When the Ohio State Buckeyes host Michigan on Saturday during their annual Rivalry Week bout, head coach Urban Meyer expects nothing but good conduct and a win. The Buckeyes are just one victory away from an appearance in the Big Ten Championship game, and more importantly, a chance to play their way into the first-ever College Football Playoff. Coach Meyer made it very clear that if any of his players are penalized for their behavior against the Wolverines they will face even harsher punishment from Meyer.
“He wants the game to be very intense, but if anybody throws any punches this year, we’re dismissed,” linebacker Curtis Grant said, according to ESPN.com. “You know he pretty much put it out there [Sunday], so there’s no telling what will happen if you get into a fight this year. We’ve got to be on our best behavior.”
Tensions will certainly be high between these two bitter rivals who share a 110 year old history of competitively despising each other. The Wolverines lead the series 58-45-6, so Meyer knows that his Buckeyes will be plenty motivated, considering their fans care as much about this game as they do the season’s final outcome.
“I had a talk with our team about that, and absolutely no case for that,” Meyer said. “Intensity? Absolutely. There’s a certain mentality we need to take to this field, but that’s not acceptable.”
A season ago, two Buckeye players – running back Dontre Wilson and offensive guard Marcus Hall – were both ejected and subsequently suspended for the Big Ten Championship game against Michigan State. This year, Meyer will have zero tolerance for any irresponsible activities on gameday and could suspend any offenders for potential post-season games as well.
“That’s not the way we play the game, and I think a lot of lessons were learned. We went without one of our key linemen in the championship game the following week, and we played a game without two or three good players. That was a very strong conversation in the team meeting,” Meyer said recently.
Meyer and the Buckeyes need to a win to further solidify their playoff candidacy, and with each of the teams ranked higher than Ohio State facing difficult tests, the Buckeyes could very well sneak their way into the playoffs.
*Section Photo credit to Andrew Weber, USA Today Sports; Featured Photo (above) credit to Brian Spurlock, USA Today Sports