COLUMBUS -- Urban Meyer became the answer to a very important Ohio State trivia question when the No. 2-ranked Buckeyes earned a 30-27 win over the third-ranked University of Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium Saturday.
In front of a record crowd of 110,045 raucous fans, the Buckeyes won the first-ever overtime game in the history of the rivalry, which made Meyer the first coach in Ohio State history to start his career with five straight wins over Michigan.
“It's awesome,” Meyer said. “I've said that many, many times. I'm very humbled to be a part of it, and you can't ask for better efforts. They have great players; we have great players. They're a very well-coached team and so are we, and it's good for the country to see the Big Ten in action like that.”
Michigan turned an Ohio State missed opportunity on special teams into a touchdown and a 17-7 lead with 6:37 to play in the third quarter.
After Cameron Johnston was stopped on a fake punt attempt on fourth-and-six from Ohio State’s 19-yard line, the Wolverines needed just five plays to find the end zone on an eight-yard pass from quarterback Wilton Speight to wide receiver Khalid Hill.
The Wolverines converted one third down on the drive when Speight found receiver Amara Darboh for an eight-yard gain on third-and-five from Ohio State’s 17-yard line.
But although the Buckeyes trailed for much of Saturday’s game, they scored 23 of the final 33 points to seal the win over Michigan and remain in the conversation for a berth into the College Football Playoff for the second time in three years.
“That's why you run a fake punt,” Meyer said, jokingly. “That's why we were trying to get the ball downfield and we just weren't hitting them. Yeah, we were trying. We needed sparks, you're right, but then, our defense kept hanging in there, hanging in there, and they provided sparks. And the offense kind of took over in the fourth quarter and overtime.”
A self-proclaimed historian of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry because of his roots in Ashtabula, Ohio, Meyer put Saturday’s win over the Wolverines among the greatest in Buckeyes history, not because of what it meant to him personally, but because of the potential playoff implications for both schools.
“That is one of the classic games of this rivalry that will forever be,” Meyer said.
“That game is right in there. I'm not saying it's the greatest because that's disrespectful for the other players that have played in it, but that's an instant classic between two great teams. We knew going in it was going to be that way. That's one of the best defenses we've ever gone against.”