Well, there’s no way around it, Saturday’s 55-24 beatdown at the hands of the Iowa Hawkeyes has certainly changed everything about the season for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Instead of practically controlling their own destiny when it comes to the College Football Playoff, now their only shot to make the final four would be for unforeseen, unmitigated chaos to happen at the top of the rankings.
However, Urban Meyer and his team do not have any time to wallow in their situation, as they will host the suddenly resurgent Michigan State Spartans who are riding high, following a 27-24 victory over Penn State. The winner of Saturday’s OSU-MSU matchup will essentially have a two-game lead on the Eastern division pack, due to head-to-head victories, with Ohio State’s regular season-ending battle with Michigan still to come.
On Monday, Urban Meyer talked to the media about the team’s failures on Saturday, and what would need to change for them to beat Michigan State for the first time in Columbus since 2007.
- Meyer admitted that there were a number of “devastating” penalties that kept drives alive for Iowa, and they have been addressed, but in games against good teams, you can’t have things like that happen.
- The coach said that Nick Bosa told him that there was no intent to head-butt Iowa QB Nate Stanley. He just lunged at him and helmets collided.
- He also mentioned that the disparity between J.T. Barrett’s performance against PSU and Iowa was surprising, and he thought that Barrett especially tried to force it before the end of the first half.
- Meyer said that the disappointing performance on Saturday was a combination of Iowa playing very well, and his team not.
- He added that Iowa executed their gameplan remarkably well, and after a few three-and-outs by the OSU offense, they began to panic, which played into Iowa’s hands.
- Meyer said that whenever something goes as badly as it did on Saturday, you don’t want to just blame it on miscues, you want to address why those things happen, and not just how.
Michigan State Preview
- Meyer said that there shouldn’t need to be any extra motivation to get the team ready to play the Spartans. Since he got to Columbus, he noted that the games between the teams have been “prize fights.”
- He said that the team will need to fix the offensive turnover issues against MSU to be successful.
- Meyer also mentioned that MSU has added in a stronger passing attack this season. Even though some of the yards were due to multiple overtime periods, gone are the days when the Spartans were 70% power run.
- Meyer discussed that internally there have been discussions about how much J.K. Dobbins gets the ball. He said that the starting running back should have more than six carries, but because they got behind by so much, there weren’t as many opportunities to run.
- He also said that if the defense is forcing the QB to keep the ball on zone reads, they need to figure out ways to get the ball to the tailback.
- Meyer also admitted that the depth on the offensive line is “not even close” to where he would like it to be.
- Before the press conference began, Ohio State announced that tickets were still available for Saturday’s game against Michigan State.
- Meyer says that the way you keep a team motivated after a national championship is almost certainly out of the question is to build an environment of a team that cares about each other from Day 1. It won’t be dependent on just one speech from the head coach.
- The coach acknowledged that having the quarterback have more attempts rushing than the leading rusher is not ideal, but when the team is down, that is occasionally a “get out of jail free card.”
- Meyer said that when you have as many players leave early for the NFL that’s part of “life in the big city.” He said that it is a difficult numbers game that you have to manage, and it occupies a lot of time for the staff.
- He added that you have to watch that players don’t come to Ohio State focused on using the school and program as a stepping stone to the next level.
- Meyer admitted that the coaching staff has discussed the fact that they have been moving away from the power-running team that they were in the past. At its height, they were 65-70% run, and now it is down to 45-50%.
The Buckeyes will look to rebound from the devastating loss to Iowa this coming Saturday at 12 p.m. ET. Ohio State will play host to the Michigan State Spartans, who are looking to seize control on the Big Ten East race. The game will be broadcast on FOX.