Ohio State Football Notebook: One-Game Season for Buckeyes

By Kyle Rowland on November 26, 2013 at 5:00p
43 Comments
Ohio State goes for two in a row over their hated rivals.

Three games remain on Ohio State’s schedule and the one this Saturday is actually the least exciting and important. Blasphemy and truth meshing for the first time.

Next week, Ohio State will play Michigan State for the right to go to the Rose Bowl and possibly the national championship game. Still, in the annals of time, it’s difficult to find an Ohio State-Michigan game where the Buckeyes looked elsewhere. Even during the Rich Rodriguez era, The Game was still the most anticipated spot on the schedule.

But this year presents almost unprecedented circumstances with the Big Ten Championship Game looming. Not since 1942 has Ohio State played a game the week after Michigan. Fans surely are hoping for the same result, though. The Buckeyes won their first national championship that season with head coach Paul Brown at the helm. 

To accomplish that mission and complete The Chase, Ohio State must stay geared toward its archrival.

“When you walk into the hallways all you hear is ‘It’s Time For War,’” junior linebacker Ryan Shazier said. “You can just tell through practice, even the players, you can just tell that we’re intense when we go through our drills. You can just see the look in [Coach Meyer’s] eyes, and you can just tell that he wants to win so bad in this game.”

Meyer made it clear to his team that they’ll receive Michigan’s best shot, regardless of what their recent play indicates.

“It’s a one-game season for us right now,” senior left tackle Jack Mewhort said. “All we’re worried about is the one in front of us. It’s The Game. That’s all we’re focused on. We’ll handle the other stuff when we get there. For now, there’s only one game that matters.”

WEEEEEE!Braxton Miller's definition of fun.

Action Braxton

Each week, Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde, Ryan Shazier or another talented Buckeye wows spectators with a memorable performance. It’s become commonplace to witness career-defining games. The three aforementioned players all delivered in full on Saturday, but it was Miller who played a starring role in two of the biggest highlights of the season.

First came a flip into the end zone on a 37-yard touchdown run, and then Miller, lining up at wide receiver, took a handoff from Kenny Guiton and went heels-over-head for a touchdown. It didn’t matter where he lined up, Indiana wasn’t going to stop him.

Miller finished with 144 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 13 attempts. He accounted for nearly 65 percent of Ohio State’s offense.

“I was just having a little bit of fun,” said Miller, who didn’t wear a knee brace for the first time since September.

It was a much less exciting play that Meyer found memorable, though it did result in a first down when one wasn’t expected. Facing 3rd and 17 with the snow falling and wind swirling, Miller connected with tight end Jeff Heuerman who was sprinting up the seam.

“That is his best play at quarterback since we’ve been here,” Meyer gushed. “That is his best and he knows it, I know it, Tom Herman knows it.” He went one step further, as well, saying it’d be hard to bring up a game where Miller played better overall.

Herman enjoyed watching his pupil from the press box, but he was worried on both touchdown runs. He feared a flag would come out for unsportsmanlike conduct on the first and dreaded Miller being injured on the second, wishing that he had thrown the ball instead of running it.

There were three passes Miller delivered that stuck with Herman – the throw to Heuerman that Meyer mentioned, another deep pass to the tight end and a 39-yard touchdown pass for Devin Smith on a post route.

“Three unbelievable throws,” Herman said. “I came away from the game thinking he played really, really hard, and that’s encouraging.”

On tap is a trip to Ann Arbor, and Meyer believes his quarterback and team are peaking at just the right time. It’s probably too late for him to jump back into the Heisman discussion due to three missed games in September, but Miller could get an invite to New York. Those three games serve as an albatross for now. It’s likely Miller would be the front-runner entering the stretch run if not for a sprained MCL.

Instead, he’ll attempt to give himself a winning record against the maize and blue. Miller is currently 1-1, but his statistics in both games were eye-popping. He’s a combined 28-of-43 passing for 424 yard with three touchdowns and an interception and 157 yards rushing and a touchdown.

“I feel we’re getting better and better each week. Braxton Miller is a different quarterback than he was,” Meyer said. “People make the comment about him having fun – he’s having fun because he knows what he’s doing. He’s confident in the personnel around him, and that was not the case last year.

“He knows where people are. He knows the protections. He’s playing quarterback.”

Michigan Finds Confidence During Rough Stretch

The goals at Michigan have changed drastically during the course of the season. First, it was a Big Ten championship, then a 10-win season. Now, the Wolverines are just hoping to play spoiler against Ohio State, though head coach Brady Hoke refused to acknowledge that role.

Hoke led a rare Monday practice for Michigan and was encouraged by the results. The spirited session served as a confidence booster for a coach and program that have languished for six weeks.

“We don't talk about that," Hoke said about spoiling Ohio State’s season. “We’ve never mentioned it, and I won’t. It’s not about them, it's about us. That’s the way it's always been.

