Following Ohio State’s easy 49-28 win over Clemson, Buckeye head coach Ryan Day spoke with reporters for a few minutes. Following Day, quarterback Justin Fields answered questions as did several other Buckeyes. Here are the highlights of what everyone had to say.
— Last year’s game weighed heavy on this team and it was great to get this win against a great team. After all of the trials and tribulations over the last 12 months, he couldn’t be happier. It was hard. “This team really showed what they were made of tonight.”
— After last year they wanted to get back here. Clemson being here as well added some flavor to it. In life, you don’t often get the opportunity for a second chance. He’s not sure he’s happier about beating Clemson or getting an opportunity to win it all.
— Justin Fields hasn’t played in a lot of big games like this. The Indiana game bothered him. Then last week people were talking poorly about him and that bothered him. “He learned a lot about himself last week.” The conversations with Fields were if you go out and play well in this game, nobody will ever remember the Big Ten Championship Game. When Fields got hurt, Day asked him if he was able to go and Fields told him he didn’t have a choice.
— Fields told Day he took a shot in the back and didn’t know what was hurt, but his back took a shot. Fields said he was good to go though. They will get it assessed now.
— It’s huge for the program to beat Clemson and get over the hump. “This was big for us. This was a statement for us. Especially after what happened last year.” To play the way they did means a lot for this program. Now they have to get to the Bama film.
— What will stick with Day about Fields tonight? “It was kind of a blur but there was a time in there where he came off the injury, went back in, then threw the touchdown pass to Ruck.” Day asked him if he could throw and Fields told him he thought he could. Then he threw the touchdown pass and jogged off the field holding his back. He’s tough.
— Fields had an edge to him this week. The Northwestern game didn’t sit well with him at all. “That’s what great competitors do.”
— Around the second quarter he realized his guys were going to have a good night. The rhythm got going and caught Clemson off guard.
— You never know exactly how you’re going to play. They hadn’t played their best game on either side of the ball. “There was a lot of anxiety going into the game.”
— The game last year didn’t sit well with Chris Olave and he had to watch that game over and over again. That made both Olave and Justin Fields were sick. They were nervous that they weren’t going to get him back. “One of the more clutch players as a receiver maybe in the history of Ohio State football.”
— This Fields performance ranks as high as he’s ever seen. “Amazing.” The interception was Day’s fault. “That was my fault. I should have run the ball.”
— This performance will hopefully go down for this teams as a landmark game. There were a lot of tough days for this team. Hopefully fans were able to watch the game and had a good day in what has been a rough year.
— The defensive game plan was excellent. The defensive players really put a good effort in executing the plan. “We knew they were going to make plays. We didn’t flinch. Was it perfect? I don’t know but it was gutsy and they were really good.”
— Trey Sermon’s rise started against Michigan State. That’s where he got his confidence. He has become a big-time back and a difference maker. He’s been special. Give credit to the offensive line and tight ends.
— His body is pretty beat up right now and he will be hurting tomorrow but his teammates pushed him and the sacrifices they had made all season long meant he had to stay in the game.
— It hurt every time he threw the ball and didn’t worry about the pain until after the throw. That’s when his ribs would hurt. “I signed up for it.” It’s football. Just glad they got the win.
— The doctors didn’t tell him anything. He took a shot or two but his right side hurts and his hip a little but the doctors didn’t give him a diagnosis.
— Everybody doubting them pushed them even more. He prepared for this game like he’s never prepared before. He’s proud of his teammates for the way they played.
— Ryan Day is a great leader and treats him like a son. “To have him as our leader makes me a better person.” As far as being a role model, “this just shows anything is possible.” “I’m blessed.”
— This game never had a turning point. Both teams were scoring early on but the Buckeyes were relentless throughout the whole game.
— This win means a lot for him personally. “Coach Day, he deserves it.” Everybody in the program deserves it.
— “We just didn’t want them stealing our signals and that’s why we huddled up a little more than we usually do.”
— He has missed the tight ends a lot this year and they went into the week determined not to do that again.
— He and Chris Olave worked hard for this game. They stayed after practice and worked on the play-action touchdown tonight.
— They watched the first quarter of Notre Dame and Alabama and it wasn’t a surprise that Alabama won. “I’m just excited to play them.”
— He had a different edge to him this week. The Northwestern game happened for a reason.
— Everything is week to week when it comes to schemes and this week the tight ends were called upon. They are ready for that and any kind of role that is brought to them.
— When you get this far in the season everything motivates you. They heard everything Dabo Swinney was saying and they used that a bit as well.
— Something like what Justin Fields did tonight is expected. He’s great. “I’m happy to call him my brother.” He took some nasty shots. Davis knew he’d be back if he was physically able. He’s shown it before.
— As long as they can get Trey Sermon some creases they know he can pick up big yards. In this game when it mattered the most they were able to run it with Sermon.
— They knew Clemson was one of the best offenses in the country. “We couldn’t get down on ourselves and lose confidence in what we were doing.” It showed the character of this group that they were able to bounce back and stick to the game plan.
— Last year was terrible leaving the field and this year was obviously much better.
— The attitude all game long was “stay at it.” Clemson was going to get yards on everybody. “They’ve got talent all over the place. What we couldn’t do was give up touchdowns in the red zone.”
— “Obviously, Justin is an unbelievable player. I can’t say enough good things about him. I can’t say enough good things about the offense.”
— Every day in practice for the last month or so the running game with Trey Sermon and the offensive line have been awesome. Credit to those guys who have gone out there every day and getting better.