With a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game locked up and a 42-27 win against Indiana in the rearview mirror, Urban Meyer and Ohio State have their sights set on archrival Michigan.
Meyer — entering his third Michigan week as the Buckeyes’ coach — met with the media on Monday to discuss The Game and what it means to everyone involved, and also touched on some key points from OSU’s Saturday win over the Hoosiers.
- Meyer said he is “very pleased” to have another crack at the Big Ten title game this season.
- He said junior offensive lineman Taylor Decker, redshirt-sophomore offensive lineman Pat Elflein, senior wide receivers Evan Spencer and Devin Smith, and redshirt-junior wide receiver Corey Smith graded as champions on offense against Indiana.
- Sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott and redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall were the players of the game on offense, Meyer said.
- Marshall was also the player of the game on special teams.
- Meyer said sophomore safety Vonn Bell, junior linebacker Joshua Perry, sophomore defensive lineman Joey Bosa, junior defensive lineman Adolphus Washington and freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan were champions on defense.
- He said senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett was the defensive player of the game.
- Meyer on the Indiana game: “We put that one to bed rather quickly” with Michigan on the horizon.
- He said OSU-Michigan matchup is not like any other game. “That’s the way it is here, and that’s the way it should be.”
- “This is not another game, this is The Game,” Meyer said.
- “How to have fun is to sing the fight song in the locker room after a win against your rivals,” he said of the mindset he wants his players to have going into the game.
- Meyer said he likes to educate the players about the rivalry to make sure they understand the significance.
- He said “there are great players there,” in reference to Michigan.
- Meyer said he expects the Wolverines to raise their level of play against the Buckeyes: “Their personnel will play their very best against us.”
- He said Bennett has been “outstanding” for the last month.
- Meyer said it is “very important to be hitting your stride” at this point in the season.
- He called the Buckeyes the “most improved team out there.”
- Meyer said “motivation won’t be an issue” even though Michigan has a 5-6 record this season.
- When asked if he ever thought he would be recruited by OSU in high school, Meyer joked: “Of course I did, my mom told me I was a great player. Things didn’t work out. I was waiting for that letter, it never happened.”
- He stressed that having a chance to sing the fight song after a win is the way to have fun with a rivalry game.
The Game is scheduled for Saturday at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon.