Hard To Swallow

Ohio State fell 35-21 to Virginia Tech on Saturday, their first regular-season loss to Urban Meyer. Unlike two postseason struggles last season, the Buckeyes have no time to dwell on defeat.

Ohio State’s team dinner Saturday night was just that, a dinner. For the first time in Urban Meyer’s tenure the Buckeyes left a regular season game without a Victory Dinner waiting for them.

The steak, shrimp and lobster were replaced with spaghetti and meatballs.

“It’s something that I really didn’t enjoy and something I cannot get used to,” sophomore Tyvis Powell said of the post-game atmosphere.

“We’re just trying to move forward."

Doing that, getting past a game like the 35-21 loss to Virgnia Tech Saturday — a game in which blame can be laid with every facet of the game and yet remained winnable late in the fourth quarter — is a tall order. But it may be a simpler task than moving past last year’s back-to-back postseason defeats at the hands of Michigan State and Clemson in the Big Ten Championship Game and Orange Bowl, respectively.

At least there is less time for the loss to fester. After the loss to the Spartans ended a 24-game winning streak Ohio State had weeks to think about it before their next game. After the bowl loss to the Tigers, they had months. After falling to the Hokies, the Buckeyes have just days before they see the field again and that may make it easier to move on.

“You definitely have to get it out of your system right away,” Powell said. “You can’t dwell on it. I’m going to go focus on Kent State, because that’s what’s next. I can’t sit back and think about this Virginia Tech game because I don’t have time to. In the offseason you have time to train for it, think about it and keep it in your stomach. All you have to do now is keep it in the back of your head that you don’t want to feel this again.”

Like most of his teammates, this is the first regular season loss that Powell has had to deal with. For any player in their third year or less with the program, a total of 84 athletes on the roster, Saturday was the first time they lost a game and had to play just a week later. With a game against the Golden Flashes looming, moving on is the only option.

“This hit us hard and yes we are hurting and licking our wounds from it right now, but at the same time we had a very high energy practice yesterday with a lot of kids motivated to move forward,” running backs coach Stan Drayton said. “That was something that was very good to see.”

Drayton, who also coached with Meyer at Florida, said the team and the staff was uncomfortable with the loss. Drayton added that the head coach was approaching losses differently now and was encouraged by the attitude of the players in moving past the defeat.

With the post-game meal digested, Sunday was a day for the Buckeyes to purge the emotional and mental hurt sustained by the home loss.

"We took yesterday to get that bad feeling out of your system,” Powell said. “Once you lose, if you invest a lot of time in to it in the offseason and in to this program, when you take a loss like that it really hurts. I was depressed about it for a long time. All you got to do is watch the tape and learn from it so you don’t repeat the same mistakes.”

If the Buckeyes can do that, they can avoid having spaghetti and meatballs any time soon.

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