“If I have to say something like that to motivate the guys in our locker room, then those guys shouldn’t be in our locker room.”

Taylor Lewan, a senior offensive lineman who spurned the NFL a year ago, said Michigan’s heart is what could lead the upset-minded Wolverines over the Buckeyes. Lewan has been a source of controversy for much of the season. His play has regressed and a tussle against Michigan State looked dirty on his part.

“This team believes in themselves,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what any media, any fan or anybody thinks about this team. The only thing that matters is the guys in the locker room believe. If we have 115 guys believing, we can win.”

They may be the only 115 people in the state of Michigan who feel the Wolverines can end Ohio State’s school-record 23-game win streak. Las Vegas has tabbed the Buckeyes as a 13-point favorite. Both team’s offenses are the focus.

Ohio State sports the Big Ten’s best unit, scoring 49 points per game, rushing for 315 yards per game and totaling 531 yards of total offense every Saturday. At the opposite end of that spectrum is a Michigan offense that’s been downright offensive.

The Wolverines’ November has been forgettable. They had back-to-back- games of negative rushing yards and have compiled just 886 yards from scrimmage in the past four games – 130 of those are rushing yards, producing an abysmal average.

Hoke said he’s very confident Michigan can win Saturday or else he’d just cancel the game.

“I’d call down there to Columbus and say, ‘We won’t do it,’” Hoke said, tongue firmly in cheek.

When pressed about Ohio State’s recent success, Lewan flipped the script and said this week’s preparation and Saturday’s game isn’t about the Buckeyes.

“This is not about Ohio. I’m talking about the University of Michigan. One hundred thirty-four years of Michigan football, most wins in college football. I’m talking about that right now. Our defense will play. Our offense needs to be more consistent. We worked on that [Monday] morning, and we’re going to work on that all week. The guys understand what kind of rivalry it is.

“I’m not talking about Ohio. I’m talking about the University of Michigan.”

43 Comments

Comments

45has2's picture

And no better coach to lead The Buckeyes into their first B1G championship game after The Game and then into a BCS bowl than Urban Freakin' Meyer. He's been there and done that......twice.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

jedkat's picture

Oh Taylor....

“The teams that don’t respect their coaches and don’t trust their coaches are the teams that go .500"
~Zach Boren

FitzBuck's picture

I want to see his face when The Ohio State University comes out of the tunnel and he looks at Hoke and says "what happened to the bobcats?"  

Fitzbuck

Toledo - Ohio's right armpit 

"A troll by any other name is still a troll". 

 

45has2's picture

And no better coach to lead The Buckeyes into their first B1G championship game after The Game and then into a BCS bowl than Urban Freakin' Meyer. He's been there and done that......more than once.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Stay focused Buckeyes and take care of business by dragging that smelly wolverine carcass back behind the woodshed for a good ole fashion ass kicking!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

dubjayfootball90's picture

I can't wait to see Lewan get rocked

Seattle Linga's picture

“When you walk into the hallways all you hear is ‘It’s Time For War,’” junior linebacker Ryan Shazier said. “You can just tell through practice, even the players, you can just tell that we’re intense when we go through our drills. You can just see the look in [Coach Meyer’s] eyes, and you can just tell that he wants to win so bad in this game.”
That phrase alone gets me so amped up for Saturday - I can't sleep at night!

Dougger's picture

I also read that quote and immediately lost my sh.t. LETS GO GET THAT W BOYS

I like football

buckeyedude's picture

Kind of would like to see Kalis get rocked as well, Dubjay. I'm sure Lewan will be bleeding before it's over.

 
 

osu_killernuts's picture

So it's ga_e 12, week 14 of the college football season including the bye weeks...and Taylor Lewan has an epiphany that their offense needs to be _ore consistent and they are working on that this week.....now that sh!t is funny!!
I am even _ore confident in the tOSU e_barrassing TTUN after cHoke's and Lewan's input.

TNbuckeye91's picture

You left an "m" in i am

Hovenaut's picture

EDIT

"You left an '_' in I a_."

"Success - it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Turn your _-slicer in i__ediately, _ister!
 

buckz4evr's picture

So glad to hear that Lewan is focused on their 134 year old history, because we are focused on kicking their ass.  Hmmm. I wonder who is win.

ATXbucknut's picture

Cherry picked moments from the past is all ichigan has to go on this year...

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I hope Urban showed the team the 2011 game.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Spider1944's picture

Ya well Hoke is no Bo!

"There are 3 things that can happen and 2 of them are bad" - the Curse of Woody Hayes

Doc's picture

Please beat the living hell out of those shit s_okers fro_ TSUN.  Bloody Hell, I'_ ready for Saturday!

"Say my name."

TMac's picture

'42 history is interesting. They played and beat Iowa Pre-Flight the week after beating _*ch*gan.  Iowa Pre-Flight had beaten _*ch*gan 6 weeks earlier in that '42 season and finished 7-3. 

osubuck57's picture

Living off past successes will never get you a "W" last I checked!! Ga_e On!!

