COLUMBUS — Following No. 2 Ohio State’s 21-10 win over No. 5 Notre Dame, Buckeye head coach Ryan Day and several players — including quarterback CJ Stroud — took to the podium to answer questions from reporters about OSU’s come-from-behind win. Highlights of everything that was said can be found below.
- Surprised by the offensive struggles? “I refuse to answer that question,” smiling. “We just beat the No. 5 team in the county.” “It’s not easy to do. It’s hard.” “I couldn’t be any prouder of our team and the way the team played.” Watch the film and you decide if you think that team was tough tonight. ND’s game plan was to hold onto the ball and run the clock.
- CJ Stroud made some huge plays down the stretch. You can see who CJ wants to be. Winning is important to him.
- “The story of the night was the defense.” “I’m proud of our guys.” He’s okay winning games like this. When you can win games in different ways, it shows a lot about who you are.
- Early games are clunky. Losing Jaxon got them off schedule. Great for Xavier Johnson to step up and step in.
- Is the chemistry where it needs to be with the receivers? They have a great rapport. Also hurt not having Julian Fleming. “We were down some guys.”
- The 10 points allowed was the best part of the game. The energy on defense was off the charts. Jim Knowles called a great game but the players played.
- This crowd was awesome. The former players coming back, it was tremendous.
- They will evaluate JSN and hope to get him and Fleming back this week.
- The offense felt out of rhythm. Couldn’t quite put two plays together and couldn’t convert on third down. Probably went away from the run too early. The run was working. The defense was in nickel.
- Xavier Johnson works every day. He is a throwback player who cut his teeth on special teams. Couldn’t be happier for him. He has grown into a really good football player.
- They have to be able to win like this. There will be games like this that they have to grind out for wins. “We have to be able to win ugly on offense.”
- CJ Stroud was the happiest guy out there because they won.
- They wanted to be known as something other than just talented and he hopes that showed tonight that they can be. The RBs were running hard. “They were determined.” “Was it perfect? No. I didn’t expect it to be.”
- He’s enjoying the fact that they won this way. “It starts with defense.” They know they’ll be able to throw the ball, so if they can run it and stop the run, they’ll be okay.
- They’ve seen Xavier Johnson do this in camp all along. They are all happy for him.
- It hurt not having JSN out there but they still feel they are the best WR group in the nation.
- “Going into halftime I had absolutely no worries.” They knew they were going to win the game.
- What did they show the country tonight? They worked on this all summer long. “We had to just sit there and eat” being called soft all offseason.
- The leadership really showed at halftime. They made their needed adjustments and played well.
- The defense showed up after holding ND to a FG after the big play to start the game. They never freaked out or pointed fingers.
- Mike Hall played really hard. When a guy like him plays like he did, he helps the linebackers so much.
- Things happen but they have a “next play is the most important play” mentality.
- What feels different about the defense? “Just the confidence with everyone.”
- He just came out and played his hardest. He was told a couple of days ago that he was starting.
- The message at halftime was just stop the run. “That’s what we did well.”
- They just kept working and they eventually started clicking. First games are always kind of weird. It can be hard to lock in.
- Who is Xavier Johnson? “Xavier Johnson is a dog.” He’s a hard worker. He took CJ under his wing when he first got here. He’s kind of crazy in the weight room. “He’s a hell of a ballplayer as you can see.”
- Losing JSN is tough because he’s the best receiver in the country. It affects the team and it affects the offense. Everybody stepped up.
- Pass rushing happens in a game. Sometimes you have to make adjustments. The offensive line stepped up and gave him more time. They had to work some things out and get a rhythm earlier. That’s on him though. He has to play better.
- “I’m willing to put my head on the chopping board to get a win.”
- He relied on prayer to give him the strength. “I told him I’m not good enough. I can’t do this.” “And that’s who Xavier is.” He’s a man of God.
- “I’m not gonna lie, it was (crazy)” catching a TD and then getting a tackle on the kickoff return. It’s a testament to the coaches. “That’s all that was, I was in my position doing what I’ve been coached to do.”
- He came to Ohio State with confidence. He was expecting to shock the world as a freshman. He basically had football taken away from him because he didn’t play. He thought about quitting. There were nights where he felt like he had a foot out the door. But he relied on prayer to keep him strong. “I was overcome with emotion” but from the standpoint that he is glorifying the Lord right now.
- Satisfied? “I’m really happy for the players.” There was a play here or there that they gave up. What he’s most pleased with was that they never flinched. They were focused. You saw guys playing fast. The fits were really good. They did a great job against the pulling tight ends.
- Lathan Ransom showed this all camp long. “He’s one of those guys who can see the forest through the trees.” When you have safeties who can do a bunch of things, you can have a role in this defense. He can do it all. He’s not afraid to help out in the run game.
- Why did Josh Proctor not come back in? They have a lot of good players and Lathan was hot. You go with what works “and that’s what we did with Lathan.”
- Why did he choose the press box to coach from? The decision making is helped a lot by the quality of assistant coaches on the staff. It also helped that he was able to bring some QC guys from past schools. The coaches around him made him comfortable in being upstairs where he can see everything.
- “I think our run defense was stout.” They controlled the line of scrimmage. “When you see guys just showing up in the right places, everybody’s like ‘okay…'”
- Players will celebrate the win. “I don’t think I will.” The players expected this. “I expected this.” Tomorrow they’ll look at the film and show the players why everything worked.
- Jack Sawyer was good. He had some good stuff in the running game. “We’ve got to continue to work on it. There’s a lot more we can do.” It was effective but they didn’t really do much with it tonight. He kept things basic so the players could play fast.
- Five or less busted plays for an offense in a game and this team will be undefeated. He has told the defense that. But he admits with this offense that it’s probably seven or eight.
- Mike Hall has been “totally disruptive” during camp. The offensive linemen have given them feedback that he’s the hardest guy to block. “We’ve seen that all along.” It was great to see him go off tonight.
- It’s difficult to handle talented tight ends. “I thought we did decent.” (Michael Mayer had five catches for 32 yards.)