There’s a reason it’s called the Buckeye State; Urban Meyer proves it

Urban Meyer
Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer gives instructions to his players during a win over Rutgers on Saturday.
(Jay LaPrete / Los Angeles Times)

The latest information compiled by Public Policy Polling in Ohio shows Hillary Clinton clinging to a 44%-43% lead over Donald Trump among the 782 “likely voters” from the state who responded.

Oh, and that the amateurs from Ohio State would defeat the NFL’s Cleveland Browns in a football game.

Yes, and as tight as the race for president was, the opinion on a Buckeyes-Browns game was every bit as lopsided: 62% picked Ohio State, 23% the Browns. (Not sure what happened to the other 15%; they may have been undecided, or thought the question was too ridiculous to answer.)

The poll also found that Buckeyes Coach Urban Meyer might be the second-most popular person in the state.


The most popular: LeBron James.

Doing it all

Much is said and written about the explosive Alabama offense guided by former USC coach Lane Kiffin.

But how about that Crimson Tide defense? And how about those Crimson Tide special teams?


No. 1 Alabama’s defense and special teams have accounted for nine touchdowns in six games: four on fumble returns, including one of 23 yards by Tim Williams on Saturday during a 49-30 win over Arkansas; three on interception returns, including one of 100 yards by Minkah Fitzpatrick against the Razorbacks; and two on punt returns.

Remain Strong

Texas has lost three consecutive games and given up more than 500 yards in each. Even worse for Coach Charlie Strong, he’s starting to receive those kiss-of-death public pledges of support from his superiors.

Strong did get a break, though, when Navy upset Houston. Longhorns boosters who might have supported Tom Herman, a former Texas graduate assistant, watched a little of the luster stripped away.

Speaking of Houston …

The Cougars, who came into Saturday’s game ranked No. 6, were the highest-ranked team to play at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium since second-ranked South Carolina visited in 1984.

South Carolina suffered a similar fate, losing 38-21.

Navy has won 13 consecutive home games, matching the longest streak in school history — which encompassed the first games the Midshipmen played there after the facility opened in 1959.


Coach called it

Pittsburgh, which has the Atlantic Coast Conference’s deepest stable of running backs, has found an additional source of production: Brian O’Neill, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound tackle.

O’Neill showed trustworthy hands and impressive speed during a 37-34 Panthers win over Georgia Tech, gathering in a swing pass and rambling untouched more than 30 yards down the left sideline.

He was credited with a 24-yard touchdown run, because Nathan Peterman’s pass to him went backward.

O’Neill said Coach Pat Narduzzi told him before the game, “If we get down there, anywhere between the 20- or 25-yard line on the left hash, we’re running it. Be ready.”

And the coach, O’Neill recalled, added another remark: “Don’t do anything stupid when you score a touchdown, because you’re going to score a touchdown.”

Not even close

It was bound to happen eventually. Brigham Young routed Michigan State, 31-14, marking the first time this season the Cougars won or lost by more than a field goal.


BYU opened with a two-point win over Arizona, then dropped three consecutive games by a total of seven points — by one to Utah, and by three each to UCLA and West Virginia — before a wild, 55-53 win over Toledo.

Against Michigan State, BYU simply handed the ball to Jamaal Williams, who followed his school-record, 286-yard, five-touchdown outing against Toledo with 163 yards and two touchdowns against the Spartans.

Hokie smoked

Maybe it was the rain, or the wind. Or, quite possibily, Virginia Tech’s top-10-in-the-nation defense had something to do with it.

Whatever the reasons, Mitch Trubisky and Ryan Switzer, the North Carolina passing combination that had been terrorizing opponents, suffered through one … long … Saturday.

Trubisky, who came in having completed three-quarters of his passes, and with three consecutive games with more than 400 yards passing, and who hadn’t had a pass intercepted all season, completed 13 of 31 passes for 58 yards and was picked off twice.

Switzer, who entered with a two-game Atlantic Coast Conference record of 30 catches in wins over Florida State and Pittsburgh, had two catches for two yards.

Virginia Tech won, 34-3.

Mr. Do-it-all

Michigan says Jabrill Peppers has played a dozen positions other than his main spot, linebacker.

The junior has also appeared, according to the Wolverines, at free safety, strong safety, cornerback, nickel cornerback, quarterback, running back, wide receiver, slot receiver, punt returner, kick returner, gunner and hold up.

Gunner and hold up?


College football is a pretty big deal just about everywhere in the nation, but it doesn’t rule the roost around Connecticut. Hence the unusual 11:30 a.m. start time for the Huskies’ home game against Cincinnati.

Seems that the Hartford Marathon was also scheduled for Saturday, meaning road closures that might have affected football fans.

No doubt in many other locales — such as any place around the Southeastern Conference — that marathon is run at another time.


Eighth-ranked Texas A&M, a winner in double overtime over No. 9 Tennessee, is off to its first 6-0 start since 1994, when the Aggies won their first seven games on the way to a 10-0-1 finish. … Tennessee, which trailed by 14 points with less than 31/2 minutes to play in regulation, barely fell short in its bid for a fifth win this season when it trailed by as many as 10 points. … Ohio State, in five games, has not given up a rushing touchdown. … Rutgers has played half of its six games against teams ranked in the top 5 — No. 2 Ohio State, No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Washington — losing by a combined score of 184-13.

Times wire services contributed information used in this report.

Twitter: @MikeHiserman

Twitter: @MikeHiserman

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