Meyer, Tressel bask in victory
One coach got carried off the field and another received a Gatorade bath Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
Neither incident involved Michigan’s Brady Hoke, who wasn’t able to make it two in a row against the team he loves to call — simply — Ohio.
You think Hoke knows the school’s real name now?
No matter. Saturday was all about Ohio State’s coaches — the old one and the new one. A cold, windy day at the Horseshoe provided enough memories and redemption for both Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer.
It wasn’t exactly the, um, one-sided victory (I’m paraphrasing of course) Meyer called for Friday during a spirited speech at Earle Bruce’s annual Ohio State-Michigan tailgate celebration, but the Buckeyes’ 26-21 victory was sweet on several levels for the Buckeyes.
This was Ohio State’s bowl game, thanks to the one-year bowl ban Meyer’s Buckeyes were slapped with not long after he took the job. That’s one reason the first-year coach — a former graduate assistant under Bruce — spoke with so much passion and in such a frank manner about beating Michigan the day before The Game.
And it’s why Meyer’s emotions admittedly got the best of him as he and his players celebrated in the final seconds Saturday.
So much had happened to the Buckeyes since he was hired. And so much had happened to them in the year before that.
After a 6-7 season a year ago following Tressel’s forced resignation, almost nobody expected Ohio State to run the table in 2012.
And yet, here are the Buckeyes.
There is no BCS for Ohio State this season. But Meyer was asked if the Buckeyes were the nation’s lone unbeaten team at the end of the season if they deserved the No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press poll.
“Just trying to picture the headline here,” Meyer said. “Enough headlines. I don’t need anymore. They got me all excited at a pep rally the other day and that was a headline.”
But Meyer did say this: “I think this team can play and compete with any team in the United State of America right now. ... We’re 12-0.”
Few outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center thought it was possible. But then again, the outsiders don’t play.
“I think a lot of guys thought that we could do this,” Ohio State senior defensive back Zach Domicone said. “That’s where it starts. We have that belief in one another.”
Domicone, incidentally, is among some Buckeyes who still believe in their former coach.
Tressel was back at the Horseshoe with some of the players from OSU’s 2002 national title team.
Tressel and the former Buckeyes — including Youngstown native and Warren Harding graduate Maurice Clarett — were warmly received.
The former Youngstown State coach clearly still has his fans in Columbus. Rightfully so, says Domicone.
“I just thought it was unbelievable – just that whole ceremony they had and them picking him up and the ovation that he got,” Domicone said.
Ed Puskas is The Vindicator sports editor. Write him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/edpuskas85