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COLUMBUS — A week ago, Urban Meyer appreciated the white-knuckle nature of Ohio State’s one-point escape at Michigan State but said he would not mind winning with more gusto.
“I'd like 70 [points] every now and then,” he said.
In truth, Meyer was selling his ambitions short. After the Buckeyes dusted Nebraska 63-38 on Saturday night, his players let reporters in on the first-year boss’s real goal.
“He told us when he first got here, ‘It will happen that we’re going to score 100 points,’ ” left tackle Jack Mewhort said. “He loves it. He’s crazy. He would score 100 every game if he could. He’s always thirsty for more.”
A new age of OSU football indeed.
The Buckeyes upended the program’s foundation with a nine-touchdown performance that resounded throughout the Big Ten.
By winning the highest-scoring game at Ohio Stadium since 1950, OSU (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) remained the conference’s last unbeaten team, matched its win total from last season, and rose four spots to No. 8 in the AP poll. But more important to Meyer, the night represented the first time his vision for the Buckeyes’ no-huddle spread offense began to come to life.
It was a game for the record books. Ohio State’s 63 points were the most against a Big Ten opponent since a 69-18 win over Minnesota in 1983; Braxton Miller once more broke the school’s single-game rushing record by a quarterback with 186 yards on just 16 carries; and Carlos Hyde became the first OSU back to rush for four touchdowns since Eddie George in 1995.
By the end, after scoring touchdowns on seven of their last eight possessions, the Buckeyes had 498 yards — including 371 rushing — and a coach who lost track of the ever-changing digits on the scoreboard.
“He was, like, ‘How many points did we put up again?’ ” Miller said of Meyer’s response in the locker room.
Meyer smiled and replied, “No comment.”
“I hope people are excited because that was pretty amazing,” said Mewhort, a St. John’s Jesuit graduate. “Who would have thought we’d put up 63 points against [Nebraska]?
“If I was an Ohio State fan, I’d be really excited about the future and the rest of the year because of how this team is coming together.”
When OSU hired one of the progenitors of the spread revolution, players said they foresaw such a night coming. Meyer’s teams at Florida scored 372 touchdowns during his six seasons — 66 more than the next-closest challenger.
“I knew when he was at Florida, those guys were putting up crazy numbers,” Hyde said. “If we could get going … ”
Not even Meyer, though, figured OSU could score so many points this soon. Not after stalling for large portions of its first five games and in a first quarter Saturday that he labeled a "train wreck." And certainly not against a ranked opponent. Though Pelini’s Huskers had proven vulnerable against the run — they allowed 344 rushing yards in a loss at UCLA — the defensive-minded coach had never allowed 63 points at any level.
Meyer called the Buckeyes ahead of schedule, heaping the most credit on a rebuilt offensive line.
“They’re the ones that have really developed,” Meyer said. “I mean, like, really developed. Even early in the season, I didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel us change the line of scrimmage. Now I’m starting to feel us change the line of scrimmage.”
In other words, Ohio State is back.
And if Meyer has his way, it will stay that way for a while.
“We had a bunch of recruits in that locker room afterward,” Meyer said. “So you start talking about the future, the name of the game is go out and recruit new players and continue and build and keep going.”
Keep going, as his players said, until they hit 100.
Contact David Briggs at:firstname.lastname@example.org,419-724-6084 or onTwitter @DBriggsBlade.