As the rain turned from drizzle to steady pound, Urban Meyer briefly addressed the crowd at Saturday’s Skull Session, repeating what has become something of a mantra for him. “The mission is clear: Make the great state of Ohio proud.” With that, he exited the hallowed halls of St. John Arena and prepared to confront his secret fear. This was his time.
The Dark Coach Rises
Under grey clouds and a thick midwestern humidity, the game of Meyer’s life kicked off. The RedHawks had chosen to receive and they scrounged up 30 yards of offense before punting the ball away. The Buckeyes responded with just half of that production before returning the favor. Urban wasn’t concerned. Nothing but opening-drive jitters. Could happen to anybody.
On their next drive, Miami nearly quieted the already-wavering crowd with a quick 63-yard drive down the field highlighted by a 42-yard reception by Nick Harwell. A couple of near-touchdowns stalled the march, which ended with a disastrous missed field goal.
Bullet dodged. Time to get this party started.
Nine yards. Punt. Twenty-two yards. Punt. Two yards. Punt. Somewhere in there, Miami knocked a field goal through. The first quarter came to a close and Urban Meyer was losing to Miami.
The second quarter opened with Miami punting the ball back. Just over a minute later, Devin Smith reinvigorated the crowd, the team, the coach and the nation, quite literally single-handedly:
And just like that, the shoe was on the other foot. Miami: 0 yards. Punt. Ohio State Touchdown. Miami: 9 yards. Punt. Ohio State Touchdown. Miami: 24 yards. Punt. Ohio State Damn Near Touchdown. The second half came to a close and the machine was running at full speed now. Urban Meyer was finally getting his revenge on Miami.
Just to make sure they hadn’t spent halftime forgetting what he thought of them, Urban gave the RedHawks a little reminder on the first play of the second half:
On the ensuing Miami drive, the RedHawks managed to move the ball 18 yards in the wrong direction. The punt snap went high and Ohio State fell on the ball in the end zone for yet another touchdown.
Down 35-3, Miami finally put together that one touchdown drive that we all knew they had in them. Zac Dysert went 5 of 7 for 73 yards, including the 44 scoring strike to Nick Harwell. Urban Meyer didn’t even blink.
The Buckeye offense had its ups and downs to finish out the game, but did complete all three fourth quarter drives with TDs. Critics will pile on Urban Meyer for “running up the score” at the end, something Jim Tressel never would have done to an in-state team. But Jim Tressel wasn’t vanquishing a life-long demon.
On Saturday, Urban Meyer finally got the Miami monkey off his back in spectacular fashion. He’s now free, unencumbered by haunted dreams, that albatross of Oxford looming in the back of the mind every time he takes the field. Get ready to see the real Urban Meyer, loose and reckless.
Say your prayers, everyone else.