Two weeks are in the books.
Ohio State rolled past Penn State for a 38-25 win on Saturday, marking the team’s first victory away from Columbus of the fall. Head coach Ryan Day, quarterback Justin Fields, defensive end Jonathon Cooper and tight end Jeremy Ruckert met with the media following the victory.
A bullet-point rundown of what they said:
- Day says he thought the team played physically, overall, and “kept playing hard” throughout adversity. He thought the offense had “good balance” and “controlled the ball.” Time of possession isn’t usually a big deal, he says, but it mattered today.
- He says the third-down throw to Jeremy Ruckert was a “huge play in the game.”
- Day on the end-of-first half mess: “Probably the most bizarre things I’ve ever experienced.” He says he doesn’t understand how they ruled that Justin Fields took only one second to kneel. “It was obviously extremely frustrating but another thing we overcame.”
- He says Fields’ ability to thrown down the field and the receivers’ ability to track balls is a big deal.
- On Fields: “I’m proud of his preparation.” He says he’s not surprised with how Fields plays. Also mentions he’s starting to take the meeting room to the field.
- “I thought our offensive line played well.” Also says he thought Master Teague “ran harder.”
- Day says having so many offensive weapons makes defenses “play honest.”
- “This was a big stage. This was kind of our moment to show where we’re at. I’m proud of the way our guys played.”
- Day on the touchdown drive where Ohio State converted 4th-and-1 twice: “I think I needed a drink after that drive.”
- Day says Blake Haubeil told the staff his groin was hurting before the game, so they pulled him out of the game after he missed the field goal.
- “I just think it’s the work from the offseason,” Fields said, adding that he and his receivers are “on the same page.”
- “We knew it was a big game coming into it. As coach Day says, we take it one week at a time, so we’re just going to focus on beating Rutgers next week.”
- Fields says Day has trust in the offense to make calls in certain situations where he lets his guys make plays.
- He says he worked his butt off in the offseason and “it’s paying off now.”
- Fields says he’s taking it one play at a time and doesn’t get too down about making mistakes.
- On Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave: “Of course those guys are talented. They definitely make my job easier.”
- “The more talent we have, the easier job it is for me.”
- On what’s next for this offense: “I’m not sure.” He says they’ll go in and watch film on Sunday and go from there.
- In response to a question about a deep ball to Chris Olave (with a smile): “Which one? The first one or the second one?” He says they have a good connection.
- “I feel like our defensive end group is one of the best in the country, if not the best.”
- “I feel like I’ve always had that in me.” He says the environment and the preparation by the coaches took his game to “the level it was supposed to be.”
- Cooper says earlier this week, they talked about “This isn’t his home. We’re his home now.” He says they wanted to put on a good performance for him because of his history.
- Was this his best game ever? “I don’t know. I don’t even know the stats. I don’t even know what happened.”
- Cooper says there wasn’t a single play that he felt was his best: “I feel like my leadership showed a lot tonight.”
- He says the defensive line prepared for this and talked about this type of game all year.
- Cooper says they knew Penn State wouldn’t lay down in the second half, so all they can do is watch the film and figure out how they stuck in there.
- On defensive tackles Haskell Garrett and Tommy Togiai: “I think they’re amazing. I think they have been playing the best football of their careers, honestly.”
- “I feel like we threw the first punch early. But when it comes to a fight or a football game, you’re going to get punches thrown right back at you.”
- He says a lot of the tight end production stems from how the block and how they play in the run game.
- On his second touchdown, he says, he knew there was a possibility that he’d be as open as he was.
- Why the passing game is clicking: “We practiced so many days throughout this summer.” He says Fields isn’t forcing any passes.
- On Penn State: “They’re a great team. They’re very tough.” He says the Buckeyes played physical, which opened stuff out.
- Ruckert says he thinks Ohio State “really made a statement” with how many ways it can hurt opponents.
- He says Fields has “really taken a step” as a leader. “We all ride behind him.”