Michigan State Quotebook: Haskell Garrett Says “I Meant What I Said” at Skull Session, C.J. Stroud Thought the Buckeyes Had A “Decent” Day on Offense

By Griffin Strom on November 21, 2021 at 8:35 am
Haskell Garrett
© Joshua A. Bickel/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

The oddsmakers might have been onto something.

Ohio State entered as nearly a three-touchdown favorite over Michigan State on Saturday, despite being ranked just three spots ahead of the Spartans by the College Football Playoff selection committee. But before the first quarter was over in Columbus, the Buckeyes already had a 21-0 lead.

C.J. Stroud tied an all-time Ohio State record by throwing six touchdowns in the first half, helping the Buckeyes to a 49-0 lead, and the Buckeyes finished with a dominant 56-7 win over Michigan State at home.

Despite a 655-yard outing for the Ohio State offense in total, the most of the 2021 season, Stroud thought there were still some things the group could have done better in the blowout.

“You can always make things more crisp, make communication better. Not everything is perfect," Stroud said. "We did a decent job today. Definitely never satisfied until the end of the year.”

Buckeye head coach Ryan Day said his team demonstrated just how high its ceiling is with a near-perfect effort on both sides of the ball Saturday, but said he won't get carried away celebrating the win given what lies ahead.

“Well you can see our capability when we’re playing really good football, clean football. We certainly have a high ceiling," Day said. "We’re still striving towards greatness, and it’s bringing it every week and playing really well every week. We certainly have a tough opponent coming up this week, and certainly all of our focus is quickly going to that game. But I know we’re fresh out of this game, proud of the way our games played.” 

It's been almost two years since Ohio State last took on its archrival, and Day said game planning for Michigan has already begun.

“We’re right in the middle of it right now. To take a step back and start to do all that stuff, you’re gonna lose focus on what’s going on right now. We’ve got a huge game, we’ve got everything riding on this thing coming up right around the corner," Day said. "I’ll tell you, the game wasn’t over yet and I was already thinking about it.” 

If the Buckeyes manage have a similar showing against the Wolverines next week, it will no doubt mean that Ohio State's defense will have replicated its ability to shut down the run against Heisman Trophy candidate Kenneth Walker on Saturday. Ohio State held the nation's leading rusher to just 25 yards on the ground and 29 overall on just seven touches.

Senior defensive end Tyreke Smith said that the Buckeye defense was dialed in on stopping Walker this week, as it did not want to end up like the countless other units that have ended up on highlight reel so far this season.

“We talked amongst the D-line, amongst the defense. We just decided to have a different mindset about this week,” Smith said. “We didn’t want to be one of those teams that he did what he wanted against, so we just had that mindset that we were gonna shut him down the whole week. We were playing the scout team like we were playing Kenneth. So we just took that mindset and took it onto the game, took what we did in practice and put it into the game, and it paid off for us.”

Defensive tackle Haskell Garrett was confident enough in the Buckeyes' preparation to guarantee Ohio State fans at Saturday's Skull Session that the Buckeyes would "whoop their ass." The comment could have aged poorly had the game been competitive, but that was not the case at Ohio Stadium.

“It’s just we had a great week of practice, great preparation. A lot of guys sacrificed certain things and made this a priority,” Garrett said. “We knew how big this running back was and how good this team was, and we just had a great practice. I meant what I said and I said what I meant.”

Smith and Garrett were two of several seniors that were honored at Senior Day for the Buckeyes on Saturday, along with wide receiver Chris Olave, who set the program's all-time receiving touchdown record with the 35th of his career against Michigan State. Olave, who had the record-setting ball wrapped in plastic during the post-game press conference, said the day was emotional for him from start to finish.

“I never thought this day would come. I feel like it went by so quick," Olave said. "It started off real emotional. I woke up, my family’s here, so I got to see them last night. I didn’t know I was gonna break (David Boston’s all-time touchdown record) today, but it came early in the first quarter. Running out for Senior Day, I never thought it would come, but it’s finally here. I’m just glad my family’s here.”

Second-year wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who hauled in 10 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown on Saturday, opened up about what Olave has meant to the program after the game.

“It’s an honor. I tell him I appreciate him as much as I can, because he just keeps setting the standard, and us young guys, we got a path, we can follow that," Smith-Njigba said. "That’s all you can ask for. I mean, his legacy – I wouldn’t be here in this position and knowing all the things that I know without Chris. So I appreciate him.”

With Michigan State now in the rearview, the Buckeyes turn their attentions to one final regular season challenge next week, as they head to Ann Arbor for a noon meeting with Jim Harbaugh and company.

View 19 Comments