The impact head coach Ryan Day has had on the program in such a short time has been considerable.
No school has had more passing touchdowns the past three seasons than the 137 that Ohio State’s quarterbacks have thrown in that time. Ohio State also ranks 10th nationally over the past three seasons in passing yards per game and third in completion percentage. Ohio State’s offense has averaged 531.0 total yards per game - fifth best in the country - and scored 48.7 points per game, which is No. 1 nationally.
Ohio State, in Day’s three seasons, has won eight championships including three consecutive outright Big Ten Conference championships, the first time in league history one school has won three outright league titles. The Buckeyes have also won three Big Ten East Division titles, the 2018 Cotton Bowl and the 2019 Rose Bowl.
Ohio State has featured one of the best teams statistically in school history in 2019. The team ranks first nationally in scoring, first downs per game, third down offense and red zone defense, and it also ranks among the nation’s Top 5 in eight additional categories, including scoring defense (2nd), rushing (5th), total offense (5th) and total defense (2nd). In 2018 Ohio State ranked second nationally in total offense and passing yards, and No. 8 in scoring.
It established Big Ten Conference records for offensive yards per game (535.6), passing yards (5,100), passing yards per game (373.0), touchdown passes (51), completions (396) and total plays (1,131).
However, Day understands the challenge facing his Buckeye team this week is the toughest one of the season.
"What Clemson has done, I could see that argument (for them being No. 1), as well," Day said. "They're the defending national champs, and they haven't lost a game since and played great football.
"At the end of the day, you've got to beat the best to go win the National Championship, and certainly Clemson is that. What matters at the end of the year is who's won, not right now."
Ohio State on Offense:
Ohio State’s average of 531.0 yards of total offense ranks fifth in the country.
The Buckeyes have ranked in the top 10 in total offense in each of Ryan Day’s three seasons in Columbus (2017 – seventh; 2018 – second; 2019 – fifth). Since Day’s arrival, only one Power 5 team (Oklahoma) has averaged more yards per game than Ohio State (524.0).
The Buckeyes have scored more touchdowns over the last eight seasons (605) than any other team in the country and 25 more than the second-highest team (Alabama). In the Ryan Day era (2017-present), Ohio State has scored 40 or more points in 24 of 41 games (58.5 percent) and 30 or more points 32 times (78.0 percent).
Yet, even after having the type of success they have experienced this season, Day knows the challenge that a Brent Venables-led defense will present.
'What they do on defense and what Brent Venables has done year in and year out, they're the best defense in the country," Day said. "If you look over the last five to ten years, you can make a case that they are the best. They change up looks. They're aggressive. He's aggressive, and they're very, very talented."
Ohio State on Defense:
Ohio State’s defense has held 11 of 13 opponents under 300 yards of total offense, a program first, and the Buckeye's rank No. 2 nationally in total defense, No. 2 in passing defense, No. 7 in rushing defense and No. 2 in scoring defense.
The Buckeyes have allowed just 12 plays of 30 yards or more, third best in the country. According to SportsSource, Ohio State ranks first in the country in defensive “mayhem” with 18 percent of plays resulting in TFLs, fumbles or interceptions
But they have not faced an offense that ranks inside the top 25 all season, and the Tigers are one of the best offensive units in the nation.
"The impression is they're the defending champs and they have haven't lost since," Day said. "They have a veteran quarterback now who has played a lot of football and is playing really good. Etienne is one of the best backs in the country. Tee Higgins and some of the wideouts they have are some of the best in the country."