Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
The No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) will open divisional play this weekend when they travel to Bloomington, Ind., to face the Indiana Hoosiers (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten). First-year coach Urban Meyer doesn’t want a let down against the Hoosiers, saying OSU can’t afford to look beyond Saturday’s opponent yet. Meyer discussed his team’s upcoming match, as did Indiana coach Kevin Wilson, during Tuesday’s Big Ten Conference football coaches’ teleconference.
Looking past the Hoosiers?
After back-to-back wins against ranked opponents, including a 63-38 drubbing of then-No. 21 Nebraska Saturday, the Buckeyes seem to be a confident bunch. Meyer appears to be attempting to keep a lid on the confidence.
Meyer said it’s important for his team to realize there is plenty of football to be played before they can be considered a great team.
“These kids are 6-0 and a lot of people are telling them how good they are,” Meyer said. “Quite honestly, we have a long way to go.”
It is something that, arguably, happens every year in college football. Teams can win a big game against a ranked team, ride that high all week, and then lose to an inferior opponent that they underestimate a week later.
Meyer said he is not concerned with his team’s focus as it prepares for an Indiana team that has lost its last three games.
“We’re not at the point that we can start overlooking anybody,” Meyer said. “I’m concerned about execution and stopping them, not overlooking them.”
Nebraska win bodes well for the future
Considering the number of recruits OSU hosted on Saturday, the win against the Cornhuskers could have major implications on Meyer’s program for years to come.
Meyer wasn’t able to give an exact number of recruits in attendance, but said that “there were a lot” of prospective Buckeyes in the Horseshoe.
Meyer also said the atmosphere in the stadium during the Buckeyes’ win left an impression of some of the nation’s elite high school prospects.
“It’s a little risky sometimes to have a bunch of recruits come in on a big game, because if you fail and you lose, it’s miserable,” Meyer said. “The atmosphere was tremendous. The way we won in the second half, that was very critical for recruiting.”
Miller a Heisman hopeful?
As one of college football’s leaders in rushing yards per game, and the quarterback of the Big Ten’s only unbeaten team, sophomore Braxton Miller, is gaining hype as a Heisman Trophy contender.
“He’s one of the best players in the college game,” Wilson said.
Wilson did say that, “there are better players out there,” but pointed out that the sophomore quarterback will only improve as he grows into Meyer’s system.
“He’s young,” Wilson said. “Knowing a little bit about him, and knowing the coach that he’s got, he will get better and better. You’re not seeing the best of him.”
A key component in winning the Heisman Trophy is having big games on big stages against ranked opponents. Miller might have done that last Saturday, rushing for a career-high 186 yards and scoring two touchdowns in a win against Nebraska.
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, however, was not willing to anoint Miller as a favorite for college football’s most prestigious individual award.
“That’s up to you guys,” Pelini said.
The Buckeyes’ Saturday win has resulted in national accolades for several players on the team.
For his five tackles-for-loss in the win against the Cornhuskers, senior defensive end John Simon has received three national awards including the Chuck Bednarik Award’s national player of the week award on Tuesday. Simon received the Lott IMPACT player of the week award, as well as College Football Performance defensive player of the week award, on Monday.
Miller, who rushed for an OSU quarterback record 186 yards and a touchdown, was honored with the Davey O’Brien quarterback of the week award.
After rushing for 140 yards and four touchdowns on 28 carries against Nebraska, junior running back Carlos Hyde was named the Big Ten’s co-offensive player of the week.
Thanks to a 76-yard punt return in the third quarter against the Cornhuskers, junior wide receiver Corey Brown was named the Big Ten’s special teams player of the week.
Pat Brennan contributed to this article.