What Ohio State HC Ryan Day, Players Are Saying About Facing Utah Football

Dec 31, 2021, 5:01 PM
Ryan Day - Rose Bowl Press Conference...
(Photo courtesy of the Rose Bowl Game)
(Photo courtesy of the Rose Bowl Game)

LOS ANGELES – The 108th Rose Bowl Game features two teams that are not familiar with one another since they have only played each other once.

Utah and Ohio State met for the first time ever back in the 1980’s. Their second meeting will be at the “Granddaddy of them all.”

In Los Angeles, players from both Utah and Ohio State met with the media as well as head coach Ryan Day and Kyle Whittingham, and their coordinators.

Here is what Ryan Day and his players had to say about facing Utah in the Rose Bowl Game.

Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day

The Buckeyes play in one of the top conferences in all of College Football in the Big Ten. OSU came up short of winning the Big Ten title after losing to Michigan in their regular season finale.

Day was asked how playing in the Big Ten has prepared his team to face Utah.

“Well, in the Big Ten, certainly the last six games, that last six games was a strong one,” said Day. “We had to bring it every week. I do think that Utah is similar to some of the teams that do play in the Big Ten. They line up with several tight ends. They have different ways to attack you, but they want to run the ball, control the game, play complementary football, play excellent on defense, don’t
give up big plays. So I just think that our conference week in and week out, you have to bring it. So I think that it prepares all the teams in our conference to play well.”

C.J. Stroud, Quarterback

Heisman finalist C.J. Stroud will face a talented defense in Utah. He knows it will be a challenge on Saturday.

“They do a lot of good things,” said Stroud. “Number 0, Devin Lloyd, he does a great job. He is an all-world player. He can play the game. They’ve got some good DBs. Safety does a great job of reading eyes. The corner, number 8, he is really handsy, and he likes to jump stuff. The D-line, number 42 and 7 do a good job of creating pass rush and doing things like that. I mean it’s another week. You always see good opponents, but at this level and, of course, this game you have to take it a little more serious.”

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Wide Receiver

Jaxon Smith-Njigba is now the No. 1 wide receiver for Ohio State on Saturday after Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave opted out of the game to begin preparing for the 2022 NFL Draft. Smith-Njigba is ready for the challenge against a talented Utah defense.

“When I watched the film, they’ve got some great players,” Smith-Njigba said. “They play really hard. Yeah, they play really hard. It’s going to be fun.”

Ronnie Hickman, Safety

Ohio State safety Ronnie Hickman is one of the leaders in OSU’s secondary. He was asked about the challenges they will face with Utah’s offense.

“The quarterback is a really good runner and a really good thrower,” said Hickman. “Savvy quarterback so we have to keep our eyes on him. They have some really good running backs. They like to run the ball a lot. So just being able to stop the run and also control the quarterback will be huge.”

Utah and Ohio State will battle on Saturday, January 1, 2022 at 3 p.m. MT on ESPN.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.

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What Ohio State HC Ryan Day, Players Are Saying About Facing Utah Football