Ohio State head coach Ryan Day’s 22-game regular season winning streak came to an end Saturday with a 35-28 loss to No. 12 Oregon.
The loss marked the first time the Buckeyes lost in Ohio Stadium since Sept. 9, 2017 — when then-Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield planted the Sooners’ flag on the Block “O” logo at midfield. The Ducks took a page out of Mayfield’s book as a rubber duck was planted at midfield following Oregon’s triumphant win in the ‘Shoe.
Day emphasized that the team needs to continue to develop and move past the loss, as their College Football Playoff hopes are not fully dashed yet.
“We have to learn from this. We have to grow from this,” Day said. “There’s still a lot of football left. We’ll figure out on film where the execution issues were and fix them.”
Although it is yet to happen in the Day era, there have been multiple one-loss Ohio State teams to make the College Football Playoff.
Most notably, in 2014, the Buckeyes lost in similar fashion to Virginia Tech in Week 2 at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State then went on to rip off 13-straight wins en route to a national title under then-head coach Urban Meyer.
“We’re going to get on the film tomorrow, make the proper corrections. We’re going to put it behind us and then go play the next game,” graduate defensive tackle Haskell Garrett said. “It is what it is. They did it in ‘14. We can do it in 2021.”
The Buckeyes did it again in 2016, losing to unranked Penn State in the annual “white out” game 24-21 in Week 7. Although Ohio State found a spot in the playoffs, it didn’t have the same success as it did in 2014 when it was blown out by Clemson 31-0 in the Fiesta Bowl.
That loss to Penn State held bigger implications than the Virginia Tech loss, however, as the defeat to the Nittany Lions allowed them to take the Big Ten East and hold the Buckeyes out of the Big Ten Championship game. Since then, Ohio State has won four-straight conference titles.
While the loss to Oregon surely hurts the Buckeyes’ playoff chances, Garrett emphasized that they’re still alive in the race for both the Big Ten title and a College Football Playoff appearance.
“We got a long season. This ain’t COVID anymore. Our main objective is still there to get to Indy. It was a nonconference game,” Garrett said. “We’re going to take this as a lesson. We’re going to get on the film. Nobody should be hanging their heads low. I told them, ‘You know, hang your heads high.’”
Senior linebacker and team captain Teradja Mitchell pointed to a need for him to lead going forward, as the Buckeyes will likely need to go through the rest of their schedule without a loss if they want to have a shot at making the College Football Playoff.
“I feel like I have a huge responsibility. Guys look up to me. I just got to do my part in keeping us a group and keeping us together and understand that we have a lot of work to do,” Mitchell said. “That’s something that we’re looking forward to. We’re getting ready to get back to practice tomorrow and fix the mistakes.”
As the Oregon loss marked the first time that Day lost a regular season game in his three years at the helm of the Ohio State program, he said the team just needs to focus in and get back to work.
“I think when you go through adversity, you find out a lot about your team. You find out a lot about your leadership,” Day said. “When things don’t go well, that’s when you have to show resolve and resilience. And so that’s going to be a lesson for our guys coming out of this game. This is not fatal, but it certainly hurts. It’s unacceptable. And we’re going to get it fixed.”