling around us...
2. when all was lost ....we hit the jackpot with landing Urban 
3. Its really ironic that Meyer and 08 Gators championship game is what started\kicked off the BigTen stigma/hate that the Bigten is slow and not really good
4. Now he is leading the team that is fighting so hard against that stigma that we are not good or too slow .....lol its wild 
5. The team goes 12-0 in his first season. Yea wild
6. They continue to win with all these different stories like with Kenny G and Jhall ....the great freshman class 
7. We lose our defensive senior captain 
8. After coming back from suspension Carlos breaks down shows how much he loves this game and his teammates ...just special
This is like a movie ....how can you not love this team


You can't spell chump without UM's picture

This is random but I read that because of that touchdown on the last play against Northwestern, it saved people a combined total of 100 million dollars who bet on the game. 

Brady Hoke ate my comment

ScarletNGrey01's picture

That's wild.  So a lot more people went with the over than the under eh (sorry if I have that backwards, I don't really follow sports betting)?

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Only time will tell, and there’s a lot of football to be played, but rest assured you’ll hear about the perceived weakness of the B1G until the final whistle.

Because none of the other conferences that are perceived to be stronger than the B1G have doormats?  Colorado, USC, and Oregon State...total powerhouse teams.  Duke, Wake Forest, and Syracuse...absolute football factories.  Arkansas, Kentucky, and Auburn...BCS title contenders.  Yep....the B1G is totally a terrible conference from top to bottom UNLIKE all the conferences with ESPiN affiliations...
Don't get me wrong.  The B1G hasn't helped their national perception on the field, but realistically, the other conferences have crap a$$ teams that suck or don't even make bowl games too.

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama