COLUMBUS, Ohio -- First there was a Gatorade bath to survive.
Then came a massive bear hug from senior fullback-turned-linebacker Zach Boren, who gave so much more than Ohio State ever could have asked for during his final season with the program.
A mass of humanity ready to celebrate the simultaneous capture of a perfect season and rivalry bragging rights pressed in after that, making finding family members for the next hugs a tall order.
After knocking those steps out and belting out a few more celebratory songs in the south end zone over a wild, raucous few minutes on the field at Ohio Stadium, Urban Meyer finally emerged from the crowd and had a moment to himself.
It didn't last long as the Buckeyes coach sneaked under the scarlet awning and up the ramp to the locker room, flanked by three security guards who had watched him cap a perfect season with a 26-21 victory over Michigan on Saturday. But for about 30 seconds, Meyer was alone with his thoughts before a fan wearing a Braxton Miller jersey spoiled it with an unwelcome sprint into what was supposed to be a private tunnel, and that almost certainly wasn't enough time to process what has happened in his first year with the Buckeyes.
"The nut-job students won't let you find anybody," Meyer joked during his 12th victorious news conference of the season. "But to be out on that field was something special.
"Very emotional time, and obviously this is the state I grew up in, the state that I made comment in last November that our objective was to make the great state of Ohio proud. I imagine tonight there are a lot of people in this great state very proud of their football team. ... But to be 12-0, it really hasn't sunk in yet."