The Buckeyes came out of Saturday's win with the coveted Illibuck trophy and were able to escape what has been a 'trap game' for Ohio State in year's past. J.T. Barrett was back at quarterback, Braxton Miller saw playing time after his neck injury and the defense once again stepped up, holding the Illini to three points. But now, Michigan State awaits. Here's what Urban Meyer said in his press conference leading up to showdown against the Spartans.
Barrett's return to the lineup
- Meyer is most impressed with how Cardale Jones has handled coming in during the suspension and yet still maintained his relationship with J.T. Barrett off the field.
- Meyer says that the team needs to "take a long hard look at our pass protection" -- they can't win games if the quarterback doesn't have any time. The tight ends were part of the issue, but they have "to get a little firmer" at the position.
- "Jemarco Jones is the next man in," but for the time being, Meyer isn't considering a personnel change on the line to shore up the pass protection.
- Ezekiel Elliott had 180 yards against Illinois, but was in Meyer's ear up until the end of the game and didn't want to come out.
- Meyer notes the defense just keeps getting better and better, Luke Fickell and Chris Ash have worked well together to form a cohesive group.
- Sean Nuernberger earned the starting kicking job earlier last week in practice after Urban Meyer announced Jack Willoughby's position was up for some competition.
- Nuernberger didn't seem to capitalize too much on his opportunity, missing his first field goal attempt of the year.
Preparing for Michigan State
- Meyer isn't overlooking the Spartans, noting they have one of the "best defensive lines in all of football." He also made note of quarterback Connor Cook being one of the best in the Big Ten and in the country.
- Last year's game against the Spartans was the best offensive performances of the season against "not a good defense, a great defense."
- On what makes a defensive line great, Meyer notes it's the ability to be completely disruptive, which the Spartans do very well.
Senior Night on Saturday
- Senior Game in the 'Shoe, these players' last game at home -- 48 wins since their freshman year (OSU program). "Senior Day is always a tough day," Meyer noted. These were the young players who came in blind when Meyer was hired, and they battled together to create the program's strength.
- Meyer doesn't intend to introduce anyone that may leave for the draft early aside from the seniors or four-year players on Saturday.
- ESPN's College Game Day will be in Columbus when the Buckeyes host the Spartans, marking it the first time since 2010 they have setup at Ohio State.
- Also -- mirroring the NFL beefing up security following the Paris attacks, Ohio State will also have added security at the game on Saturday
New bag policy at Ohio Stadium this week pic.twitter.com/2yHp5HQUoe— Bill Landis (@BillLandis25) November 16, 2015
Players of the game
- Offense: Ezekiel Elliott
- Defense: Eli Apple, Joey Bosa and Raekwon McMillan
- Special teams: Curtis Samuel