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Urban Meyer retires: Picking Meyer’s five biggest wins with Ohio State

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Ohio State announced Tuesday that coach Urban Meyer will retire after the Rose Bowl. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY)

Ohio State Football

Urban Meyer retires: Picking Meyer’s five biggest wins with Ohio State

COLUMBUS — The day has finally come for Ohio State.

The university announced in a press release Tuesday morning that Urban Meyer would be retiring from coaching following the matchup with Washington in the Rose Bowl. On Jan. 2, Ryan Day will assume the role of head coach. It will end a seven-year run in Columbus for Meyer, where he could finish with an overall record of 83-9 with a victory on New Year’s Day.

Looking back, there have been plenty of moments during Meyer’s time in Columbus that have created a lasting legacy that he will leave behind following his last game. From his very first time coaching in The Game to the dramatic wins over Penn State the last two seasons, he has a few in between and thereafter that surely stick out.

That said, Lettermen Row is looking back at the top-five wins of his Ohio State career.

2012: Claiming the first win in The Game

Meyer was announced as the coach of the Buckeyes in November of 2011, and a little over a year later, he earned one of his more important victories to set his foundation in Columbus. And it was the first of many over Michigan.

Coming off an emotional overtime win over Wisconsin the week before, Ohio State entered The Game sitting at 11-0 after losing to the Wolverines the season before, looking to finish the year perfect despite being barred from postseason play. It was very much a back-and-forth afternoon in Columbus, but thanks to four Drew Basil field goals, the Buckeyes were able to close out Meyer’s first season with a win over The Rival.

And don’t forget about Zach Boren’s memorable hit on Devin Gardner.

2014: Sugar Bowl sweetness

Much like this year, the 2014 season had chaos even before Ohio State opened its season after it was announced that Braxton Miller would miss the season with a shoulder injury. In steps J.T. Barrett.

After taking down Navy on the road in his first start, Barrett and the Buckeyes received a wake-up call the next week in Columbus from Virginia Tech, suffering an upset that seemed to all but end their chances at making the first-ever College Football Playoff early on. But the Buckeyes ran the table the rest of the season despite losing Barrett in the process, rolled through the Big Ten title game with Cardale Jones and into a matchup with Alabama in the Sugar Bowl semifinal.

There, Ohio State was the underdog but quickly flexed its muscle and showed the nation that deserved to be on the national stage. The Buckeyes shocked the world by rolling the Tide as Jones and Ezekiel Elliot led Ohio State to a win — and eventually the first national championship in program history since 2002.

2016: The Game — Part 2

What could possibly top Meyer’s first experience in The Game? Just another emotional, white-knuckling matchup with Michigan. Only this time, it was Curtis Samuel breaking the hearts of Wolverines everywhere.

A spot in the Big Ten Championship, and likely the College Football playoff, were on the line for this top-five clash in Columbus. And it lived up to the all the hype it possessed leading into it. Ohio State trailed for most of the second half before hitting a game-tying field goal to send it into overtime, where another moment took place that will be now be known as one of the memorable plays in program history.

Just seconds after a tough fourth-and-short conversion, Barrett handed the ball off to Curtis Samuel who scampered around the left side, through the Michigan defense and into the end zone to give the Buckeyes the 30-26 victory and Meyer’s fifth-straight over The Rival.

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Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was a perfect 7-0 against Michigan. (Greg Bartram-USA TODAY SPORTS)

2017: Penn State comeback

Does it get any better than those wins over Michigan? In terms of drama, the win over Penn State during the 2017 season surely sticks out during Meyer’s tenure in Columbus.

The Nittany Lions entered the matchup at No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings, while Ohio State sat at No. 6 and was looking for revenge after losing in Happy Valley the season before. The Buckeyes trailed for nearly the entire game and looked to be on their way to a second loss and out of the playoff conversation. That is, until a remarkable fourth quarter from J.T. Barrett.

Leading the charge, the Ohio State quarterback went a perfect 13-for-13 for three touchdowns in the period to lead the Scarlet and Gray all the way back from 15 points down to win the game 39-38 and end Penn State’s Big Ten and College Football playoff dreams.

2018: Meyer’s Finale of The Game

In what would end up being the final home game of his coaching career at Ohio State, Meyer made sure he left The Game and those watching it with something to remember.

Entering the matchup, the Buckeyes were underdogs to the Wolverines for the first time in a home game since Meyer was the coach at Utah. Many felt that Michigan would win its first game in Columbus since 2000 and head to Indianapolis with a shot at making their first-ever trip to the College Football Playoff. Well, that was sure wrong.

Ohio State proved that this version of The Game should have never been in doubt, as Dwayne Haskins and the Buckeyes offense exploded for 17 points in both the second and third quarters. And with a little help from the Silver Bullets, Ohio State thrashed the Wolverines 62-39 for the seventh year in a row.

In terms of emotion and drama, this will not go down as the most memorable of Meyer’s 82 wins leading Buckeyes. However, it does cap off a perfect 7-0 record against the Wolverines and set a new standard for the rivalry, for both programs, for years to come.


Nick is the producer at Lettermen Row. Born in Dayton, Nick recently graduated from Ohio State where he worked for The Lantern and the College of Veterinary Medicine. He also knows the city of Columbus and its love of sports well after interning with Columbus Crew SC and WBNS-10TV during his undergraduate education.