SCOTTC.

cinserious's picture

One hundred thirty-four years of Michigan football, most wins in college football. I’m talking about that right now.

I'm sure somewhere back in antiquity Harvard boasted those same words...
Pride comes before the fall, but what delusional nut case still has pride in that factory of filth up north?

"Get him a body bag, Yeah!"

Spider1944's picture

I agree. Hoke might as well have shown them "Miracle on Forty-first Street". Yes Virginia there is an Ohio STATE University. 

"There are 3 things that can happen and 2 of them are bad" - the Curse of Woody Hayes

BlockO's picture

The only thing better than going 11-0 is the chance to go 12-0 in ann arbor and kicking the living shit out of (tlun)ichigan! #OH

"faith seeking understanding” (fides quaerens intellectum)

harleymanjax's picture

Taylor talking about "134 years of _ichigan football, _ost wins in history".........I got news for ya Taylor, Fielding Yost ain't walking through that door on Saturday, so take your ass whooping like a good little boy now!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

SLVRBLLTS's picture

If we stop Jeremy Gallon we'll win by 50

"Because we couldn't go for three"

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

I hate when TTUN goes to the _ost wins argu_ent - s_ells strongly of losing

Seattle Linga's picture

They count beating Ann Arbor High School in that record from the 1800's - only they would do that, it's embarrassing. 

Spider1944's picture

Ya! Kind of sounds like "Well my Dad will whip your dad's...

"There are 3 things that can happen and 2 of them are bad" - the Curse of Woody Hayes

DenBuck's picture

I hope we rip their f**king hearts out and then piss on their 50 yard line...

Buckeye For Life

BuckeyeStrong1993's picture

haha i laughed out loud ^.

GoBucks!

Hovenaut's picture

On one hand, I think to _yself what are Hoke, Lewan and all supposed to say?

On the other, they're out of their frickin' _inds.

"Success - it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

I think we can, even as fans, sense the focus of the players this particular year under this staff.
It is a _asterpiece that will only add to the Urban _yth.
And Buckeye Lore.
 

buckguyfan1's picture

Bosa will quickly re_ind Lewan that this is 2013. 

Poison nuts's picture

It’s not about them, it's about us. That’s the way it's always been.

_ichigan Arrogance T_.         

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

FitzBuck's picture

Beat them by 70 and have Kenny go for Two.  

Fitzbuck

Toledo - Ohio's right armpit 

"A troll by any other name is still a troll". 

 

Ginger_buckeye's picture

Yeah go for two because he can't go for three!

We don't give a d*** for the whole state of M*******

CowCat's picture

Nice try, Brady.   Just focus on your team.
Meanwhile, the best OL in the country, accompanied by Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde, Dontre Wilson, Philly Brown, Devin Smith and Jeff Heurmann will be coming to town.
See ya soon!!

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Three games remain on Ohio State’s schedule and the one this Saturday is actually the least exciting and important.

I understand what you mean and love the 11W staff BUT ... we'll just have to agree to disagree on this point.

One hundred thirty-four years of Michigan football, most wins in college football.

You expect fans to come up with feeble, wound-licking statements like this ("Oh please Grandpa, tell us about the days when our school was a good football team!") but for a member of the team to resort to history to compensate for the here-and-now, really kind of sad.  The bucks HAVE to pummel this team, and I'm not taking it for granted.

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

Spider1944's picture

Man I feel their pain. I finally had to stop telling my grandsons about Otto Graham, Marion Mötley, Lou Groza, Jim (greatest running back ever)... And how Pittsburg was a joke game on the schedule. 
Go young Bucks. Take care of business Saturday and accomplish something no other Buckeye group has ever done. Consecutive undefeated seasons. 
GO BUCKS!!! Bring on TTUN!! 

"There are 3 things that can happen and 2 of them are bad" - the Curse of Woody Hayes

GOOMBAY's picture

Taylor Lewan: Paying tribute or showing manifestations of 134 years of wearing *actual* winged leather helmets?

cinserious's picture

“He knows where people are. He knows the protections. He’s playing quarterback.”

Well, at least Braxton isn't out there on the field 'playing school'.

"Get him a body bag, Yeah!"

InvertMyVeer's picture

“We don't talk about that," Hoke said about spoiling Ohio State’s season. “We’ve never mentioned it, and I won’t. It’s not about them, it's about us. That’s the way it's always been.
 
“If I have to say something like that to motivate the guys in our locker room, then those guys shouldn’t be in our locker room.”
 
I get what he's trying to say, but it sounds a little like Cooper's just another game comments to me.

Football is complicated...

aabuckeye's picture

When Hoke says, "I think we're a pretty good team," and really believes it, then he shouldn't be in the coach's office. Oh well, ripe pickens.