Looking Back at Urban Meyer's Best Bowl Moments

By David Regimbal on December 17, 2018 at 9:35 am
Urban Meyer after dethroning Alabama

Three national championships, 11 total bowl wins and just three postseason losses.

Those are the kind of numbers that accompany a dynasty career in an old NCAA video game. Eleven wins in 14 tries is a better record than Nick Saban (10-4), the criminally overrated Bear Bryant (15-12-2) or Tom Osborne (12-13). 

Meyer has come up clutch in so many big games during his 17-year head coaching career. Here are his best bowl game performances.

Beating Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl

The 2015 season didn't end the way many anticipated, as one of the most talented teams in Ohio State history failed to reach the conference title game thanks to a Michigan State upset in Week 12. The Buckeyes finished the season by thumping Michigan with a 29-point rout in Jim Harbaugh's Ann Arbor homecoming, which landed the Buckeyes an at-large bid to face Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.

As far as consolation prizes go, pounding the Fighting Irish into an unrecognizable mess was just fine. Ohio State piled up 285 rushing yards and 496 yards total in a 44-28 win that didn't feel remotely that close.

The game also served as the final sendoff for stars like Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Thomas, Braxton Miller, Joey Bosa (who shouldn't have been ejected), Darron Lee, Eli Apple, Vonn Bell and seriously how did this team now destroy everyone it played by nine touchdowns.

Throttling Pitt in His Last Game with Utah

Extreme early-2000s YouTube video quality and horrendous song overlay warning for the video above.

Back in 2004, Meyer was an up-and-coming coach who had proven himself during two-year stints at Bowling Green and Utah respectively. He had accepted the gig to become Florida's next head coach, but before heading east, he coached his unbeaten Utah squad to a Fiesta Bowl matchup with Pitt. The Utes weren't a member of the Pac-12 just yet and didn't garner the respect they do now. 

Meyer was a huge part of that. Led by eventual first-overall NFL draft pick Alex Smith at quarterback, Utah shredded the Panthers 35-7.

That First National Title at Florida

Hello darkness, my old friend.

This game most likely ranks as one of the most miserable memories for Ohio State fans, but it's probably at the top of Meyer's personal list. The Buckeyes entered the game as heavy favorites, and 15 seconds in, it looked like they'd run away with the title with a Ginn-like speed.

But then, the horror. Florida's defensive line swallowed Ohio State's offense whole. Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Troy Smith completed just four passes for 14 yards. The Buckeyes gained just 82 total yards that night. Eighty-two. It wasn't any better on the other side, as Meyer's offense did whatever it wanted to what many thought was a strong Ohio State defense. The Gators went on to win 41-14 and why are you still reading about this game? Life is pointless. Eat at Arby's.

That Next Florida Title

Oklahoma receiver Manny Johnson was probably having a pretty good evening before this game started. His team was on college football's biggest stage, and he was a part of a record-setting offense the like of which Florida hadn't seen.

Those vibes ended precisely 74 seconds into the game. Streaking down the sideline on a go-route and with the ball headed his way, Gators safety Major Wright blasted him into a dimension where football, love and happiness do not exist.

Florida's offense didn't do much, but the defense fueled a 24-14 victory to seal Meyer's second national title in three years.

Downing the Ducks to Win the First Playoff

Playing in the first-ever College Football National Championship, it didn't look good early as it took less than three minutes for quarterback Marcus Mariota and the high-flying Oregon Ducks to put a touchdown on the board. 

But the Buckeyes defense settled in, and the Ducks' undersized defense had little chance of slowing down an Elliott-led rushing attack. Ohio State's breakout ball-carrier ran for a career-high 246 yards and four touchdowns, and quarterback Cardale Jones threw for 242 yards in an easy 42-20 win. 

That Time Alabama Caught Those Hands

Very few people gave Ohio State a chance against top-seeded Alabama in the 2015 Sugar Bowl. The Buckeyes were rolling out their third-string quarterback against a Nick-Saban defense, and then-offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin had the Tide rolling with a dual-threat quarterback.

The pundits looked justified early as sloppy play allowed Alabama to build an early 21-6 lead. But the Buckeyes rallied, scoring 28 unanswered points before the Tide got off the mat. Alabama pulled to within six near the end of the third quarter, and a back-and-fourth affair ensued in the fourth.

Needing a big play down the stretch, Ohio State's offense delivered. Take it away, Mr. Elliott.

The Buckeyes went on to win 42-35. 

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