Ohio State faces its biggest test since the early-season loss to Oregon this week with Penn State heading to Columbus for a top-20 showdown under the lights.
Ahead of Saturday's primetime showdown, Buckeye head coach Ryan Day took to his final weekly media availabilities on Thursday afternoon, joining his weekly radio show on 97.1 The Fan and briefly meeting with the media to offer some final updates.
Here are some of the highlights.
Ryan Day Radio Show
On how the team is performing
- Day is happy with the team's success but recognizes that there's a lot still to accomplish
- "We have to stay locked in and humble."
- "I think the guys are enjoying the preparation – the mental part. And this huge for big games."
On C.J. Stroud's throw to Jaxon Smith-Njigba
- "We call it the one-inch throw."
- Day joked "that one might have been smaller than one inch."
On TreVeyon Henderson
- Day notes that as games get tighter, he's going to have to get the small carries for the team and not just hit home runs.
- "In these tighter games, he's going to have to make the two or three-yard carries."
- "When he gets to the second level, he'll let his natural ability take over."
- "The big plays will happen."
On pulling guys at the half
- Day said a few players were upset when he told them they weren't going to play in the second half last week.
- "A couple of guys we had to get in a fistfight with," Day joked.
- "That's good, though," Day said, praising their competitiveness.
- "They put the hard work in throughout the week and they wanted to play."
- "Certainly they're going to have a chance this week. They'll have to play four quarters."
On getting reserves into the game
- "We were coaching in that game even in the third and fourth quarter like it was the first quarter."
- Day said they don't waste those late quarters because it's a chance for development of the young players.
- Day notes that it means a lot for those players to get in the game, so they owe it to them to keep coaching hard.
On huddling more this year
- "At different times we feel like different plays or different formations give us a little bit of an advantage out of the huddle."
- Day said it can "keep a defense on their heels."
On C.J. Stroud's quarterback sneak
- Day praises Stroud's toughness.
- "He's going to have to win with his feet at times."
- Day notes that sometimes Ohio State is going to have to run the quarterback.
On playing in the rain
- Day notes that Ohio State wasn't expecting the rain, but he was happy to see how they performed.
- "They handled it well, and it was good to see."
- Day notes you don't have to be perfect in difficult weather, "if we can just handle it better than our opponent."
On the new OT rules
- "I was thinking in that if we were in that situation, we'd have to be drawing up two-point plays on the sideline between periods."
- Day notes that's not something you typically have a lot of time to practice given that you don't typically have that many two-point conversion attempts in a game.
- "It certainly makes you think you have to have a few in your back pocket."
On the red zone
- Day notes that the times Ohio State has struggled most this year is when they've failed in short-yardage situations.
- "Any time you can get a stop and force a field goal, that's like scoring four points. That's the way I look at it."
On Penn State's receivers
- "Obviously led by Dotson, somebody that we recruited. He's a great player."
- Day also praised the tight ends.
- "They're dangerous."
On Penn State's defense
- "Very good defense, very good scheme."
- "They're very good. I think they've only given up about 14 points per game."
- "We've got to be ready."
- "It's going to be a physical game like it always is."
On the cornerbacks
- "You've seen a lot of guys come in and play."
- "They enjoy competing."
- Day notes they have a lot of confidence and they play hard.
On Marcus Crowley's injury
- "That's hard. That's a hard part of the game."
- Day notes that there's more to these guys' identities than being football player, and that helps after a season-ending injury.
- Day said "it's a tough sport" but Ohio State does everything they can to minimize injuries.
On Kyle McCord's preparation
- "I thought he played with a little more discernment in that game."
- Day said McCord "took control of the game" on Saturday.
- "Certainly I feel much more confident than we did about a month ago."
- Day notes it's been huge that the backup quarterbacks have been able to get reps.
On the scarlet uniforms
- "I think so. It seems like they are."
- Day said he hasn't asked the players about it, but he assumes they are excited.
- Day said they haven't seen them, just the pictures online.
On Saturday being a big recruiting weekend
- Day said it will be a huge recruiting weekend for Ohio State.
- "They get to see the best environment there is in college football on Saturday night."
- Day said, "you come to Ohio State for games like this."
On the secondary
- “I think we have a lot of talent on defense but we have a lot of young players,”
- Barnes said there’s no substitute for game reps.
- “Those hand reps are invaluable.”
On the defensive line
- "Larry Johnson is the best D-line coach in the country – bar none."
- "That’s a talented room, but a young room.
- Barnes said everyone looks for sacks, but at the end of the day “we’re in the business of affecting the quarterback," and Ohio State's done a good job of that.
On the linebackers
- "They’ve done a great job."
- Barnes praised Al Washington.
- Barnes called the linebackers also "a talented room but a young room" with “not a lot of game experience.”
- “The most complicated room we have.”
Ryan Day's Thursday Press Conference
- On Tyreke Smith: “The potential’s always been there. He’s had a few injuries that have sidelined him this season.” Day says he hopes Smith’s best football is ahead of him this season. “He’s a very important part of our defense.”
- Ryan Day says the Buckeyes have “general thoughts they like” to enter a game, but that they can’t get too ahead of themselves scripting plays to start a game.
- When asked if Day showed the clip of Marvin Harrison Jr.’s spin move against Indiana to the whole team this week, Day says he would actually rather show them the play where Harrison caught a pass over the middle despite taking a big hit. “I was happy to see him make some plays, because I got a feeling he’s gonna help us here the second half of the season.”
- Ryan Day says the upcoming game is not likely to play out like the last few games have for Ohio State. Day says “all it takes is one Saturday, and your season can be ruined.”
- On Paris Johnson, Day says he was very impressed that he was OK with moving from tackle to guard. “He’s learned very quickly. He plays very, very hard.”
- Day says that recruits are seeing this season that Ohio State is willing to play young players, and particularly on defense.
- On the topic of NIL opportunities, Day says Buckeye players have to manage their time well and prioritize certain things above others. Day says this year is a learning experience because NIL is new.
- Day says recruits that want to be Buckeyes are prioritized above others, and that players who want to transfer out if they don’t get playing time right away are not a good fit.
- Day says a night home crowd can “bring a huge advantage for us.” Day implores the Buckeye crowd to be “really loud” on Saturday.
- Day says the Buckeyes are “hoping” Master Teague is available Saturday, but that the team will have to see how the next couple days go.