In one fell swoop, the 2013 version of Urban Meyer‘s Ohio State Buckeyes achieved a pair of historical benchmarks for the storied football program.
Most importantly, Ohio State’s snowy 42-14 whipping of Indiana pushed the Buckeyes to 7-0 in Big Ten play with just The Game against Michigan remaining. Courtesy of a win over 6-1 Wisconsin in late September, OSU clinched its first-ever Big Ten Leaders division championship.
In the win, Carlos Hyde (18-117-2) became the first running back to rush for more than 1,000 yards for an Urban Meyer-coached team. Despite missing the first three games of the season because of a suspension, the senior has now rushed for 1,061 yards and scored 13 touchdowns on the ground in eight games. He’s rushed for at least 111 yards in each of the past six games, posting a career-high of 246 in the win over Illinois last weekend.
Braxton Miller contributed as usual, combining for 304 yards of total offense (160 passing, 144 rushing) while scoring two touchdowns each through the air and on the ground.
Coupled with Michigan State’s clinching of the Legends division earlier Saturday, the Big Ten title game is now set: MSU vs. OSU Dec. 7 in Indianapolis for the conference’s automatic BCS berth and, for the Buckeyes, a potential spot in the BCS title game. The teams last met in 2012, a one-point win for the Buckeyes that was the closest, margin-wise, during their nation’s best winning streak.
Speaking of which, the win over IU was OSU’s 23rd straight, breaking the school record of 22 set from 1967-69. The 23 straight is tied, along with five other teams, for the 34th-longest streak in FBS history, and is the longest by an automatic-qualifying program since Notre Dame in 1988-89. Non-AQ Boise State won 24 straight in 2009-10.
The record for a Big Ten school is 29 straight by the 1901-03 Michigan Wolverines. Just five schools who were members of the Big Ten at the time of their streaks have won more consecutive games than the 2013 Buckeyes.
While the week-long attention will be focused solely on That School Up North, the immediate attention of Buckeye Nation — from coaches to players to fans — will ever-so-briefly shift to Stillwater. If Oklahoma State should trip up Baylor, the Buckeyes would be in the driver’s seat at No. 3 should either Alabama or Florida State — either on the field or off — stumble coming down the home stretch.