The 2019 Ohio State football regular season is now two-thirds over and the Buckeyes still have not played in a game that was even competitive into the middle of the third quarter.
Saturday in Ohio Stadium, the Bucks just totally overwhelmed and physically dominated a Wisconsin team usually known for doing that to other programs.
J.K. Dobbins ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns, Justin Fields threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, and Chase Young tied a school record wit four sacks in the 38-7 win.
On the other side of the field, erstwhile Heisman candidate Jonathan Taylor was held to just 52 yards on 20 carries, an average of just 2.6 yards per rush.
After the game, the Buckeyes had a lot to talk about.
You can watch those interviews below, and find a full transcript of Ryan Day’s postgame press conference at the bottom of this post.
Ohio State – 38, Wisconsin – 7
COACH DAY: Just overall thoughts on the game, I thought that it was going to be a tough game. I thought that noon kick and a little cooler out, the rain, the whole thing, I thought it played to Wisconsin a little bit more. And under center, they’re a ball-control team. And so we had to be tough. We had to come out and play gritty.
We knew it was going to be like this. I thought the kids answered it. I thought the defense played really well in the first half. They kept giving us at-bats. And I thought Justin Fields was really gritty early on, had to run the ball, make big plays, got the big throw at the end of the half. He played gritty, got knocked around in there. Played really good.
I thought the offensive line and J.K. played really good in the first half. And J.K. ran with an edge all day. I think he’s the best running back in the country.
But when you go to the other side of the ball look at what our defense did, some great players over there but led by Chase. And his impact was felt throughout the game, and he’s probably the most dominant player in all of college football now.
And his impact in a game like this goes to show his versatility. This was not just a passing game where you go after the quarterback. You had to play tough and gritty inside. But it was the whole defensive line that controlled the game.
Hats off to the whole coaching staff and everybody involved for getting these guys ready to play a tough game. And it was a big win for our program.
Q. Before the game you looked about as fired up as maybe you’ve been for any game so far. Was that a conscious effort to say this game was going to be different? Did you get caught up in the emotions today? Did you feel it was any different than any of the others so far?
COACH DAY: Yeah, I think maybe it is a little different. Yeah, they were 13th in the country coming in but we knew they were a very good team and coming off a loss. And it was raining. It was all those things combined.
And it was one of those games where you felt like it was getting set up where all of a sudden you’re in the fourth quarter it’s going to be a hard game. We knew that. So we talked to our team about it. We challenged them and big-time players step up in big-time games. And a lot of big-time players did. You look at our guys, they played really good in this game.
Q. Started slow on offense, Justin didn’t even throw a pass until the last minute of the first quarter. Was that a function of the rain and just didn’t want to have the turnover or something crazy happen at the beginning?
COACH DAY: Yeah, absolutely, it was raining sideways. It was hard early on. It was a mess out there. In a game like this you can’t be foolish and you can’t take chances early in the game. The defense is playing good you can’t let your ego get in the way.
And tried not to do that, even that first drive, it’s third and whatever, we just hand the ball off and punt. Trust me, it’s harder for me to do that than anybody in the country. I hate doing that. But I just knew that you can’t all of a sudden throw an interception now; you’ll put yourself behind the eight ball.
So we hung in there. We knew it was going to be that way. And the rain let up a little bit and we were able to get the pass game going and it opened up things for us.
Q. First seven games were blowouts; you knew it was going to be a test. What did you learn about your team today that maybe you couldn’t have in the first seven games?
COACH DAY: How tough and gritty we can play. This just goes to show you the potential and how tough we can be. I think we’re athletic, I think we’re talented, but when you come into the game like this and play this hard against this kind of a defense coming off a loss for them and this type of environment, to win like we did, I think it goes to show you how tough we are and that we have the capability to play anybody in the country.
Q. Justin Fields was in here and he was saying the players kind of teased, whatever you want to call it, J.K. Dobbins, challenged him this week, the number one running back in the Big Ten was coming in. And I’m just wondering, how much did you challenge the offensive line and J.K., too, to step up?
