Rose Bowl Quotebook: Ryan Day Says “We Weren't Going to Be Denied,” Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s dreams Come Tru - Eleven Warriors

For a game that some branded "meaningless," Saturday's Ohio State win in the Rose Bowl felt reasonably momentous when the clocks hit zero.

The Buckeyes rallied lower back from a 14-factor deficit at halftime, and both a shielding turnaround and listing-atmosphere pair of performances from C.J. Stroud and Jaxon Smith-Njigba spurred on a victory that helped wash the bad taste of remaining month's Michigan loss out of the Buckeyes' mouths.

When breaking down the competition, beginning anywhere besides Smith-Njigba's FBS bowl list (and new single-online game Buckeye high) 347 receiving yards would quite simply consider disingenuous. Buckeye head educate Ryan Day heaped loads of compliment on the megastar sophomore after the game, and referred to the 15-capture, three-touchdown displaying become one of the most efficient within the background of the Rose Bowl.

"I think Jaxon's done what he's carried out all yr, and that is the reason simply play within himself. definitely one of the plays he made tonight became significant. We leaned on him a great deal," Day talked about. "At one element I asked him, are you drained? On the play there the place Clark caught him, he looked at me like what are you asking me for? Are you loopy? i go lower back available. And played one of the vital gold standard video games doubtless within the historical past of the Rose Bowl."

For Smith-Njigba, the efficiency that earned him the Rose Bowl's Offensive MVP award capped off a surreal evening in Pasadena.

"It's the classification of game that I dreamed of," Smith-Njigba. "I wouldn't desire it another way, so for that to take place, I'm just blessed."

Day additionally credited his Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback, as C.J. Stroud entire the evening with a brand new Ohio State checklist 573 yards and six touchdowns throughout the air.

"I also thought C.J. and (Smith-Njigba) just have a good connection.they have a fine think, and i think there's a lot of believe there it really is been constructed over the yr," Day said. "I suppose it came about a little bit in that Nebraska video game. Who knows? You should ask them. possibly it took place closing yr, I have no idea.  however they read each and every different definitely neatly, and they've bought a different connection. The throw on the landing circulate, the interior slot fade, the throw and the catch there is probably as good as I've ever seen in a large time spot."

After the online game, Utah head train Kyle Whittingham agreed with one reporter who requested him if Stroud became the most advantageous quarterback within the country.

"i'd say it really is likely accurate. The youngster is significant," Whittingham mentioned. "Like I noted, the QBR, the quarterback rating equipment that ESPN makes use of, which in my estimation is essentially the most accurate and the most telling of data for selecting how smartly your quarterback's enjoying, he leads the nation. I think you saw it tonight why."

The second half turnaround became harking back to Ohio State's comeback win in the 2019 big Ten Championship game, by which the Buckeyes got here returned from a two-landing halftime deficit. And plenty like that video game, which featured a rousing halftime speech from C.J. Saunders, Day mentioned crew leaders stepped as much as get the team returned heading in the right direction with some mighty messages.

"I kind of took a step lower back. … at halftime, there become a bunch of men in that locker room that stepped up in a big approach," Day pointed out. "We pointed out how that 2019 big Ten Championship video game in opposition t Wisconsin, a bunch of fellows did that. That identical element took place at halftime during this video game. you probably have that type of leadership from inside, that's if you happen to can do whatever you want. I believe, as we springboard into this offseason, it really is the part that we're really going to move again upon during this game is the management that drove us in the 2d half that we weren't going to be denied, and two of them are sitting appropriate right here. 

If we need to get to where we wish to be subsequent 12 months – it's a long approach faraway from now, but i am already brooding about that first video game and what that potential is the management from these two guys has acquired to basically springboard, specially the style they played in the second half of this game, but truly the total video game, and or not it's basically going to construct some momentum."

Buckeye defense Bryson Shaw mentioned it was sixth-year Ohio State veteran Demario McCall, who played in his remaining online game Saturday, that stepped up in selected at halftime.

"Demario McCall, the passion he has for this software, it's unmatched," Shaw pointed out. "i love Demario, I'm in reality gonna leave out him, and with out him, things could've long gone sideways there. He basically obtained in the community, brought us in and received us all going."

As for exactly what McCall advised the crew at halftime, Shaw pointed out, "We'll simply preserve that in the locker room."

an extra Buckeye defender that made an influence Saturday became Cade Stover, who switched to Sam linebacker for the Rose Bowl after enjoying the total 2021 season at tight end, and really started on defense for Ohio State. Stover entire with six tackles, and despite the fact Kevin Wilson had prior to now mentioned the stream wasn't guaranteed to be a permanent one, Stover indicated that it could be after the online game.

"I feel so," Stover spoke of with a smile.

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