As the Buckeyes continue their off week, a handful of Ohio State players met with the media to break down the team's win over Notre Dame and look ahead to the rest of 2023.
Quarterback Kyle McCord, wide receiver Emeka Egbuka and linebacker Cody Simon represented Ohio State players and held individual press conferences on the Woody Hayes Athletic Center practice field on Wednesday.
Among the many topics discussed, McCord broke down Ohio State's game-winning drive and shared that he had "something to prove" in the top-10 road matchup. Egbuka said the Buckeyes must "continue to build off" its marquee win as Big Ten matchups with Penn State and Michigan lie ahead. Simon shared that Ohio State fed off of Ryan Day's energy in his postgame interview with NBC and his press conference with reporters, explaining that the Buckeyes will "always have his back," no matter the circumstances.
Videos from the three media sessions and bullet-point recaps of what McCord, Egbuka and Simon said can be found below.
- McCord on Ohio State’s come-from-behind win over Notre Dame: “It was surreal.” McCord said he was thankful to leave South Bend with a victory and hopes the Buckeyes can use it as momentum for the rest of the season. “I was proud that we were able to pull it out. I am excited to build off of it.”
- McCord on Marvin Harrison Jr.: “For him to come back and still have an impact make plays… I think that tells you everything you need to know about Marvin.” McCord said Harrison’s toughness is a “thing you can’t coach.”
- McCord said Ohio State showed it can be physically and mentally tough on Saturday: “I think the toughness was physical and mental… 10 for 13 on third down is really good. To be able to go down and put that (game-winning) drive together was great.”
- McCord said he was “calm” on Ohio State’s game-winning drive. “Practice is the toughest look I get knowing that I go up against the best defense in America every day in practice.” McCord said he was able to orchestrate the drive because he “converted back to my training… keeping calm and sticking to what I know.”
- McCord said he “felt like I had something to prove” against Notre Dame. McCord said that he’s “made good plays” this season, but nothing was as important as Ohio State’s come-from-behind win over the Irish. “I knew we were gonna score. There was no doubt in my mind.”
- McCord on Day’s postgame comments, his “Ohio Against the World” mentality: “He showed his true emotion. He fired up this team. That shows the guys a lot. … It showed everyone on the team how much he cares about us.”
- McCord credited Notre Dame’s cornerbacks and safeties for their coverage of Ohio State’s pass-catchers: “Their DBs are really good. That was definitely the best secondary we have seen all year. Credit to them for that.” He continued: “They didn’t give us a lot of one-on-one opportunities. With (Marv) being the best receiver in America, that was smart.”
- McCord said that if opponents want to double-team Harrison “it’s pick your poison (since we have) Emeka and Cade.” McCord said Ohio State’s pass-catchers make his role as quarterback easy because of their talent and skill.
- McCord said the Notre Dame game wasn’t Harrison’s “best game statistically,” but he believes Harrison’s impact on the game “isn’t talked about enough.” McCord said Harrison’s ability to tough out his ankle injury was a significant reason Ohio State defeated Notre Dame.
- Egbuka on Ohio State’s win over Notre Dame: “It doesn’t do much for us unless we capitalize on the opportunities we’ve been given.” Egbuka said Ohio State has to “continue to build off this” because top-10 matchups with Penn State and Michigan will come later down the road.
- Egbuka said he’s not surprised that opponents have double-teamed Harrison this season. “We expected it.” Egbuka added that he and Ohio State’s other receivers must win their one-on-one opportunities when teams choose to place an extra player on Harrison.
- Egbuka said his development at Ohio State has been next to McCord. “We’ve put in countless hours on the practice field, working on our craft.” On McCord, Egbuka said, “He will always be the calmest person on the field” and shared his belief that McCord is one of the hardest workers on the team.
- Egbuka said he was proud of Trayanum for scoring Ohio State’s game-winning touchdown. He later added: “We only have three captains this year, but if we had a fourth, it would probably be him.”
- Ohio State’s eight possessions versus Notre Dame were one more than the Buckeyes had in the first half against Georgia in the Peach Bowl last season. Egbuka said that proves “every play out there means more because we have less plays.”Egbuka said Ohio State’s offense “has to stay on pace” in future matchups and take advantage of opportunities.
- On his fourth-down stop, Simon said he “just felt like I had to make a play.” He said he prepares like he’s going to play every snap, so he was ready when his number was called to enter the game for that play.
- On Ryan Day’s postgame comments: “We felt his love for us. And we felt like he always has our back. And in turn, we have his back … We always said we were behind Coach Day no matter what. He’s our leader, and we’ll always have his back.”
- Simon said he could see when Tyleik Williams was a freshman “that he was gonna be a dominant player,” so he’s not surprised by how well Williams is playing this season.
- Simon said Chip Trayanum’s transition from linebacker to running back shows how Trayanum is “100% a team player,” and Simon said he is “so proud of him and so happy that he was able to make that big play” by scoring the game-winning touchdown against Notre Dame.
- Simon described the atmosphere in Notre Dame as “one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever been a part of. Their crowd and their stadium was off the charts.”
- He said the postgame celebration was “probably the most electric our locker room’s ever been after a game.”
- Simon said he’s looking forward to watching his brother, Pitt linebacker Shayne Simon, play against Virginia Tech this weekend during the bye week.
- Asked who he thinks is the best team in college football right now, Simon said “if I didn’t say it was us, I wouldn’t have the trust in my guys.”