COACH DAY: We challenged them all week. We challenged them all. We have nothing but respect for Wisconsin. I think Paul does as good a job as anybody in the country. And Coach Leonhard on defense does a tremendous job. It was hard.
But, yeah, I mean they got a lot of pride, our guys. And J.K. ran with a chip on his shoulder. Jonathan Taylor is a wonderful back but he felt like he wanted to be the best running back in the game today. It had a lot to do with the way he ran and how he ran but it also had to do with the offensive line.
It had to do with our defense giving them a chance to get back on the field, but it was also a challenge for our defensive line against that offensive line and that running back and the whole defense. And I thought the whole defensive staff did a tremendous job, led by Jeff and Greg and Larry and Al Washington and Matt Barnes. And everybody over there all week did a great job and the scout team.
So many things have to go into it for something like this to happen, and just proud of the way those guys performed.
Q. This is probably unfair for me to ask this — we’ll stop asking about this eventually, but you took over for a coaching legend in Urban Meyer. He’s in the stadium doing TV. You do a postgame interview with him. He said a million times how happy he is that you were the guy to take over for him. You guys have won every game. But when you guys put that on with the old coach standing there in the corner, what was that like when you were over there with Urban? And what do you think of that whole thing?
COACH DAY: That was a really cool moment for me. I owe everything to he and to Shelley and Nina and I, for the opportunity that he gave me and my family to be here. And I just wanted to make him proud and go out there and play really, really hard, really, really tough and represent the Buckeyes the way he did when he was here.
And, boy, it’s hard to follow up a guy who is one of the best college football coaches in the history of the game. It just is. But try not to worry about that and try to just make everybody in Buckeye Nation and obviously Coach Meyer proud.
Q. You’ve been able to sort of keep a lid on this team week by week. That’s all we think about. How are you going to do that now that they just handled the No. 1 defense in the country by 31 points?
COACH DAY: I think you challenge them by saying how tough are you, because I think these guys are competitive and they like challenges. And if you are as tough as you think you are, you say you are, or we’re as good as we think we are then we don’t get distracted by anybody and we just get locked in one game at a time — one game at a time, one week at a time. And if we let all the noise get in our head we can’t do that.
Q. Noise like who’s your Heisman candidate?
COACH DAY: All those things. You start looking ahead into rankings and where we’re going to be, if you start looking into all that you’ll get yourself in trouble. We have not done that this year and we cannot do that moving forward.
Q. All the years you’ve been coaching football at multiple levels, how would you evaluate the way that Chase gets off the ball, just that one element of his game?
COACH DAY: Yeah, the best I’ve been around. I had a chance to see Nick Bosa last year and I coached in the NFL and saw some really good players at different times. But he is as good as I’ve been around, again, because he’s so versatile.
This is a game that was set up for him to kind of get eaten up with multiple surfaces and multiple tight ends. You kind of get lost in the running game, and he dominated.
I think it goes to show you how tough he is. His leadership has been off the charts. His energy — he’s the one who’s driving and pushing those guys up front. I can’t say enough good things about him.
Q. Obviously it was a very physical football game today. You guys will be entering your second bye. Do you like it coming now, or would you rather keep playing? And when you do come back, November, what does November mean to you guys?
COACH DAY: Well, I don’t know. The schedule is the way it is. And from the beginning we talked to our team about the way the schedule played out. So they’ve expected this.
We knew where we wanted to be at this point. And we know we come up for air and talk about that final stretch of four games there. And hopefully we’ll go from there. But again staying locked in on that and November is the final run. This is where all the memories are made. This is what it all comes down to. But, again, not trying to look too far ahead, just trying to do a great job getting healthy in a bye week and talk about the plan and what we want to do in terms of expectations for next week. And we ready to make the last run.
Q. When you challenge a guy, you’ve got to know what buttons to push, that whole thing. With J.K., how have you done that? How has Tony done that? Have you been really pleased with how it’s gone?
COACH DAY: J.K. is a tough guy there. If you tell him something, you can scream or yell at him or you can say it just like this, he’s going to do the same thing. He’s that kind of character kid. Has it always been perfect for J.K.? No.
