COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with the media following the Buckeyes’ stunning 45-23 loss at home to Michigan on Saturday. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, defensive lineman J.T. Tuimoloau, and quarterback C.J. Stroud also answered questions from reporters following the loss.
Here are the highlights of what was said.
+ On an explanation for today, Day said they were playing well up front on defense but there were too many big plays. And on offense they had too many penalties. It got them off schedule and they didn’t convert on third downs. Then it got out of hand at the end because they were probably throwing too much.
+ On punting on 4th-and-5, Day said they always want to be aggressive but he felt punting was the right thing to do. He didn’t feel like they were desperate at that point. But they’re not in those situations if they convert on third downs and they couldn’t do that today.
+ There wasn’t just one area where the defense broke down. The first thing they need to do in games like this is play great defense but they didn’t do that in the second half.
+ On missing the opportunity to take control of the game with play calls, Day said they spend a lot of time working on things getting them to the end zone. There were opportunities for them to jump ahead but they didn’t happen.
+ It’s hard to describe his emotions because it is not the outcome that they envisioned. They were building up to playing well in this game and they were fighting in the first half. ‘But in the end we came up short.”
+ On moving forward, Day said they will figure out what is next. But he’s not sure what is next right now. What hurts the most is as the head coach, this loss comes back to him.
+ On making a case for the playoffs, Day said they were in the game and were fighting early on, it got away from them in the end, but they weren’t outmatched in overall play. “We’ve got a lot of good pieces on this team.” Day thinks they will still be a dangerous team in the Top 4.
+ Emotions and intangible things play a role in this game but they handled it throughout the week, they were ready. He is trying to wrap his mind around what happened and why it broke down today.
+ They had a lot of juice coming out of halftime but they just didn’t do it. His message to the team was to win the first six minutes of the third quarter, and they didn’t.
+ C.J. Stroud competed and played hard all the way to the end.”There’s nobody who wanted to win it more than C.J. Stroud today.”
+ There were breakdowns in the back end, that was clear to see. And the margin of error was so tiny in a game like this.
+ There wasn’t anything out there that they hadn’t seen, they just didn’t make enough plays.
+ Miyan Williams gave it a shot but they had to play depth. Williams wasn’t 100 percent.
+ J.J. McCarthy did a good job of making throws under pressure but they knew he could throw the ball and move around. He made plays when they needed him to.
+ At halftime they were on it and were defending the run, there were just a few big plays. The message was to just keep it going. There was nothing to panic about. But the second half once they hit a couple of runs and then it was disheartening. He has to take the blame for it and should but they have to do a better job. “It was a story of explosive plays.” There were too many explosive plays and that’s what was disheartening for the teams and fans and he has to take responsibility for that. The explosive plays going for touchdowns created another story.
+ He is going to evaluate conceptually, from top to bottom, the whole deal. “That falls on my shoulders.” He knows he didn’t do a good enough job and needs to do better.
+ The players are hurting much more than him and he’s crushed. He has to look them in the eye and talk about scheme, fundamentals, and technique, everything that goes into it has to fall on his shoulders.
+ On Michigan establishing the run, Knowles said they switched up their scheme and they were hunting for ways to run the ball. They responded but the runs that got them were simple runs. That’s the hard part that he has to look at.
+ On defending mobile quarterbacks, Knowles said a lot of it comes from the aggressiveness of their defensive line, but obviously he isn’t going to hold them back so he has to figure it out, they tried some things for that and some worked, some didn’t.
+ It was a tough loss. There are a lot of emotions but they have to keep their heads up and keep moving forward. They will go back to the drawing board to see what they did wrong and fix it.
+ J.J. McCarthy is a great player. But they have to fix things on their end. Going in they knew Michigan was a running team but they also knew they had to be ready for everything.
+ The message was just to play Buckeye ball.
+ This game was all about the little things.
+ He doesn’t know how to feel right now. It happened so fast. He doesn’t know if this is his last time playing in The Shoe but he has enjoyed every second of it. He doesn’t think one game defines this team.
+ This was everything, this was the game, this was the one. He gave it everything he had. “This game is on me, I have to do more.” He will look at his next steps over the next couple of weeks. They might still have a chance for the playoffs but this was the one that they wanted.
+ He wanted the ball on 4th-and-5 but he trusted Day and he still does. There were so many little things that played a part in them losing but he takes it on him. He needs to be better. Making those calls is like flipping a coin.
+ On if this was his last game and what he wants to be remembered for, Stroud said people are going to say he never won The Game, he never won a Big Ten Championship, and he understands. He wants to be known as the best and he doesn’t think that he will get that anymore. But no one can question his heart. There was no rock he didn’t flip over.
+ They kept shooting themselves in the foot with penalties, missing throws, runs, blocks. Sometimes they get away with it but against the No. 3 team they knew they wouldn’t. They fought so hard to make sure they weren’t going to have those negative plays.
+ On handling the emotions and intangibles, Stroud said it has been tough. It’s a hard pill to swallow for 365 days and it’s going to be tough again. They have to move on and try to be better.
+ “This one game does not define this team.”
Photo via Ohio State Buckeyes.