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October 28, 2017

Urban Meyer

Columbus, Ohio

Ohio State - 39, Penn State - 38

COACH MEYER: Thanks for being here. Wow. What the heck just happened? Special thanks -- as always never want to take anything for granted, and that's all the way from the skull session to wonderful crowd and incredible band, and that stadium helped us when we needed them the most. And that was one of the best fourth quarters I've ever witnessed in my coaching career.

So hats off to our fans and the 10th unit, the crowd. And just a quick comment about our quarterback. I see everyone's throwing these sheets at me with records, this record, that.

You guys can figure out all the records. I'll just tell you, man-to-man, this is one man talking about another man. I don't know if I've ever had more respect for a human being and as a person, because you earn respect and you witness people in very dire straits at times, tough situations.

That's why I have so much respect for the men and women who serve our military, because they get put in such tough situations. And I love to talk to them about those situations and the respect they earn for each other.

And we're certainly not in that kind of environment, but we're in college football, where it's either yes or no in those situations and he was a big yes tonight.

I've never had a kid play perfect, but damn he was close tonight -- 33 of 39. I can count four drops off the top of my head and two penalties that kept him from big completions. And he'd be the first one to tell you he's a product of those around him, which he is -- receivers and offensive line played. That's the No. 1 defense in America, we have great respect for. And I just can't -- just how proud of J.T.

Q. You said earlier in the week teams are won by leadership. J.T., you see him behind the scenes, I think he had 16 straight completions tonight at one point. What did you see this week in him?
COACH MEYER: I think I've had him for five years. I've seen it ever since he's been playing for us. I heard about this J.T. Barrett guy, and he came on as a redshirt freshman. And he wasn't tall enough, wasn't this or that. But he's tough as a lion and he has an incredible skill to lead others.

And that's why, he's not by himself. That's why I named nine captains this year, because when you start separating those nine guys, they're different than -- they deserve that opportunity to lead this team and they did that.

And you can see a bunch of those cats from that defensive line, and that's as good defensive line play as I've seen.

Q. I know you got done talking about J.T. but you talked about tumultuous times, and he's had a very up-and-down career at times with the battle he had with Cardale, and five weeks ago people thinking he should be benched. I'm wondering could you give me a little bit more perspective of what it might have been liked behind closed doors with him a month ago and then --
COACH MEYER: Getting better, with all due respect, people who had that opinion, in the Woody Hayes facility there wasn't any opinion. There was zero conversation about that discussion. Once again, when I hear people say, oh, there's a lot of people thought -- that's not one time I've walked into a staff meeting saying, what do you guys think? What do the fans and media think about J.T.?

We don't talk about that. We talked about what do we have to do to get better, and realize that a lot of times the quarterback, deservedly so, gets far too much credit, far too much blame. Like he's getting a lot of credit tonight, but those receivers played their tails off for him.

Q. Strong kid.
COACH MEYER: Strong? Strong as a lion.

Q. But he also reads and knows and is aware of --
COACH MEYER: I think there's a point all of us in our lives that you'll read something, you'll say, what is that? But he's a professional. He's a college athlete. But he's a pro.

And I'm at the point of my career, too, a lot of older guys are, like, did you read that. Did I read what? No, we're good. We just gotta get better. We gotta get better and steady the boat. Keep the boat moving forward.

Q. You've won three national championships, you're perfect against Michigan, but can you recall a game in which it seemed like you were pushing up the hill and when was -- as probable as this one? Could you describe your emotions how you must have thought it's just not meant to be?
COACH MEYER: The one fumble I kind of thought, uh-ho, and also our kickoff coverage. I'm not even going to take questions on that. We're just going to have to make serious changes on personnel and everything else.

That was a comedy -- comical. So, yeah, of all the 31 years I've ever been, I can't remember one quite like this one.

