I had no idea there are so many people that can’t stand Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer. Multiple Meyer critics vented their ire on Facebook, claiming he ran up the score last night as the Buckeyes scored a touchdown that increased their margin of victory as time was about to run out. Final score: Ohio State 42, Oregon 20.
True, when Ohio State scored that final touchdown with 28 seconds left to play, there was virtually no way Oregon could come back to win or tie the game; there just wasn’t enough time. A kneel down would have been safe and Meyer would have avoided his critics. But I don’t see it that way. I can’t read Meyers’ mind, but here are a few points for the critics to consider:
1. Ohio State came into this game viewed by many, including this writer, as not deserving of making the playoff bracket. Many of us felt that the Buckeyes’ leapfrog of TCU was unjustified. If there was any shred of that disappointment remaining, the exclamation point touchdown at the end of the game should have erased that.
2. Ezekiel Elliott is a beast. Watching him run reminded me of watching Earl Campbell some 30-plus years ago. He ran with power. He was dominant. Every fan clad in crimson wanted to see him bust through the line one more time. So did I.
3. Cardale Jones, the Buckeyes’ third string QB, played like a starter – which makes sense because now he is. Or, at least, he was for the final three games of the season. He will likely be back on the bench next year as the two ahead of him heal from their injuries and are ready to play next season. Why not let him play this thing out? In any event, the Buckeyes’ depth at the QB position is impressive and should make for an interesting offseason.
3. Not only can Ohio State put the recent internal adversity behind them for good, they are a young team. Most of their starters will return next season. I believe that final touchdown was more about next season than this game. In allowing his team to finish the game playing at full throttle, Coach Meyer set the table for next year. I think that was a great coaching move. That’s why Meyer is a winner.
4. The critics I’ve heard are not Duck fans. I perused the media this morning seeking commentary on Meyer running up the score. I didn’t find any. I think the Duck fans get it. The sports media gets it. Critics will be critics, I suppose.
I still think TCU should have had the number four spot in the playoff bracket. Would they have prevailed? We’ll never know. But what we do know is Ohio State beat a very good Alabama team and stifled the most prolific offense in college football to win their way to a national championship. It was fun and exciting to watch. After all, what would the BCS have given us this year? Most likely Alabama vs Florida State. Yawn.
Ohio State played a heckuva game and beat a solid football team. And, no, they didn’t run up the score. Congratulations, Buckeye Nation!