Not much of the second half was pretty.
Ohio State, though, got the result it wanted: A 49-27 win at home versus Rutgers. Afterward, head coach Ryan Day and several players – Justin Fields, Justin Hilliard, Chris Olave and Tuf Borland – joined the media to discuss their play.
A bullet-point rundown of what each of them had to say:
- “It is a tale of two halves. Really proud of the way our guys came out and played.” Says they “didn’t play very great” in the second half. Notes special teams and penalties as areas of concern in the game.
- “We should have really dominated in the first five or six minutes of the second half.” That didn't happen, so the backups never entered.
- Day says without any juice in the stadium, this team has to “bring our own energy” better in the second half of blowouts. “We’ll focus on that this week.”
- “I thought in the first half, it was pretty good. I thought we were tackling well and running to the ball.” Notes there were some missed tackles in the second half.
- When he knew Fields would be a generational talent: “Pretty early on. I knew he had the potential to be.”
- “Just disappointed about the second half.”
- Says about the last throw to Olave, “(Fields) made it look like a 12-yard out.”
- If he’s ever seen this many trick plays: “No. Especially the onside kicks. It was like a New York sidewalk. They were going back and forth, back and forth.”
- He says they knew Greg Schiano would be aggressive. “We didn’t quite know it was going to be all of those things.”
- “We’re not making excuses at all.” Says they need to clean up the penalties and other errors.
- On defending the trick plays: “I thought we did a great job.” Says he felt his team was prepared for what happened. “We can’t always be worried about that. We need to be aggressive.” He points to the fake punt that Ohio State successfully employed.
- Day says he wants to go back to the film and figure out what happened. “I think if we practice better, we’ll finish better.”
- “It’s a strange season. It was a strange week. There’s so many things at play.” Says they’re going to do what they can to stay healthy and go beat Maryland.
- On Ohio State's offense: “I don't think we're at our peak yet.”
- Saying they’re focusing on improving and reaching their peak: “I just hope we do that, and hopefully that will be enough.”
- On his short touchdown pass to Chris Olave: “It worked out kind of like a scramble drill.”
- “I think we can get better in all aspects, to be honest with you.” Says they’ll watch the film and see what stands out that needs work.
- He says he’s not sure whether this offense is more advanced or not.
- “I feel like I’m just trying to go out there and do my best.” Says he thinks he’s better in “all aspects” of the game.
- Calls Demario McCall a “dynamic player.” Says he’s a “huge leader” for this team. “I feel like we can use him in a multitude of ways.”
- On if he thought he'd be in the game so long: “To be honest, no.” He says Day was talking in the locker room about allowing too many points in the second half.
- On Garrett Wilson: “Y’all are just seeing what he does all the time.”
- Fields says he feels he’s improved since Week 1. He doesn’t know how to define that, though, with any numbers.
- He says the entire offseason was spent on continual improvement. “It was great to be back out there.”
- Hilliard says “It’s something we’ll work on. It’s something we’ll get fixed.”
- He says he had a minor injury in Week 1 but was good to go in Week 2 before the false positive. “It sucks, but we’re moving on.”
- On missing the game against Penn State: “Obviously, there was frustration, a little bit of anger.” Says he had to set that aside to support his teammates.
- On his forced fumble and recovery: “That’s something we practice on.”
- Hilliard says he’s been trying to impress upon his teammates the importance of realizing how precious every moment is. “Live in the moment and take every single game, every single practice.”
- “There’s a big sense of urgency.” He says they know they can’t “be off on one game.” Thinks it’s important to take it one game at a time.
- On what’s working in the passing game: “There’s just so much chemistry.” Says all the work in the offseason is “showing up” in the first three games.
- “We’ve got great tight ends in Luke (Farrell) and Jeremy Ruckert.” Says they open up a lot on the outside for the wide receivers.
- Olave says they want to “stick to Buckeye football” on offense.
- How Fields has improved this year: “I feel like he’s just got more comfortable in the offense.”
- His touchdown: “Justin threw a dot.”
- Says they know they need to “close it out” better.
- He thinks Ohio State started out as well as the team would ever want to.
- “It’s hard to comment on what exactly happened when you haven’t watched the film yet.” He says the first half was obviously good and the second half was different.
- Says it was a “very, very different week” coming in on a Monday with Tuesday off this week, but he says they can’t use that as an excuse.
- “We were all heartbroken for him.” He says the energy Hilliard brings on a daily basis is one of the reasons why he means so much to this program.