This was certainly not the ending the Buckeyes had in mind.
Less than 24 hours after the national championship blowout loss to Alabama, the wounds are still fresh and the Scarlet and Gray are a little worn out emotionally after a taxing season.
I think back to the late summer and early fall when Justin Fields was leading the charge to get the season back. It's easy to get lost in that fact in the immediate aftermath of a disappointing loss, but this season almost never happened. The Ohio State quarterback was at the forefront of the national charge to play college football this year. Fields and his teammates sacrificed so much the last few months to play during a pandemic, but this wasn't how they wanted to season to end.
“It’s going to motivate me a lot,” Fields said. “We didn’t get the turnout that we wanted to, didn’t get the result that we wanted. But that’s just going to make us work harder. This team deals with adversity very well. We’ve been through a lot of adversity this past year.
That said, I was encouraged to see some fairly positive answers from a few of the players that visited with the media postgame.
"This season is just so unique,” Tuf Borland said. “You know, in August we didn't even have a season, so I think being here is a great accomplishment. Obviously. We're all competitors. We all would love to have won a National Championship and that's why we're here. We were here to compete for and ultimately win a National Championship. But no one is hanging their heads. We're going to learn from this experience, and I think the guys that come back next year will grow from it and be better from it.”
“First off, I just want to say I'm so proud of my guys and my team,” Jonathon Cooper said. “I'm so proud of those guys. They're truly special, and I know we didn't win this game and all that, but they're champions in my heart honestly. I'm so proud of my guys. I couldn't be prouder. I give all my thanks to them for letting me play with them, have an opportunity to do this stuff with them. You know, I'm just trying to keep my head held high for them. They deserve it for everything that they've done."
The Buckeyes did everything they could to try and win a national title this year, and they came painfully close. But sometimes there is a little solace in knowing the better team won, instead of the agony of last offseason when Ohio State felt like the Clemson game was stolen from them. This Alabama team may be one of the greatest teams in college football history and there's no shame in losing to them, even though the season left you with an empty feeling. They should absolutely be proud of the way they competed until the very end of that game.
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