COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State is a 31-point favorite over Maryland, but the game just might not be that close.
The Terrapins are led by D.J. Durkin, who worked with Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer at two previous stops. He was a graduate assistant for Meyer at Bowling Green and then coached linebackers and special teams during Meyer’s final season in Florida. As Meyer has repeatedly said, he did a great job at both stops.
“He was a GA that I was ready to make full time when he was 21 years old,” Meyer said. “I tried to hire him a couple of other times. Then we got him at Florida. He was an impact coach. I think of all the guys I’ve had he’s one of the top two or three I’ve ever had on our staff.
“And you see — I just got done watching special teams. And it’s a typical, extremely well-coached team, where the guys go as hard as they possibly can. So I’m not surprised. But he’s one of my favorite coaches we’ve ever had and one of the best coaches.”
As good as Durkin is, though, that doesn’t mean a beating isn’t coming. Meyer has routinely dominated his former assistants throughout his career, compiling a 9-1 record to date. Part of that dominance is because new coaches are often hired to take over struggling programs. However, all those opponents have been Power 5 programs and two of those wins came against very strong Wisconsin teams.
Urban Meyer vs. his assistants
|2009||Dan Mullen||Mississippi State||W||29-19|
|2010||Dan Mullen||Mississippi State||L||10-7|
The only loss came in 2010, when Dan Mullen’s team bested Meyer’s Florida team by 3 points. At Ohio State, Meyer has built a spotless 8-0 record.
Amazingly, the last team of a former assistant coach to score a touchdown against a Meyer-led team was Illinois in 2014. In the four games since, Meyer and Ohio State have delivered beatdowns of epic proportions. The combined score of those games has been 235-3. To repeat… 235-3. That stretch includes a conference championship game that the Buckeyes won with a third-string quarterback. The closest of those four games was Ohio State’s 56-0 win at Rutgers on Saturday. After that game, Meyer was almost apologetic and said Ash has a better team than the score reflected.
“I love Chris. Chris is a friend,” he said. “I think they’re getting better, I really do. This is a great state to recruit in. I know they respect Chris. I can see his feel on that defense, and I thought that defense … we played well tonight. I think that’s a good defense. Offensively they have a way to go, but much respect. They have the right coach here, but it’s going to take a while to build it.”
Expect more of the same when Meyer faces off against Durkin. Maryland is 3-1 with a win over Texas, but the Terrapins already have lost their top two quarterbacks. Meyer will be complimentary after the game — and he’ll mean it — but those good feelings won’t stop the points from overflowing.
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