Billy Price C / Ohio State
For those keeping count, Billy Price, in his fifth year at Ohio State, will gain his fourth start against Michigan on Saturday and at his third position on the offensive line.
The center, who already has a business degree from OSU and is about to extend an Ohio State record with his 53rd start, has the chance to be a major factor for a fourth straight time against the Wolverines.
“It’s a huge sense of pride and sense of accomplishment,” said Price, who already has four pairs of gold pants — the trinket awarded OSU players after a win over their rival — because he got one in 2013 while redshirting. “It’s just making sure you’re healthy at the end of the season, making sure you’re doing your job.”
Just like his quarterback J.T. Barrett, Price has the chance to go 4-0 as a starter against the Wolverines. Throughout his career, Price has refrained from taking anything for granted, especially in The Game.
“Every play matters,” he said.
That was reinforced during his redshirt freshman season when he was the starting left guard on a team that went on to win the national championship. A series after Barrett suffered a broken ankle in the fourth quarter, and with the Buckeyes clinging to a 28-21 lead and Cardale Jones in at quarterback, they faced fourth-and-1 at the Michigan 44-yard line.
The play call was for Ezekiel Elliott to run behind left tackle Taylor Decker and Price. They broke open the line and Elliott raced through on the way to a touchdown.
“That swung open the game for us,” Price said. “Again, every play matters.”
After starting at right guard last season, he will be at center Saturday with Michigan’s fifth-year nose tackle Maurice Hurst likely in his face often. Both were named to the Associated Press midseason All-America team. It’s a confrontation that deserves a spotlight — both could be first-round NFL draft picks next year.
“He’s highly touted,” Price said of Hurst. “Again, he’s still human, though. … I have to go block him and he’s got to beat me.”