Skull Session: It’s Always Been Ohio Against the World, Ohio State’s Season Changed With Its Win Over Notre Dame and the Irish Got Dumped

By Chase Brown on September 25, 2023 at 5:00 am
Ryan Day

Welcome to the Skull Session.

The best thing about 4-0 is the chance to go 5-0.

Let's have a good Monday, shall we?

 OHIO AGAINST THE WORLD. What a weekend. I mean, seriously. Brady Quinn picks Notre Dame to win, Lou Holtz calls out Ryan Day, Lee Corso dons the Brutus headgear, Ohio State beats Notre Dame, Day sounds off on Holtz, Day dances in the locker room...

What a weekend.

Please allow me to reminisce with some videos.

Look at TreVeyon, Man. So inspirational.

Ryan Day or Ted Lasso?

I think this Ohio State team has the chance to be special.

I'll talk more about that in the next section.

 A SEASON CHANGED. Ohio State vs. Notre Dame, the Buckeyes down four points. One second left. One yard to score.

One yard. 

Ohio State's 2023 season and a narrative about the Buckeyes' alleged lack of toughness stood in the balance.

Chip Trayanum punched it in. Ohio State won.

If the Buckeyes had not driven 65 yards in 85 seconds to defeat the Irish, Ohio State would have watched its CFP hopes dwindle with Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan still on the schedule – leaving no room for error the rest of the season – and a college football season in which a dozen teams could compete for a national championship.

Moreover, a defeat would have added more fuel to the fire the Ryan Day-coached Ohio State teams lack the emotional, mental and physical toughness necessary to win matchups with like opponents.

But Ohio State won, which unleashed a previously unseen version of Day.

"This is a tough team right here," Day told NBC after the win. "We're proud to be from Ohio. It's always been 'Ohio Against the World' and will continue to be 'Ohio Against the World.' But I'll tell you what. I love those kids. We have a tough team. ... Everybody questions these kids all the time. We had one bad half in the last couple of years. That's it. Everybody wants to question these guys. These guys are warriors right here. To come back here and win. For (Kyle McCord) to come back in the second half. I am emotional about this for a reason.

"A lot of people question these kids and say a lot of things about them. And I love them. When someone attacks your family, to come in and win like this, it's special. It's a great win for our program and a great win for Ohio State."

It took toughness for Ohio State to force a Notre Dame punt with under five minutes left.

It took toughness for McCord to complete a 23-yard pass to Emeka Egbuka on 3rd-and-10, a 7-yard pass to Julian Fleming on 4th-and-7 and a 21-yard pass to Egbuka on 3rd-and-19 on the final drive.

It took toughness for the Buckeyes' offensive line and Trayanum to punch it in on 3rd-and-goal.

It took toughness to win.

And in the end, the Buckeyes celebrated one of the most dramatic victories in program history – a victory that had my heart beating out of my chest for the final moments.

"Down four points with a chance to win in a historic stadium, a great environment and against a great defense, you can't draw it up any better than that," McCord said. "To come away with the win, and it wasn't perfect, and there's still a lot to grow, but it feels really, really good."

As McCord pointed out, Ohio State still has issues to work through. I don't mean to diminish them.

Aside from Trayanum’s touchdown, the Buckeyes struggled to run the ball in short yardage, evidenced by a jet-sweep handoff to Egbuka on 4th-and-1 down four on the ND 11 with 4:17 left in the contest (a play call that came after a timeout, I should add). The run defense also looked shaky in South Bend as Notre Dame rushed for 176 yards and a score against the Buckeyes.

Still, Ohio State can shore up some of those problems as the weeks continue. If they do, the Buckeyes’ goals of beating Michigan, winning a Big Ten championship and a national title will all be attainable.

 GET DUMPED THEN, LOU HOLTZ. If Pete Sampson read the previous section, he would disagree with my assessment of Ohio State. In his postgame article for The Athletic, the veteran Notre Dame beat reporter said Lou Holtz was “right to call the Buckeyes soft,” which he believes Day confirmed when he ranted about Holtz's comments on Saturday.

For the first time in decades, Notre Dame went into a game of epic magnitude with the better quarterback and the home-field advantage. It created a sentiment of “If not now, when?” with Ohio State’s work-in-progress setting up the Irish for success. Lou Holtz was right to call the Buckeyes soft, which Day confirmed himself after the game by ranting about the sports radio takes of an 86-year-old retired coach most of his players couldn’t identify. When Ohio State needed tough yardage, it ran laterally with a receiver. When it faced fourth-and-goal, it threw incomplete. For the Buckeyes to get tough on the game’s final snap, all they had to do was count and then figure out where Notre Dame was not.

Ohio State was there for the taking. Notre Dame declined the offer.

I have three sentences. Five words each.

Get dumped then, Lou Holtz.

Get dumped then, Notre Dame.

Get dumped then, Pete Sampson.

 THE BROTHERHOOD LIVES ON. After the Buckeyes' last-second win over the Irish, many people took to Twitter (or X) to express their amazement. On Sunday, the Ohio State football media team made a compilation of some of those posts that included tweets from LeBron James, Kirk Herbstreit, Jenny Taft and Josh Pate among others.

Later that afternoon, Ohio State shared a video from C.J. Stroud's press conference after he secured his first NFL victory, leading the Houston Texans over the Jacksonville Jaguars, 37-17, in DUUUVAL County. In the video, a reporter asked Stroud how a college win compares to an NFL win. The former Ohio State quarterback used the question to shout out the Buckeyes for their top-10 win on the road.

"I come from Ohio State. Go Bucks. You know, got the dub last night, a hard-fought win," Stroud said. "Shout out to Kyle McCord, my dawg. (And) all them boys on defense."

He continued: "Coming from Ohio State, man, it's a pressure element that's pushed on every week. Either you can't lose, or when you're playing a less-than team – or a team that people think is less than – you have to win by 70-plus points. The preparation I put in for college has been almost the same since I entered the league. Every week, my routine is almost the same. I have tweaked things here and there, but everything has been like I did in college.

"I appreciate where I come from. I just got off the phone with Coach Day. He said some things to me that he used to always say to me when I was at Ohio State that resonated. I told him congrats and everything for the win last night. What prepared me for college is working now in the league. This is just the beginning."

I love this.

The Brotherhood is real, folks.

Always has been. Always will be.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Carmen Ohio" by The Best Damn Band in the Land.

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