COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State coach Ryan Day previewed the Buckeyes’ upcoming game at Northwestern on Tuesday afternoon
You can watch Day’s news conference in the player above.
Day spoke to the media a few hours before the Buckeyes discover its position in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. The top four teams at the end of the regular season qualify.
Day said Ohio State deserves to be in the top-four for Tuesday night’s rankings but will not be watching the reveal to focus on Northwestern. “Doesn’t matter all that much now,” said Day regarding the first CFP rankings.
He provided an update on the injury running back Miyan Williams sustained to his hand against Penn State. Day explained that Williams got his hand caught in the chains of the first down marker and said the injury does not look serious.
Day also said he is hopeful wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba can return to play for regular or post season play. Smith-Njigba has seen the field very little since sustaining a hamstring injury against Notre Dame in the Buckeyes’ first game.
Saturday will be a massive mismatch as the Buckeyes arrive to Evanston, Illinois as nearly 40-point favorites against the Wildcats (1-7, 1-4). Despite the mismatch, Day is instilling that his team will continue its competitive stamina against a coach in Pat Fitzgerald who he said has done an “unbelievable job” with Northwestern.
“It’s a Big Ten matchup on the road. We need to play at a high level,” said Day, “That is the goal here.”
Second-ranked Ohio State is coming off a 44-31 win over Penn State in which the Buckeyes trailed by five points with nine and a half minutes left but led by 20 points six minutes later.
The sudden change came from two touchdowns by the offense and two turnovers forced by sophomore defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau, including an interception return for a touchdown.
Tuimoloau had arguably the best individual performance by a Buckeyes defender with two sacks, three tackles for a loss, one pass breakup, six tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two interceptions. He played a part in all four turnovers, which resulted in 21 points for the Buckeyes.
Marvin Harrison Jr. continues to step up in his place, making 10 catches for 185 yards, both career highs for the sophomore. His 10 catches all went for a first down, and three came on third-and-10 and another on fourth-and-7.
C.J. Stroud ended the day with 354 yards and went 6-of-8 passing for 128 yards and one touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes rushing game was held under 100 yards for a second-straight week. 42 of OSU’s 98 yards came on a 41-yard touchdown run by TreVeyon Henderson in the fourth quarter. Day spoke about the run game stating there is no glaring issues but comes down to one player not executing on each play, which could make a difference to the run game working or stalling.
The defense allowed 482 total yards, including 371 yards passing, but the Buckeyes have forced 10 turnovers in their last two games.