Q. What did you get a sense of on the sideline with your guys when you're down 14-0 like that so quickly?
COACH MEYER: I think I say this often that there's really only one guy panicking and it was me. And we have a bunch of veteran players out there, veteran coaches, and Kevin Wilson, Ryan Day did a very nice job. Greg Schiano, defensive staff very nice job.

We just had to, the task at handled, get some things fixed. And special teams looked awful at times, but also made maybe the play that saved the game with the blocked punt.

And then also when we kicked off that one time got them down to the 11-yard line. So like I -- I'm not proud of it -- but a lot of times I'm the only one panicking out there. And I'm not proud of that. Our team was very solid, very stay-focused and keep swinging.

Q. You say you don't want to talk about it, but you guys did make the adjustments on kickoff to try to deal with the situation. Just talk about what you had to do to sort of figure something out that could possibly work.
COACH MEYER: J.T. is a great leader and he's a guy I love to death. (Laughter)

Q. I know you said you might have been the only one panicking, but coming off the bye week you guys seemed so confident. The way that Ohio State team played in the fourth quarter, I'm not sure that anybody could have matched up. But did you wonder who that team was in the first three quarters and what had happened to the progress that you've shown over the last months?
COACH MEYER: We held probably the number one tailback in America to 40 yards. So it was one phase that was really struggling. The offense was moving the ball. I kept looking at the stats and it was overwhelming. We really didn't get stopped. Made a couple of penalties here and there. But that's the flow, ebbs and flows of the game.

So when you say the first three quarters I can count a handful of plays that we looked like fools, and we have to get that fixed. But it wasn't like we were getting pummeled. It was the opposite. We were playing very well against a very good team, but we had miscues that used to be uncharacteristic; now we need to make sure we get those fixed.

Q. In the fourth quarter, J.T. definitely, his performance was Heisman Trophy candidate quality. So do you think this was his best performance thus far in his football career?
COACH MEYER: I think that H word is appropriate after today's game. And the last, what did you say?

Q. Do you think this is his best performance in his whole football career since he's been here?
COACH MEYER: I can think of some great ones. But I'd probably put this 1A or 1B. I remember Michigan State in '14 was one of those days like he had today. But this has to be one of the best -- this is one of the best I've ever seen a quarterback play.

Q. This was a game where both teams were throwing haymakers, especially in the fourth quarter. What's the play you're going to remember the most? And number two past that, Jalyn Holmes' sack during the last possession kind of set up the serendipity that led to the last play. What kind of came right do you think in that last possession, defensively?
COACH MEYER: Defensive line and Larry Johnson I heard, do we blitz? Do we do this? I remember over the headsets Coach Johnson saying let them go. Coach, no, you don't need to pressure them. Let those four guys go after the quarterback. And, my gosh, they were all over the place.

Q. What play do you remember, right now what play sticks out in your mind what are you thinking when I say that?
COACH MEYER: The game-winner. I remember the call. It was 8-17, Y seam, look back. And they gave us the look that we needed. And those guys upstairs did a very nice job and executed to perfection.

Q. Was it the greatest comeback in your coaching career?
COACH MEYER: I think so.

Q. And did you ever prepare the consolation speech. You said you panicked a little bit?
COACH MEYER: Didn't have time. Didn't have time. Too much going on.

Q. Saquon Barkley obviously came into this game with well deserved accolades; you complemented him. Though he had the opening kickoff, you bottled him up pretty well between the tackles. Can you talk about the game plan and execution against him?
COACH MEYER: I think I'll leave that up to Greg. Wasn't much involved in that game planning. We talked about him. My biggest concern was not just the fact he's a great running back, but he had 21 carries for 44 yards, if I'm reading that right. Is that right?

One was a 36-yard carry. Our defense was all over him. And one of the biggest things that makes him such a great player is the ability to catch the ball.

And I was as worried about that, because we're a man coverage team, all of a sudden you get stuck with a linebacker playing man-to-man, like you saw against our rivals. That's a credit. We had the bye week to prepare for them, too. But we still have incredible respect for him as a player.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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