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What Ohio State’s Ryan Day, Rutgers’ Greg Schiano Said About Heated Exchange

"We were both protecting our players. That’s what good coaches do."
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With Ohio State facing a 4th-and-2 from its own 39-yard line midway through the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s 49-10 win over Rutgers, sophomore punter Jesse Mirco rolled right, tucked the ball and ran 22 yards down the sideline for a first down.

As Mirco stepped out of bounds, Scarlet Knights punt returner Aron Cruickshank made a late hit in front of the Buckeyes’ bench, which led other players to come to his defense. Pushing and shoving quickly ensued, so Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano ran across the field to help break up the scrum.

That’s when Schiano and Ohio State head coach Ryan Day had a heated verbal exchange, with both drawing offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties before retreating to their sidelines while Cruickshank was ejected for a flagrant foul.

The two coaches had a 10-second conversation during the postgame handshake, then downplayed the incident in their respective press conferences as two coaches who were simply protecting their players.

“My player was in a sea of Ohio State players and it was closing fast,” Schiano said. “I wanted to make sure of two things: I wanted to stop our team from coming across the field (because) that’s how things get very ugly and I wanted to make sure our player got out of there safely.

“We’re both very competitive guys. I have the utmost respect for Ryan. We’re good friends. We’re good. There’s no problem between us … We’re not going to let that get in the way. It’s a heat of the moment, competitive. We were both protecting our players. That’s what good coaches do.

“Like I said, I just didn’t want a fight to break out. It’s not good for Rutgers. It’s not good for Ohio State. It’s not good for college football. So, mission accomplished, it didn’t happen.”

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Day and Schiano notably coached together in Columbus for two seasons as the offensive and defensive coordinator, respectively, on former head coach Urban Meyer’s staff from 2017-18, though Day did not retain Schiano when he was named head coach in 2019.

“They came after the punt and Jesse rolled out to the right. Nothing we had ever worked on, he just saw it and took it,” Day said when asked if he called a fake. “It was just a football play, and then he took that shot on the sideline and things got heated. You know, one coach defending their side, one coach defending theirs. No hard feelings at all.

“I told him that after the game, and (I) have an unbelievable amount of respect for him, so that’s all that was … There’s a lot of emotion. I think he was just trying to get his player out of there. Things like that happen in football.”

As for what he said to Mirco after he decided to call his own number when up 39 points, Day said they’ll “talk about that tomorrow.”

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