Presser Bullets: C.J. Stroud Says the Buckeyes “Have to Play A Lot Better” After Nebraska Win, Ryan Day Praises Ohio State's Defensive Effort

By Griffin Strom on November 6, 2021 at 4:43 pm
C.J. Stroud

Ohio State gutted out another single-digit win against Nebraska Saturday, and several Buckeyes took to the podium to discuss the game afterwards.

Head coach Ryan Day was first up to the mic at the post-game press conference, and redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud, senior defensive end Tyreke Smith and a host of other Buckeye players and coaches followed thereafter.

Here's a bullet-point breakdown of everything the Buckeyes said after their seventh straight win on Saturday.

Ryan Day

  • "I think it's great to see our guys win like this. I'm proud of our defense, proud of our special teams. ... It's hard to win in this conference, it's hard to win on the road." Day says "certainly too many penalties on offense, shooting ourselves in the foot."
  • Day says once he reviews the film, he might think the Buckeyes could have won the game "by three touchdowns if we cleaned some things up."
  • Day says he's sure C.J. Stroud wishes he has some plays back.
  • Day says Garrett Wilson will be day-to-day starting tomorrow, and "hopefully we get him back next week."
  • Day says Stroud "forced some things early," and that he will look to see if there were any plays on which he could have run the ball. But Day says he also thought Stroud "did some good things" as well.
  • On opting to throw the ball on the play that Stroud was sacked and stripped late: "If we got the right protection, I thought we had something coming open there."
  • On Smith-Njigba: "He was gritty, in the third quarter he was kind of cramping up."
  • Day says he was "impressed with the defense, and have been all year."
  • Day on Noah Ruggles: "When you kick four field goals and you win by nine, that was huge. ... He's become a weapon for us." Day says "you have to have that in big games when it gets tight ... every point counts, every possession counts."
  • Day says Dawand Jones was "feeling ill" at the beginning of the game, and Nicholas Petit-Frere missed some practice time this week. Day says it wasn't by choice that Ohio State was moving offensive linemen around a lot against Nebraska.

QB C.J. Stroud

  • "Some things weren't clicking in the run game." Stroud says the two turnovers were "blatantly my fault."
  • "Jaxon is the main reason I'm here at Ohio State. Just to see him prevail, I'm happy for him."
  • Stroud says Garrett Wilson is "doing better now" after missing Saturday's game.
  • Stroud says he thought Julian Fleming's sideline toe-top play in the fourth quarter was a reception, "but it's all good."
  • On not running the ball: "If my job was to run the ball, I'd be a running back or something. I throw the ball for a living."
  • "I feel like I played well, but of course you always want plays back." Stroud says the way in which the Buckeyes won the game is "getting to me a little bit more now, I don't know why." But Stroud says he's happy he won. "Definitely want to enjoy the win, but we have to play a lot better."
  • "These are the types of wins you need as a football team. It's not always gonna be pretty. I didn't expect it to be pretty."

DE Tyreke Smith

  • On holding penalties not being called: "It's annoying sometimes, especially when it's blatant ... I said something to the ref one time and I just let it go."
  • Smith says the Buckeyes had to respect their lanes and not go wild when rushing Adrian Martinez on Saturday.
  • Smith says "results are showing" on the Buckeye defensive line as of late. Smith credits the Buckeye offensive line for helping the unit improve.
  • "It's really been paying off. The defense has really been gelling." Smith "it's definitely showing what we've been doing."

K Noah Ruggles

  • "Every kick is the same to me. Even when there's pressure situations."
  • Ruggles says had more field goals in the past two games than he had during the rest of the season combined.
  • Ruggles says "I don't pay any mind to (the crowd) when kicking a field goal in crunch time at the end of a game.

Kerry Coombs

  • On Ruggles: "That's the first time I've ever seen a kicker get 10 Buckeye leaves."
  • Coombs says Tyreke Smith "finally feels like he's 100% healthy."
  • "We feel like we all rely on each other." Coombs says he's still excited about what the Ohio State offense can do.
  • Coombs says the Nebraska offense "gives you a lot to prepare for." Coombs says the Huskers "got two good ones on us."
  • Coombs says Steele Chambers was a little rusty when he first came in the game in the second half for the Buckeyes, but that he ended up playing a very good game.
  • Coombs says "they knew their backs were up against it" playing in a tough, hostile environment. "That's a special Buckeye win."
  • In reference to Cam Martinez, Coombs says "a lot of guys are moving around" due to health, skill set, etc.

OC Luke Wypler

  • On recovering Stroud's late fumble, Wypler said he tried to use some of the technique he sees the defensive players use in fumble drills in practice, even though he doesn't participate in them.
  • Wypler says the Buckeye run game hasn't been the same as it was earlier in the season.
  • Wypler says he was "a little bit more focused" today after having two snap infraction penalties against Penn State in last week's win.

WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

  • "I got a lot of targets today, I felt really good. I tried to make things happen."
  • Smith-Njigba says he "tried to cherish every single one" of the opportunities he was given.
  • Despite suffering from cramps in the second half, Smith-Njigba says he's "never over-used" in the Buckeye offense.
  • Smith-Njigba says he was hurt that he couldn't play with Garrett Wilson today.
  • Asked about breaking his receptions record, Smith-Njigba says he has heard of David Boston before.
  • "Whoever has the ball, we're fighting for him no matter who it is. It just so happened to be me today."

Matt Barnes

  • Barnes calls the Buckeye defense a "work in progress." Barnes says the two big plays given up by the Buckeyes were two "bad calls" by the defensive coaching staff.
  • "Larry Johnson is the best defensive line coach in the history of college football, in my opinion." Barnes says the rush and the secondary have been working in unison as of late.
  • "This is an incredibly hard place to play." Barnes says the Buckeyes are happy to get a win no matter how it looked.
  • Barnes says Craig Young "has a knack for finding the quarterback in those situations." Barnes says Young has been a standout performer on special teams.
  • Barnes says the Buckeye tightened the pass coverage up a bit after some criticism a week ago.
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