COLUMBUS (WCMH) — With Ohio State’s season over after a 52-24 loss to Alabama on Monday night in the national championship game near Miami, the biggest loss that the Buckeyes may have to contend with in the offseason is quarterback Justin Fields.
Fields is a junior and almost certain to declare for the NFL draft, where he is projected to be the second quarterback taken after Trevor Lawrence of Clemson.
Fields was not asked directly after the game if he were leaving Ohio State, although he did say at one point, “I’m going to miss everybody.”
Coach Ryan Day also seemed to indicate Fields’ departure, saying, “He’s an unbelievable player, and I’m going to miss him.”
Fields, 6 feet 3 and 228 pounds, appeared to play hurt against the Crimson Tide. Fields suffered an illegal hit Jan. 1 against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl when linebacker James Skalski hit his ribs and was ejected for targeting.
“He was not 100% tonight,” coach Ryan Day said after the game. “He was working through it.”
It was a memorable two seasons since Fields transferred to Ohio State from Georgia. At Ohio State, he completed 396 of 579 pass attempts for 5,373 yards with 63 touchdowns, and he was named Big Ten MVP this season as the winner of the Chicago Tribune Silver Football award.
If it were Fields’ last game with the Buckeyes, it was far from his best. He completed 17 of 33 passes for 194 yards with one touchdown. He was coming off six passing touchdowns against Clemson.
Fields only had one worse performance this season, a 22-10 win over Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game. Fields completed just 12 of 27 passes for 114 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions in that game.
In every other game this season, Fields completed at least two TD passes. And for his Ohio State career, he passed for 63 touchdowns and rushed for 14 more. As a starter, he went 20-2.