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Ohio State's Ryan Day Discusses College Football Playoff Berth, Previews Georgia

“What an unbelievable chance to go do something special.”

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with the media for approximately 30 minutes on Sunday afternoon to preview the College Football Playoff semifinal matchup with Georgia, which will take place at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 31.

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Below is a bullet-point recap of everything Day had to say:

  • Day on the Buckeyes’ third College Football Playoff appearance in four years: “Certainly a lot of energy and life in the Woody today.”
  • Day said it was a “shot of adrenaline” to hear their name called on Sunday afternoon. Added there’s precedence for a team to win it all after sneaking in.
  • Day said this opportunity wasn’t available just a few days ago, but it is now. “Everybody was just dying have a shot to win this, and now we do.”
  • Asked what Ohio State can change following the loss to Michigan, Day said they have to hammer fundamentals. “We had too many explosive plays.” Said they have to do a better job of putting the players in a position to succeed. “It comes down to accountability and ownership.”
  • Day believes they did a good job of preparing the last time they went to the playoff. “The goal was to be I the CFP at this point, and here we are. It was a strange way to get here. Now it’s just a matter of what we do moving forward.”
  • On the potential for a national championship rematch with the Wolverines: “You don’t want to get ahead of yourself would be unbelievable. It would be historic to have that opportunity. To say we haven’t thought about that, of course we are. Everybody’s thought about that.”
  • Day said the focus is on the Bulldogs, though. “They have a lot of weapons and they’re very well-coached. Big challenge for everybody across the board, but it’s something – going into the season – we knew Georgia was going to be in the way.”
  • On being an underdog against the defending national champions: “I don’t know how many people are going to give us a chance in this game. We’ll have to see.”
  • Asked if they viewed it as beneficial that they had the week off and could start scouting potential opponents in the playoff. “We wanted to be playing in the Big Ten Championship Game, and that hurt, so no, it was not a good week. It was an awful week.”
  • Day said they didn’t have anything to focus on over the last week and didn’t control their own destiny. That’s changed now. “This is an opportunity that we didn’t have 48 hours ago, and now we do. So what do you want to do with it?”
  • Day said the loss to Michigan was a reminder of how everything can be taken away so quickly and that they have to be loose and aggressive moving forward. “There’ll be no fear of failure.”
  • “What an unbelievable chance to go do something special.”
  • Day said “we’ll see” about the status of wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba but that everyone else should be available for the game against the Bulldogs. “Being at full strength will be important to go beat these guys.”
  • “The goal was to be in this situation. Not to lose that game, but to be in the CFP. We're two wins away from winning the national championship.”
  • Day said they have to play better in all three phases for the game. “We’re not going to dream (about what we could accomplish), we have to get back to work.”
  • Asked how he felt about the possibility of playing Michigan in the semifinal, Day said it was out of their control. “Wherever they puts, they put us. We’ve got to win them both anyway.”
  • Day said he hasn’t sent anything to Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham just yet after the upset of USC, but notes how he has a tremendous amount of respect for him and the program.
  • Day said the defensive breakdowns against Michigan were “a litany of things.” Said games like that ultimately come down to one or two plays, but they gave up four or five big ones that made it get out of hand.
  • Day confirmed the Buckeyes were going to run a fake punt against Michigan, but didn’t want to talk about it “At the end of the day, it just didn’t get done.”
  • Day said Ohio State is going to have to play well on offense and put up points if they’re going to win. “You’re going to have to score points against a team like this, that’s for sure.”
  • On the aftermath of the Michigan game: “You can imagine what that was like – or maybe you can’t. It was awful.” Day said he hasn’t paid any attention to the criticism he’s received. “If you did, it would drive you insane.”
  • Day said they practiced on Wednesday and Thursday with the mindset that they were going to make the College Football Playoff. Wanted to keep their edge and not going into "offseason mode."
  • On two Big Ten teams making it to the College Football Playoff for the first time, as well as Penn State reaching the Rose Bowl: “I think it’s great for the Big Ten.” Said that gauntlet makes them stronger.
  • Asked what comes to mind when he sees Georgia: “Big challenge. That’s why they’re the defending champs and undefeated this season.”

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