The Ohio State-Michigan rivalry has always been important to Urban Meyer. Long before he became head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, he knew what The Game meant because’s an Ohio native.
“As a fan, you sit back and you think it’s one of the coolest things in the world, and you never miss it,” Meyer said Monday. “I remember I was coaching at Colorado State and we were playing Hawaii. Mike Trgovac was our defensive line coach. He was a great player. He went to the school up north. We had to get up at some ridiculous hour to watch the game, 5 a.m. or something.”
Meyer has not lost to Michigan as a head coach and will improve to 6-0 in his tenure if the Buckeyes (9-2, 7-1) beat the Wolverines (8-3, 5-3) on Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich. Here’s a look back at Meyer’s first five victories in the series:
Best game: Ohio State’s 30-27 victory in double overtime last November at Ohio Stadium might be the best game period of the Meyer era. It at least had the best finish. A 15-yard touchdown run by Curtis Samuel clinched the victory.
“That is one of the classic games of this rivalry that will forever be because I know this rivalry as well as anybody,” Meyer said after the game. “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.”
Most lopsided victory: One week after a stunning 17-14 loss at home to Michigan State, an Ohio State team loaded with future first-round draft picks routed Michigan 42-13 in Ann Arbor. This was the first time Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh coached against Meyer and the Buckeyes.
Best performance by a running back: Ezekiel Elliott rushed 30 times for 214 yards and two touchdowns in 2015.
Best performance by a quarterback: In Ohio State’s 42-41 victory at Michigan in 2013, Braxton Miller rushed for 153 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 133 yards and two touchdowns.
Best performance by a wide receiver: Corey Brown caught eight passes for 95 yards and a touchdown in a 26-21 victory in Columbus in 2012. This was Meyer’s first victory against Michigan. The Buckeyes clinched a 12-0 season.
Best performance by a kicker: Drew Basil made 4 of 5 field goals, including a 52-yard attempt, in the 2012 victory. His two field goals in the second half were the only scores by either team and brought Ohio State back from a 21-20 halftime deficit.
Best defensive performance: Defensive end Joey Bosa had a sack, a forced fumble and an interception in the 2015 game.
Biggest defensive play: Safety Tyvis Powell intercepted a two-point conversion pass from Devin Gardner in 2013, sealing an Ohio State victory as the Wolverines went for the win at home instead of the extra point that would have forced overtime. Powell stepped in front of Drew Dileo to pick off the pass in the end zone.
“We felt like we could win the game right there,” Gardner said.
Worst moment: Quarterback J.T. Barrett broke his ankle on the first play of the fourth quarter in the 2014 game in Columbus. The Buckeyes led 28-21 at the time. Cardale Jones led one touchdown drive, and Darron Lee sealed a 42-28 victory with a fumble return for a touchdown.
Biggest crowd: Ohio State set an Ohio Stadium attendance record in 2016 with a crowd of 110,045 for the game vs. Michigan.
Best press conference: After the victory last season, Meyer’s cell phone rang at the beginning of his postgame press conference. It was his wife Shelley.
“I’ll get right back to you,” he told her. “I’m at the press conference. All right. Bye.”
Meyer then told the reporters, “She said bring a gallon of milk home on the way home.”
Ohio State at Michigan, noon, FOX, 1410