COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, and quarterback Kyle McCord met with the media immediately following Ohio State’s Top 10, 20-12 win vs Penn State on Saturday.
You can read the highlights and watch the full press conferences below.
+ On winning with defense, Day said yes, he is ok with it. “That’s two Top 10 wins in the first seven games where the defense played really well.” He gives a lot of credit to Jim Knowles. The players are playing with confidence and Knowles does a great job of giving them information but allowing them to play fast and confident. The whole group had that look in their eyes. Day hadn’t seen the defense like that since 2019.
+ On the offense and sticking with the run in this game, Day said with Penn State having the No. 1 defense in the country, they knew it was going to be that way. They didn’t run the ball well enough and didn’t have enough explosive plays but are 1-0.
+ “I have to give Marvin Harrison Jr. a lot of credit.” For most teams, their first goal is to take away Harrison Jr. but he showed up in a big way today. “It’s hard for me to find someone better in the country. I don’t know how he doesn’t get on these lists.”
+ The crowd was tremendous and it was a difference-maker. The team fed off of the crowd. On a J.T. Tuimoloau sack, Day said it was as loud as he has heard The Shoe in a long time.
+ On Kyle McCord, Day said he took care of the ball. There was the one sack fumble and that would’ve made it a different game if it weren’t for the hold, so they have to take care of that. They left a lot of plays out there on the field on offense, but with the No. 1 defense, and a win, it’s all relative.
+ On Penn State traditionally holding the time of possession but being 1-for-16 on third downs in this game, “if we can play like this, it’s championship-level defense.” The defense is really strong right now.
+ Penn State had NFL players all over the field.
+ The goal is to be 1-0. It doesn’t always look pretty in this game. Since he has been in Penn State games here at Ohio State, the games have been ugly early on and everything happened in the fourth quarter. They knew it was going to be into the fourth quarter and a lot of leaders stepped up in this game.
+ Marvin Harrison Jr. will leave a legacy behind and it’s his work ethic.
+ On the decision to take a knee at halftime, Day said he didn’t want anything to happen. The defense was playing well and they had the ball coming out of the half. At that time, he wanted to get into halftime, figure it out, and go from there. He could have probably let them run it, but he felt like it was the right call at the time at the 18-yard-line.
+ Denzel Burke was close this week but they are hoping to get him back for next week.
+ Cade Stover is one of the most valuable players on their offense. “He made some big time plays.” They have to continue to find ways to get him the ball and could have done a better job of that in this game.
+ Losing Devin Brown hurt because they were hoping to utilize a few things with him.
+ The team played physical today. The defense was physical, Tuimoloau and Josh Proctor, all of them played fast and strong. Tuimoloau can turn himself up a little more in those clutch spots, and he did that today.
+ TreVeyon Henderson ended up being unavailable. They decided close to the game and are hopeful to get him back next week. He is close. On not using Dallan Hayden, they will evaluate this week and see if that was the right thing to do. Day trusted Tony Alford’s opinion on that.
+ On the game and winning with defense, Knowles said they now have confidence that they can win games on defense. Penn State had a pretty good defense, so they talked pre-game about beating Penn State’s offense and their defense. There’s a strong sense of maturity, leadership and they have a chip on their shoulder. They’ve done a lot of work for people to have faith in them.
+ On Penn State being 1-for-16 on third down, Knowles said the players know the scheme and can follow the adjustments. They picked up on that and winning those downs in this game was huge. It came with preparation and players who were knowledgeable.
+ On Jermaine Mathews Jr., Knowles said he just went out and played, and didn’t flinch in the moment. He is really proud of him. “He’s a really good player.”
+ On the linebacker play, Knowles said that with Penn State’s intermediate passing game and a strong running attack, they knew the linebackers would be a focus. He has always had faith in them. But they showed up and had competitive excellence.
+ The defensive linemen has a lot of depth. They have been solid all year, getting pressure, and some people look only at stats but he has always seen the film. They are a good group.
+ On the biggest thing that has clicked with the defense, Knowles said it’s great leadership, players who want to hold up their end and be counted on, and an extra year of knowledge of the scheme. They are seeing the forest through the trees, handle adjustments, and they take a lot of pride in their work.
+ The explosive runs by Penn State were bad calls by Knowles but he adjusted.
+ On settling into the game, McCord said he needed to ease into the pocket a bit more. Penn State had a good defensive line but the more plays the ran, the more they wore them down. “I need to do a better job early on.”
+ On his confidence growing with big wins, McCord said there’s a comfort level, the offense has grown and has done a good job moving the ball. For the most part, they were moving the ball how they wanted to. It’s about continuing to take more steps to put points on the board. The defense played lights out, now they need to add to it.
+ Two Top 10 wins, McCord said is a resume, but it doesn’t mean anything if they can’t continue to stack wins. They have to keep winning and the rest will take care of itself.
+ On throwing to Cade Stover, McCord said he has put the work in the past few years and his work speaks for itself. He has a physical presence and has put the work into his route running. It’s starting to show.
+ On the vibe around the program, McCord said the way the defense plays, it changes the mindset and takes pressure off the offense.
+ There’s so much room for improvement with this offense. There are a lot of plays he wants back. He can’t imagine how good this team can be when they reach their potential. They are really close and after watching film and determining what is holding them back from scoring, it’s always little things. Each week they are cleaning things up, so they are trying to minimize those errors and build.
Photo via Ohio State Dept. of Athletics.