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By Matt McCoy
**Click HERE Urban Meyer to hear Coach Meyer's "The Game" press conference**
Urban Meyer has had rivals in every stop on his coaching career. At Bowling Green it was Toledo, at Utah it was BYU and at Florida, it was Georgia...but growing up in Ohio, everything Meyer knew about having a rival was learned from observing Ohio State and Michigan. He even used the Woody Hayes vernacular.
"When (our rival) was Toledo, when I was at Bowling Green. they were 'the school up north,' Meyer said. "(BYU) was 'The team down south' and then (Georgia) was the 'Team out west' when I was at Florida."
Meyer learned the rivalry as a kid, participated in it as graduate assistant for Earle Bruce and now lives it as Ohio State's head coach.
"This is all I knew growing up...it's all anybody knew," Meyer said. "The era when I grew up there really wasn't much other than three channels on your television and this game. It was Bo Schembechler, Woody Hayes, Pete Johnson, Archie Griffin. That's all."
Meyer takes his 11-0 Buckeyes into The Game Saturday, hoping to finish off what would be the only the sixth undefeated season in Ohio State history.
Emotional Day ahead
Meyer admitted that Senior Day in the stadium will be emotional. 21 Buckeyes will be playing their last game and its a group Meyer said he has become very close to in a short period of time.
"It's tough...I usually get emotional talking about those guys," Meyer said. "Those kids could have all went wherever they wanted to go. I still remember that day when we walked in and (Gene Smith) said 'you're not going to a bowl game.' My mind started thinking about this year's team. Those seniors, they can pick up and go without punishment so I called a team meeting within 15 minutes and we had one and I kept the seniors after. I had no idea who they were and they didn't know me so it was a leap of faith (that they stayed,) but I also think it was a love for their school. When you look at these kids, now that I know them, I know exactly why they stayed, for the love of Ohio State. It's really cool in this day and age to witness that. We're forever indebted to them because they didn't have to do what they did...They didn't owe Urban Meyer or this coaching staff a thing. Their love for this University was apparent that day."
25 years ago...
One of the most memorable Ohio State wins over Michigan came 25 years ago, when the 1987 Buckeyes won in Ann Arbor 23-20 on a fourth quarter field goal by Matt Franz. The victory came five days after Earle Bruce was told he was being fired after the season. Meyer was a 23 year old graduate assistant at the time.
"I remember walking into Coach Bruce's office (Monday that week) and (athletic director) Rick Bay was leaned up against the wall and looked at me and said 'close the door,'" Meyer said. "I sat down and I saw a bunch of coaches with their arms on the table with their face in their arms and tears and the whole deal. I was like the last guy to walk in...and he said that Coach Bruce will no longer be the coach after this game and I have resigned as athletic director. I knew Mr. Bay very well and have great respect for him. Just an incredible moment in Ohio State history."
That Saturday in Ann Arbor, Meyer was in the coaches booth as the Buckeyes came out wearing "EARLE" headbands and then carried Coach Bruce off the field following the victory.
"I remember looking down and thinking 'what are they wearing?'" Meyer said. "I think that's one of the great memories I have from my time here."
Thanks to YouTube, here's that special moment for Coach Bruce and the Buckeyes.