With the news that Urban Meyer will step down at Ohio State following the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, there’s no better time than now to look back on some of the biggest games throughout his coaching career as the former Utah, Florida and Buckeyes coach has been involved in some of the most significant games in recent college football history on both the winning and losing end.
Here are five of his biggest wins and five of his biggest losses.
Clemson 31, Ohio State 0, Dec. 31, 2016
It’s hard having four Ohio State losses in this group, but this game has the edge over many of Meyer’s losses at Ohio State. The Buckeyes made the College Football Playoff despite not winning the Big Ten thanks to a 24-21 loss to Penn State in October. They got exposed on New Year’s Eve.
The Tigers dominated Ohio State in a thorough Fiesta Bowl blowout. OSU rushed for just 88 yards and passed for 127 as J.T. Barrett struggled against a fantastic Clemson defense. Clemson went on to win the national title over Alabama.
Iowa 55, Ohio State 24, Nov. 4, 2017
Ohio State finished 11-2 after beating Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. But the Buckeyes missed out on the College Football Playoff to one-loss Alabama because of the Iowa loss earlier in the season. The Hawkeyes thoroughly dissected Ohio State as Nathan Stanley was 20-of-31 passing for 226 yards and five touchdowns.
Had Ohio State beaten Iowa — or simply kept the game close — the Buckeyes would have been in the playoff ahead of Alabama. Alas, the Tide got the No. 4 seed and rolled to a national title with wins over Clemson and Georgia.
Purdue 49, Ohio State 20, Oct. 20, 2018
This is the loss that kept Ohio State out of the College Football Playoff in 2018. The Buckeyes finished the season with a 12-1 record and a Big Ten title but were No. 6 in the final College Football Playoff rankings thanks to a 29-point win by the Boilermakers.
Purdue was up 21-6 after three quarters and outscored Ohio State 28-14 in the final period to make a two-possession game a blowout. Since Purdue ended up 6-6, Ohio State had no real claim to making the playoff.
Michigan State 34, Ohio State 24, Dec. 7, 2013
The Buckeyes entered the 2013 Big Ten championship game at 12-0 and a win away from the final BCS championship game. Whoops. No. 10 Michigan State scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to steal a 10-point win and upset the undefeated Buckeyes.
Josiah Price caught a 9-yard pass from Connor Cook to put the Spartans up 27-24 with less than 12 minutes to go and a 26-yard run by Jeremy Langford sealed the victory for Michigan State. The loss relegated Ohio State to the Orange Bowl where the Buckeyes lost to Clemson.
Alabama 32, Florida 13, Dec. 5, 2009
You probably remember this SEC championship game from the image of Tim Tebow crying on the sideline. Florida entered the game at 12-0 and No. 1 in the country while Alabama was 12-0 and No. 2.
The Tide dominated the Gators. Alabama led 19-13 at halftime and scored 13 unanswered points in the second half for a convincing win. Tebow threw for 247 yards and rushed for 63 but no one else had a chance to do anything on the ground for the Gators. Players not named Tebow had four rushing attempts.
Alabama’s Mark Ingram had 28 carries for 113 yards and scored three touchdowns as the Tide went on to beat Texas for the national title.
Ohio State 26, Michigan 21, Nov. 24, 2012
The Buckeyes beat the Wolverines to cap an undefeated season in Meyer’s first year with the team. OSU could not go to a bowl game because of NCAA sanctions but Meyer’s presence at the school was announced with authority as the Buckeyes outscored opponents by an average of 37-23.
The win was Meyer’s first over That Team Up North too. He never lost to Michigan in his tenure with the Buckeyes as he helped Ohio State pull within eight wins of tying the official series.
Ohio State 59, Wisconsin 0, Dec. 6, 2014
Hello, College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes snuck in as the No. 4 seed with a convincing win over the Badgers with a third-string quarterback. Cardale Jones was 12-of-17 passing for 257 yards and three touchdowns while Ezekiel Elliott had 20 carries for 220 yards and two touchdowns.
Ohio State was on the outside of the top four entering championship weekend and moved up to No. 4 on the strength of the win. No. 3 TCU, despite beating Iowa State by 52 points, fell three spots to No. 6.
Ohio State 42, Oregon 20, Jan. 12, 2015
Meyer’s third national title was a surprising one. No one expected Ohio State to beat Alabama in the semifinal and Oregon entered the title game with Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.
The third-string quarterback had the upper hand again. Jones completed nearly 70 percent of his passes and threw for 242 yards while Elliott ran for 246 yards and four touchdowns. Oregon climbed into contention in the third quarter and closed Ohio State’s lead to 21-20 but the Buckeyes scored 21 straight points to become the first College Football Playoff champions.
Florida 41, Ohio State 14, Jan. 8, 2007
Ohio State’s Ted Ginn returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. That was the highlight for the Buckeyes.
After Ohio State pulled within seven at 21-14 with 13:32 left in the second quarter the Gators poured it on. Florida scored 13 straight points to end the quarter and tacked on a touchdown in the fourth as the defense put a vice grip on Ohio State to win Meyer his first national title.
Chris Leak was 25-of-36 passing for 213 yards and a score while Tim Tebow had two total touchdowns. Percy Harvin also rushed for a score and had nine catches for 60 yards.
Florida 24, Oklahoma 14, Jan. 8, 2009
Tim Tebow powered the Gators to a second national title with Meyer at the helm. Tebow had 231 yards passing and 109 yards rushing as Florida scored 10 straight points in the fourth quarter to beat the Sooners.
Florida’s defense deserves a ton of credit for the game too. Sam Bradford entered the game at the helm of a high-powered offense and threw for just 256 yards. A touchdown pass from Tebow to David Nelson with 3:07 left sealed the game as Florida became champions for the second time in three seasons.
Honorable mention: Utah 35, Pitt 7, Jan. 1, 2005. Meyer was a co-coach with Kyle Whittingham for this game as the Utes capped an undefeated season with Alex Smith at QB. Utah’s success with Meyer’s offense got him the job at Florida.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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