Ohio State football has a combined five losses in the last five years. In the words of redshirt junior guard Billy Price, even though the team lost, it’s not like the world is ending.
Five losses in as many years is an impressive mark by anyone’s standards, but at OSU there always seems to be a level of play that is expected week in and week out from fans. Either the team looks like they are the best in the nation, or it’s a down week.
But history has a way of smiling upon the Scarlet and Gray following a week that leaves a bad taste in the mouth of fans.
Since the turn of the century, the Buckeyes are 20-8 in games immediately following a loss. Under Meyer, OSU has gone 2-1 following losses, while he has a 18-5 mark following a loss in his collegiate coaching career.
The ability of Meyer and his staff to correct issues in the wake of dropping a game is why he is considered one of the best coaches in the nation. A key part of the Buckeyes approach to handling losses is to not single players out for mistakes and belittle the team.
“It’s not time to go dive into people,” Meyer said on Monday. “It’s time to correct issues.”
It’s no secret how to turn the tide after a rough week: make the necessary adjustments, study harder and make that much more of an effort during practice. In the weeks leading up to the Penn State matchup, there appeared to be a few glaring issues on offense and defense for OSU that were not addressed.
The passing game for the Buckeyes has struggled for three straight weeks, with redshirt junior J.T. Barrett struggling to hash out the proper timing with his wide receivers and scrambling for his life against the pass rush.
Price said there is no question in his mind as to the ability of the players around him. He said Penn State was a slip-up that will be addressed and corrected.
“I never like to say it was one thing in particular because that’s not what great teams do,” he said. “As a whole you must understand holistically what happened and how we didn’t execute at a high level. That’s how great teams move forward.”
That simple philosophy of owning up to their mistakes and taking the loss with a grain of salt has led to a history of winning following losses. With a team like Northwestern coming, OSU has a chance to prove why it dropped just four spots in the AP poll.
The Wildcats have a stellar offense, led by star junior running back Justin Jackson, but have more than a few issues on defense. It is a great opportunity for a bounce-back game for Meyer and the Buckeyes.
His message for a possible 19th career win following a loss is simple.
“You lose a game, you’re not a loser. If you lose a game, you accept it,” he said. “That’s the message to our players. We work so hard so that doesn’t happen. It happened; move on. Get ready for a very good team coming in here.”