LINCOLN, Neb. — Watching Ohio State take care of business against Nebraska on Saturday in the game before the game long seen as probably the most important one of its season, the Penn State game on Oct. 28, brought to mind the question of how well have the Buckeyes done the week before some of their biggest games historically.
Starting with assumption that the Michigan game is the big game on the regular-season schedule every year, what kind of record has OSU had the week before that game?
The identity of the coach whose teams had the best results in the game the week before The Game dating back to the 1950s might shock you.
John Cooper’ 2-10-1 record against Michigan defines his career for many Ohio State fans. But his teams were 11-1-1 the week before playing Michigan.
He could never quite become Mr. November but he was definitely Mr. Mid-November.
Urban Meyer is 5-0 against Michigan at Ohio State and 4-1 the week before playing Michigan, though the loss was a big one against Michigan State in 2015. And the Buckeyes just got by the Spartans, 17-16, last season.
Woody Hayes was 22-5-1 in games the week before Michigan. Earle Bruce was 7-2. Jim Tressel was 7-3 and Luke Fickell was 0-1.
Offensive line streak ends: Demetrius Knox’s start at right guard against Nebraska marked the first time Ohio State has had to make a change in its starting five offensive linemen because of an injury during Urban Meyer’s six years as OSU’s coach.
Branden Bowen, who had held the starting right guard position the first six games of this season, suffered a broken leg in last week’s win over Maryland. He was replaced by Matt Burrell last week.
Ohio State started the same five offensive linemen in every game in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016. In 2013, starter Marcus Hall was suspended for the Big Ten championship game and the Orange Bowl after giving Michigan’s crowd a two-finger salute after being ejected from the game in Ann Arbor.
Nebraska honors: Nebraska honored six new members of its Athletic Hall of Fame between the first and second quarters Saturday night.
Probably the best known inductees outside the state of Nebraska were football standouts Bob Brown and Rich Glover.
Brown played offensive and defensive line at Nebraska, where he was an All-American in the early 1960s. He played 10 years in the NFL and went to six Pro Bowls.
Glover, a defensive lineman on powerhouse Nebraska teams in the early 1970s, was a two-time consensus All-American and won the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy in 1972.
He was a third-round draft choice of the New York Giants in 1973 and started 20 games in the NFL before injuries ended his career.
Intent or coincidence?: Nebraska’s first pass attempt of the game, which fell incomplete, was thrown toward freshman wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey, who originally committed to Ohio State but withdrew that commitment in January 2017.
Lindsey, from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School, had originally said he was going to OSU in a combined announcement with OSU freshman receiver Trevon Grimes.
Sold out: Nebraska announced Saturday night’s game as a sellout. The Cornhuskers claim a 359-game home sellout streak, the longest in college football, even though several hundred seats in the student section at the beginning of the game and many more by halftime were empty.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.