Josh Proctor was already battling one injury going into Saturday’s game against Oregon, and he left the game with another one.
Listed as a game-time decision on Saturday morning’s status report after suffering what appeared to be a shoulder injury in the season opener against Minnesota, Proctor didn’t start Saturday’s game at free safety – Bryson Shaw started in his place – but entered the game in the second quarter.
He appeared to be unhindered by that injury, but then suffered what appeared to be a more severe leg injury while making a tackle in the third quarter. Proctor was carted off the field with an air cast on his lower right leg – which typically indicates a serious injury – and Ryan Day was not optimistic about Proctor’s prognosis after the game, though he did not share any specific diagnosis.
“Josh’s injury looked not good on the field,” Day said. “Obviously praying for the best, but it did not look good when we were on the field.”
Proctor was one of two Ohio State players who had to be carted back to the locker room during the third quarter of Saturday’s game. Running back Marcus Crowley was also driven back to the locker room after a hard collision on Ohio State’s opening kickoff of the second half. He was able to get to his feet after the collision, but appeared to be bleeding from his face. No update on Crowley’s condition was provided after the game.
Stroud plays through pain
While C.J. Stroud has played every snap of Ohio State’s first two games at quarterback, he revealed after Saturday’s game that he was also playing hurt – and his postgame comments following the Buckeyes’ 35-28 loss suggested that there may have been some doubt about whether he actually would be able to play this week.
“I thank God that I even got to play this game,” Stroud said. “He’s been a blessing this week for me, and I’ll say it like that. I’ve been through a lot this week. So just being out there felt good.”
Asked to elaborate about what he went through this week, Stroud said he was dealing with “just some nicks and bruises” from the Minnesota game. That said, Stroud appeared to be favoring his shoulder at times on Saturday and in the season opener as well. For what it’s worth, Stroud was also seen favoring his shoulder during the final practice of preseason camp that was open to the media in August, when Stroud didn’t throw for nearly the entire practice on what Day then described as a rest day.
Nonetheless, Stroud threw the ball 54 times against Oregon, completing 35 of those passing attempts for 484 yards, the second-most passing yards in a single game by an individual player in Ohio State history. And he says he wasn’t affected by his injury on Saturday, though he didn’t deny that he had been dealing with a shoulder issue when he was asked about it.
“I was healthy enough to play, so that’s really all that matters,” Stroud said. “My receivers did a great job to create separation for me today, and I feel like even after I got going, I didn’t feel any pain in my shoulder. So yeah, I’ll be alright. I’m good.”
Munford, Day question call and non-call
A pair of decisions made by officials on back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter derailed a potential game-tying drive in Ohio State’s seven-point loss on Saturday.
With the Buckeyes just past midfield on 3rd-and-10, Stroud ran for an 11-yard gain that would have given Ohio State a first down and put the Buckeyes at Oregon’s 38-yard line. The play was called back, however, by a holding penalty against Thayer Munford.
Whether that actually was a holding penalty was very questionable. While an Oregon defender went down to the ground after Munford attempted to block him, it appeared the defender was not grabbed by Munford but rather slipped on his own while going around Munford. That said, Munford was beaten off the snap by the defensive lineman, so he took the blame for the play going against the Buckeyes even though he felt it should not have been called holding.
“I bit on the inside move, and he went outside, so I put myself in a horrible situation,” Munford said. “But also at the same time, when I saw the replay, I was like, ‘OK, that’s not holding.’ But also at the same time, it’s against us. I’m not really tripping about it. Can’t really go back on that at all.”
On the very next play, Oregon linebacker Noah Sewell appeared to lead with the crown of his helmet while tackling Chris Olave two years downfield on 3rd-and-20. The play was reviewed for potential targeting, which Day thought it was, and Ohio State would have received 15 yards and an automatic first down had the penalty been assessed. The replay official, however, ultimately determined that Sewell’s hit did not constitute targeting.
“I was told it was reviewed and then they made the decision that he turned his head right before,” Day said. “It did look like that to me, but they saw it upstairs in slow motion.”
Left with a 4th-and-18, Ohio State punted, and its offense would not get back across midfield for the rest of the game.
Attendance hits six figures, but not without issues
Despite the revelation on Tuesday that Ohio State still had approximately 10,000 tickets available for Saturday’s game, attendance for the first home game with fans at Ohio Stadium since 2019 ultimately reached the six-figure mark. Officially, there were 100,482 people in attendance for the Buckeyes’ home opener.
Day expressed regret that Ohio State was unable to come through with a win for all the Buckeye fans who packed the Shoe.
“It was really loud there in the fourth quarter and everything we thought it would be,” Day said. “Very disappointed we weren’t able to pull out the victory for everybody who came today, because it was a great crowd.”
The athletic department issued an apology of its own to fans who attended Saturday’s game for an entirely different reason than the play on the field. Saturday marked the first time that Ohio State utilized digital-only ticketing for a football game, and many fans experienced significant delays getting into the stadium as a result.
“The Ohio State Department of Athletics thanks the 100,482 fans who attended the season opener today against Oregon,” Ohio State said in a statement. “Today was a landmark day, with digital tickets and mobile parking passes. We want to apologize to those who experienced delays entering the stadium that were caused by a number of reasons, including a technical issue with wifi and learning curves with new technologies and new systems. We did reach a point where we allowed fans in line to bypass the scanner and show their tickets to gain entry.
“We will learn from today, make improvements and we anticipate next week will be better.”
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