Coming off a 55-14 win against Illinois, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer briefly addressed the victory before diving into an upcoming matchup with No. 7 Michigan State during a Monday press conference.
Meyer talked about how one team can get the edge when the Buckeyes face the Spartans, last season’s loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game and a few of the key players on No. 13 OSU’s roster.
- Meyer said it was a “motivating force” to see the OSU fans Saturday at Ohio Stadium despite the cold weather.
- He said redshirt-freshman cornerback Eli Apple, senior cornerback Doran Grant, junior linebacker Joshua Perry, redshirt-freshman linebacker Darron Lee, senior defensive lineman Steve Miller and sophomore defensive lineman Joey Bosa graded as champions on defense against the Fighting Illini.
- Meyer said senior linebacker Curtis Grant was the defensive player of the game: “Played his best game as a Buckeye,” he said.
- He named senior wide receiver Evan Spencer, sophomore H-back Dontre Wilson, senior tight end Jeff Heuerman, sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott, freshman running back Curtis Samuel and junior offensive lineman Taylor Decker the champions on offense.
- Meyer said it would be hard not to call Spencer one of the Buckeyes “most valuable players at this point.”
- He said redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall and junior offensive lineman Jacoby Boren were the offensive players of the game.
- He added freshman safety Erick Smith was the special teams player of the game.
- Meyer said he expects “the most prepared team will win” when the Buckeyes take on Michigan State.
- He said the Buckeyes “have one rival,” but added Michigan State is a “great team” who stopped OSU’s path toward a Big Ten title last season.
- Meyer on the matchup with the Spartans: “This is a great game because it’s two teams battling for first place.”
- “They’re the king of the hill right now because they won the championship,” Meyer said of the Spartans. “And you have to dethrone them. How do you do that? You outwork them Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.”
- Meyer said the loss to Michigan State last season came down to just a couple of plays. “That was two very good teams playing each other last year,” he said.
- He said the “most important thing on Monday” is for the players to rest and get healthy.
- Meyer said “it does help” the Buckeyes that they’ve played a few night games already this season.
- He said the Buckeyes have “seen it all this year” when it comes to different defensive schemes from the opposition. “But we have to be ready for adjustments,” he said.
- Meyer said senior wide receiver Devin Smith is “the best gunner in America” on special teams, and added that Smith “is our downfield threat, does a very good job on that as well.”
- Meyer on what the matchup with Michigan State means in the national picture for the Buckeyes: “This is a game to get the respect that Ohio State deserves.”
- He said he expects a “rugged game” when the Buckeyes take the field against the Spartans. He added that Michigan State can play “at any level in any conference anywhere.”
- Meyer said redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett does an “even better” job than senior quarterback Braxton Miller when it comes to making something happen when nothing is there.
Less than an hour before Meyer took the podium for his press conference, OSU put out a press release saying Bosa was named a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award.
- The Bednarik award is presented to the nation’s most outstanding defensive player each season.
- Bosa is first in the Big Ten with 14.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks through eight games this season. His 10 sacks put him fifth nationally while he is third in tackles for loss.
- Bosa is also first in the Big Ten (12th nationally) with three forced fumbles.
The Buckeyes and Michigan State are scheduled to play on Saturday in East Lansing, Mich. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.