Paul Brown couldn’t do it. Jim Tressel fell short. Even Woody Hayes would look on in awe.
After Saturday’s 42-14 victory against Indiana (4-7, 2-5), coach Urban Meyer and the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0, 7-0) clinched the longest winning streak in program history at 23 games. The previous record was held by Woody Hayes and the 1967-69 team.
The last time the Buckeyes lost was Jan. 2, 2012, falling, 24-17, to Florida in the Gator Bowl.
Redshirt-senior quarterback Kenny Guiton, who started at quarterback for two of the games during the winning streak this season and was vital against Purdue in 2012, said it’s a big achievement to break the record at a school like OSU.
“With the history here, that’s big. We’re forever in history and people will be chasing us,” Guiton said after OSU won against Indiana. “That’s pretty cool … to be able to say I was a part of 23-0, the longest streak at this historic university.”
The game against the Hoosiers also clinched a spot in the Big Ten Championship game for the Buckeyes, who are set to join the No. 11-ranked Michigan State Spartans (10-1, 7-0) Dec. 7 in Indianapolis.
Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier said despite the winning streak this season, though, it is important to stay focused on each game.
“The best way of doing things is just staying focused on what you’re doing and not even thinking about what’s going on in the outside world,” Shazier said. “If somebody’s going to lose, they’re going to lose. If somebody’s going to win, they’re going to win. We’ve just got to keep doing our part.”
OSU’s last loss was under current defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell, who served as the OSU interim coach before Meyer came to Columbus.
Meyer, who has been at the helm for all 23 wins, said a big part of the streak has been playing hard week in and week out.
“It’s consistency. You see it … every once in a while, you take a peek at the scoreboard, you see scores. You go ‘What happened there?’ And for this team to do it 23 times in a row, that’s an incredible testimony, first of all, to the players,” Meyer said Saturday after the win. “I mean, Tuesday’s practices are not a bunch of chocolates around here. Every week, you better show up or you stick out like a sore thumb.”
Meyer added that complacency isn’t something he has seen in the locker room from the players or the coaches, even after winning 23 straight games and being part of in the BCS title race.
“These are good guys. They listen. And our coaches do a really good job of just (focusing on) the next play, the next down and obviously the next game. So no, I don’t feel it at all,” Meyer said.
Starting junior quarterback Braxton Miller had a big day against the Hoosiers, rushing for 144 yards and two touchdowns and adding two more touchdowns through the air to help push OSU to the win.
Miller said he wasn’t focused on making it to 23, but instead, just wanted to send the seniors off with a bang.
“(We’re) playing pretty good right now. Foot on the pedal. Playing hard each and every down,” Miller said. “Play team ballgame (and) things turn out like this … I saw my man (Kenny Guiton) coming out there for the last time (in a) home game. That’s really what we wanted to do was go out there, score as many points as we could, and I wanted to see my big brother go out there for the last time, see the fans cheer him on.”
The Buckeyes also saw an individual milestone met when senior running back Carlos Hyde became the first running back to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season under Meyer.
Hyde said OSU needs to keep improving, though.
“I feel like (we’re) playing good. I feel like there’s definitely room for improvement,” Hyde said. “There’s things that we can work on to get better at, so I think we’re playing good right now.”
Freshman running back Dontre Wilson, who has only been a part of half of the winning streak in his time at OSU, said the record puts pressure on the team to perform every week.
“It’s overwhelming but it’s also a great responsibility,” Wilson said. “Every time you step on the field, you have to live up to expectations and everybody’s expecting you to do a great job and come out with a (win).”
Next up, the Buckeyes are scheduled to take on archrival Michigan (7-4, 3-4) in The Game, Saturday at noon in Ann Arbor.
Redshirt-senior left tackle Jack Mewhort said 23 straight isn’t enough, and the Buckeyes want to keep winning.
“It’s special when we look back and we see that record, to know that we were a part of it will be a really cool feeling,” Mewhort said. “The first thing that comes to a competitor’s mind is that we want to keep going on and we want to win even more games and kind of set a new record for ourselves.”