But as he got into the third year, now you’re a veteran on the team and you understand how things work and you understand the consequences of each game and the discipline it takes to prepare yourself to play each week taking care of your body, preparing, ball security, things like that, again I think he’s the best running back in the country. When you see him run at the second level, when you see him run with his pads down, taking care of the football, on the backfield, he’s very versatile in everything he can do and he’s running with an edge. And so when you combine that with our offensive line, that’s when you see special things out of him.
COACH DAY: That’s when you know you’ve got the right stuff. If you challenge somebody and they don’t respond, then you’ve got to figure out why. But we have a lot of guys, we challenge them, they respond, which is great. That’s a good sign as a coach. There has to be trust there too when you challenge them you challenge them the right way, can’t create resentment. But when they respond like they have, it is a great feeling.
Q. You know how to play quarterback yourself. So what do you think of the effects and ripple effects on a quarterback’s thinking when there’s a presence like Chase?
COACH DAY: It’s hard. It’s real hard. You start to feel ghosts and see ghosts, especially when he’s on your backside. Are you getting the ball out fast enough?
The other part is a lot of times they have to put an extra guy in protection. If they are going to go to seven men on protection, only three guys on the route. So his impact is felt throughout the game schematically. But also, if you’re a quarterback and you certainly know he’s over there, you want to keep half an eye on him, which certainly affects your game.
Q. Kind of the other side of that, Justin was obviously kind of banged up today, kind of gritted through that and the conditions, played a relatively clean game there, what kind of psychological effect can that have on the team when he’s taking care of that?
COACH DAY: I tell you what, I thought he played a tough game. It may not show statistically that he had as gritty a game as anybody on our team. He got banged out there. He had to make tough runs against one of the best rushing defenses in America. He did early on. And then he cracked and got that two-minute drive going and threw the ball to Olave, in the second half kept doing the same thing.
When we couldn’t get things going, we had to run him a little bit. And he did it. And he was physical. He was powerful. He kept third downs alive. I thought he played really well in this game and he played tough and I’m proud of the way he performed.
Q. I know that you’re in a situation right now where you take it one day at a time and improving on things you need to focus on. You’ve been around a lot of football wondering your perspective, you’ve won every game by 20 or more (inaudible). What does that say about a team (inaudible)?
COACH DAY: Well, I think it shows toughness. I think it shows our capability. One thing I say, we talk to the guys all the time about how if you can do it one week, that means you can do it. But can you do it week in, week out? That’s what’s really hard in college football. It’s like March Madness, you can’t lose a game. You’re not allowed to. How do you go about doing that? And when you look at our schedule we feel we have a good chance, as anybody on the schedule. But when you put them all together, it becomes a little overwhelming because so many things come into play like we’re talking about, distractions or things that show up, injuries, lack of focus, not getting your energy level up.
Whatever those reasons are, not taking care of the football — all it takes is one or two of those bad things and you can get yourself jammed up in this game. I think so far it’s showing that we are playing with discipline and we’re doing a good job week in, week out of preparing the same way.
COACH DAY: I haven’t thought much about it. I’m going to sleep tonight. This has been a tough week for everybody. There was a lot that went into it. So I’m going to go home and enjoy this and then we’ll come up for air.
We all know that all that matters is what happens at the end of the year. So you can say what you want to about rankings. Doesn’t matter, if you don’t keep winning — if we keep on winning, we’ll need to be where we need to be.
Q. There’s that moment, Wisconsin at fourth and three, I think it was Tuf Borland who pointed to the center. Do you remember that?
COACH DAY: Yes. Timeout first.
Q. Do you think he earned that call by pointing there —
COACH DAY: I think the Horseshoe got that one. That was loud. I think Buckeye Nation heard that. We called timeout. We got back up. It was loud. A communication issue I think. I’m not sure how it played out. But I know it was real loud, as loud as we got.
And it makes it so hard. I can’t think of the support enough, the kick off, rain, and they were loud and they helped us in this game big time.