Ohio State took care of business on Saturday.
Nebraska hung around for most of the first half, staying within three points of the Buckeyes until the final two minutes of the second quarter. But Ryan Day's team got some momentum, forced turnovers and pulled off a 52-17 victory in the season opener.
Afterward, Day and two of his players – Justin Fields and Wyatt Davis – along with defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs joined the media for a virtual press conference over Zoom.
A bullet-point rundown of what each of them had to say:
- "I thought that Nebraska came out and played a really, really good game. They had a good plan early on." He says his players and defensive coaching staff deserve credit for making adjustments that worked.
- "I thought Justin did well. He didn't force anything." There were a couple of sacks where he could've thrown the ball away, Day says, but they'll get that figured out.
- Day says he wishes he took a knee at the end of the game. "I just want to publicly apologize for that to Scott (Frost).
- "The No. 1 goal is to go 1-0." The tricky thing at Ohio State, he says, is to win but also win up to high standards.
- Day says he would've taken allowing Nebraska to 17 points. "Overall, I thought (the defense) did a really good job."
- On Haskell Garrett playing: "I think it was good to get him out there." He says Garrett's experience and ability were helpful at a position where they want to rotate.
- Day points to the veteran linebackers adjusting in the middle of the game as something that helped.
- He says it was good to get newcomers like Trey Sermon, Julian Fleming and Jaxon Smith-Njigba out there.
- Day says they have a big challenge coming up: "We've got to go to Penn State on the road and win a night game."
- "I thought the offensive line still played pretty well." He says he thought they knocked Nebraska off the ball well.
- On Chris Olave's status: "He seemed good. Had a good look in his eye."
- On playing in an empty stadium: "It was a strange feeling. I can't sit here and say it wasn't different. It was."
- They weren't focused on making a Game 1 statement but rather just wanted the victory.
- Day says he knows Frost and Nebraska's defensive coaches, and he knows they wouldn't call for the hits that led to targeting penalties. "I would be shocked if there was any malintent there."
- On how good this passing game can be: "I don't know. We'll see. It's a good start, certainly."
- He says it's challenging preparing in Week 1 but thinks they adjusted well.
- Coombs says they'll have an answer for the quarterback runs in due time after watching the film, but the defense didn't handle them well early on.
- He says it was "weird" in a stadium without fans. "We've got to get used to it because that's the way it's going to be." He says it's not as fun.
- Coombs said he told Haskell Garrett after the game that “It's a miracle” that he was able to play today after being shot in the face two months ago. Praises Garrett's work ethic to continue preparing for the season even while he was recovering from his injury.
- Overall, he says, he thought for a group of young players, the secondary played "pretty well." Says he's "excited about them."
- "I think we played well for Week 1." He says they'll watch film on Sunday and figure out what to work on.
- Fields on playing in an empty stadium: "It was definitely weird, you know. I was looking at the stands to celebrate with some fans but nobody was really out there."
- He says the main goal is a win, so they're happy with the result. They'll figure out what went wrong with the run game later.
- Fields says he didn't know if Jaxon Smith-Njigba in bounds on his touchdown: "I had no idea if he got his foot down or not."
- He says he'll be sore tomorrow, but that's why they have the training room.
- "Garrett's just a great receiver all-around." The ability to go multiple directions, he says, makes him especially dangerous as an inside wideout.
- He says there's "definitely a sense of calmness" in the stadium and that made it easier to communicate.
- On the potential of this passing game: "I think we can be really good."
- He thinks the first drive of the second half gave them some more momentum when they "started to get going."
- On if he's better this year: "I hope so." He says he thinks he's better in all aspects, including both passing and running.
- He said the scrimmages the Buckeyes played in Ohio Stadium over the last few weeks helped them prepare for playing without a full crowd in the Shoe today. Davis on no fans in the building: "Me, personally, it didn't bother me at all."
- He says he was really impressed by how Nicholas Petit-Frere and Harry Miller played. "I really do believe that once we get rolling, our running game will be even better than it was last year."
- He says a couple of months ago, it seemed like this game wouldn't happen. He's "really thankful for the opportunity and everyone behind it."
- On pass protection: "Definitely needs to be fixed moving forward, especially going against Penn State." He calls it "unacceptable." Says they'll "keep that burning desire to get better this week."