Urban Meyer won the national title with a third-string quarterback. This ranks as one of the great coaching performances in football history. Here are three others that compare:

• The Giants were dramatic underdogs against the Bills in Super Bowl XXV. Giants star quarterback Phil Simms was injured, leaving backup Jeff Hostetler to lead the team. The Giants relied on old, limited running back Ottis Anderson, Hostetler, and a bruising defense.

The Giants won that Super Bowl, 20-19. Giants coach Bill Parcells used Anderson to play a ball-control game, frustrated the Bills' offense with his defensive game plan (devised by Bill Belichick), and thoroughly outcoached Marv Levy.

• Joe Gibbs and Washington won Super Bowl XXVI with a quarterback, Mark Rypien, who would never play well again anywhere.

• In Super Bowl XXXVI, Belichick again faced a renowned offense, this time as head coach of the New England Patriots. Belichick beat the Rams with a physical defense that confused the Rams, and with an unproven quarterback named Tom Brady leading the game-winning drive.

Souhan on Sports: startribune.com/sports