Presser Bullets: Ryan Day Says the Buckeyes "Have To Be Able To Win Ugly," Hopes Jaxon Smith-Njigba And Julian Fleming Will Be Back Next Week Following Notre Dame Win

By Griffin Strom on September 3, 2022 at 11:57 pm

The Buckeyes cleared the first hurdle on Saturday.

It wasn't always pretty, as Ohio State took a 10-7 deficit to halftime against Notre Dame, but blanked the Irish in the second half to finish with a double-digit win at the Horseshoe.

Following the 21-10 win, Ryan Day, Jim Knowles and members of the Buckeye roster stepped up to the microphone to break down the first scarlet and gray win of the 2022 season.

Here's a bullet-point breakdown of everything the Buckeyes discussed in the aftermath of Saturday night's big win.

Ryan Day

  • "We just beat the No. 5 team in the country by 11 points. I couldn't be any prouder of the way we played. A lot of people questioned our toughness after last year. Well, you look at the film and be the judge."
  • "If we can continue to win games like that, then that's how we'll win games."
  • Day says "it was a struggle early on" and that the loss of Jaxon Smith-Njigba threw the Buckeyes off rhythm. Day credits Xavier Johnson for stepping up and scoring a touchdown in the second half.
  • Day says "the 10 points" were what he was most happy with during the game, in reference to Ohio State's defensive performance.
  • "I'm glad we played them at home because this crowd was awesome." Day says seeing all the former players and fans at the Shoe gave the Buckeyes energy.
  • Day says "we hope to get" Julian Fleming and JSN back this week.
  • Day calls Xavier Johnson "a throwback player" and "it goes to show you that good things happen to good people that work hard. That's who Xavier is."
  • "We have to be able to win that we. We do." Day says Notre Dame is built like many of the teams in the Big Ten are, and the Buckeyes "have to be able to win ugly on offense and stop the run on defense."
  • Day says "it wasn't perfect, it wasn't the way we drew it up, but we won."
  • Day says "we wanted to be known as something more than just talented." Day says TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams "ran hard" and "were determined" at the end of the game. Day says Williams had a "really good preseason" and had 84 "hard-earned yards."
  • Day says the Buckeyes have to be able to run the ball and play defense to reach their goals this season, and they showed that tonight.

Tommy Eichenberg, Lathan Ransom, Emeka Egbuka

  • Egbuka: "We really had no expectations coming into the game, the only expectation we had was a win. ... We're gonna be something special."
  • Egbuka on Xavier Johnson: "I love X, man. X has really turned another gear."
  • Egbuka says Ohio State has the best WR room in America and that everyone who stepped on the field tonight played great.
  • Ransom: "We were called soft all last year and we just had to sit there and eat it." Ransom says the Buckeyes were finally able to show what they're made of against Notre Dame.
  • Egbuka says he had "absolutely no worries" going into halftime and "knew we were going to win."
  • Eichenberg says DT Mike Hall played "really hard" on Saturday.

C.J. Stroud, Xavier Johnson, Mike Hall

  • Stroud says "first games are always weird. It's kinda weird to be out there again, to be honest." Stroud says "we're blessed to be 1-0."
  • Stroud says "Xavier Johnson is a dog. ... He was one of the first people to take me under his wing when I first got to school."
  • Johnson says being a "man of God" is "my strength." Johnson says "it's all for the team and the glory for God."
  • Hall says "I really just gave it my all" in the season opener. Hall says the Buckeyes tried to stop the run because that's what Coach Mick has been preaching on and off the field for months.
  • Johnson says there were "countless nights" where he thought about "throwing in the towel" and giving up the game of football, but that his faith helped get him through.
  • Stroud says his "at the end of the day, I feel like (my O-line) did a great job up front." Stroud says the Buckeyes didn't get a rhythm passing the ball until the end of the game. However, he said he's still happy Ohio State get the win over the No. 5 team in the country.
  • On scrambling around in the pocket a lot on Saturday, Stroud says "I'm willing to put my head on the chopping board for this team to get a win."

Jim Knowles

  • "What I'm most pleased with is the fact that they never flinched." Knowles says one or two missed plays "didn't affect them at all."
  • On Ransom's performance, Knowles says "we saw that from him all camp." Knowles says "Lathan seemed hot" and "seemed game-ready" that's why he played a lot more than Josh Proctor on Saturday.
  • "I think our run defense was stout, really controlled the line of scrimmage." Knowles says he's "really pleased" with the Buckeye D-line, linebackers and safeties.
  • Knowles says the Buckeye players will celebrate this win, but "I won't really." Knowle says "our players expected this, I expected this."
  • On the defensive performance overall: "I'm not surprised, we expected it."
  • Knowles says the Buckeyes didn't do much with the Jack position tonight, although it was effective when they did utilize it.
  • "I think they definitely displayed toughness."
  • On Mike Hall, Knowles says "he's just been totally disruptive during camp and we get feedback from our offensive linemen, they'll tell you how difficult he is."
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