COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord orchestrated the Buckeyes’ last-second, comeback Saturday over against Notre Dame.
McCord spoke one-on-one with NBC4 sports reporter Justin Holbrock about the win over the Irish, what he’s proven so far, his thoughts on Ryan Day defending Ohio State’s toughness and much more.
‘Built Ohio Tough’
During Wednesday’s media availability, McCord wore an Ohio State sweater with the words ‘Built Ohio Tough’ in the style of the Ford logo. It’s hard not to think that was worn on purpose after Buckeyes coach Ryan Day called out former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, who questioned OSU’s toughness. McCord showed resiliency, bouncing back from mistakes to complete 10 of 13 passes for 155 yards on third downs.
“Definitely, the toughness I think both physical and mental,” he said “Being 10-for-13 on third down is really good and to be able to go down and put that last drive together was huge. That’s about as tough as a win you can get. … I think a lot of the questions around me were, was I built for that moment or not? And I think the team rose to the occasion.”
McCord said Day’s comments about feeling disrespected by Holtz was his coach’s way of showing his love for the Buckeyes.
“Every single guy in that locker room has his back and we know that he has our back, so to be able to see him show that emotion like that on national TV was pretty cool,” McCord said. “People were saying whatever about Coach Day, but just to see all the work that he puts in, all the passion that he puts into coaching us and to get that win not only for the players but for Coach Day was a surreal moment.”
Ohio State’s defense forced a pivotal stop to give McCord and the offense the ball back with 1:26 left. McCord said everyone on the sideline was confident the Buckeyes were going to score. He completed five passes for 73 yards to lead to the winning touchdown run by Chip Trayanum.
“As soon as we got that completion to Emeka [Egbuka] up the seam, I knew we were going to be rolling, we were going to be good,” McCord said. “I knew if we got the ball back, there was no doubt in my mind that we were going to punch it in — you know, something that we’ve practiced 100 times since I’ve been here.”
McCord’s ability to execute also came to light. Ohio State faced a fourth down in which he threw a pass to Julian Fleming on a crossing route to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, he responded to his intentional grounding penalty by throwing a 21-yard completion to Egbuka on third-and-19 to the 1-yard line. He sprinted to the line of the scrimmage and got the offense set to spike the ball and give the Buckeyes a chance to run two more plays.
“The moment I saw the ref put his hands up, and knowing we just went down and put together a great drive to win the game, it’s just all the hard work that’s what I was really thinking about that took to get there,” he said.” Our offense made it count when it mattered most.”
When asked how people might refer to the game in the future, McCord said simply “maybe third-and-19.”
Just four weeks ago, McCord didn’t know if he would be Ohio State’s starting quarterback after backing up C.J. Stroud for two seasons. Now, he knows he can lead the Buckeyes to a special season if they stay focused.
“To get that experience on the road against a team like that in a hostile environment, it’s really good because we’re going to play in some tough venues this year,” he said. “Now, it’s just back to the drawing board: how can I continue to develop and grow off that and learn from my mistakes and what did go well just continue to build off that.”
Ohio State turns its attention to Maryland in a game Oct. 7 at Ohio Stadium.