Ryan Day still upset with targeting no-call in Ohio State’s CFP semifinal loss
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day revealed in a press conference with local media on Wednesday that he was still not happy with a controversial decision in the 42-41 loss to his team against eventual national champion Georgia in a college football playoff semifinal at the Peach Bowl.
Ohio State star receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. left the game in the third quarter after a hard blow in the end zone by Georgia safety Javon Bullard. The Bulldogs defensive back was allowed to stay in the game when officials ruled after a replay review that he did not commit a targeting penalty.
Day spoke at length about the game – and his fury at the non-appeal – for the first time on Wednesday, revealing that Harrison was not only knocked out of the game, but literally knocked out on the play.
“I made a lot of calls after the game,” Day said. “I felt like it was targeted. At the moment when things are going fast and you can’t see the replay, it’s very hard to see. The hardest thing for me is that our medical staff let us know he was knocked out and that’s why we’re not going to put him back in the game, but the flag is picked up for targeting.”
Day revealed that he then spoke with umpires from the Big Ten as well as the Pac-12, the conference whose umpires worked on the game. (It’s common in college football games, especially major ones. , to have teams of umpires from one conference that are not represented by any of the teams in the game.) He also spoke with Steve Shaw, the national coordinator of NCAA football officials.
“The explanation given to me [by the Pac-12] was [Bullard’s hit] wasn’t energetic enough,” Day said. “I then asked to speak to the head of officials, Steve Shaw. He explained to me that the blow didn’t go straight to Marvin’s head. It wasn’t a bullet in the head, it was in the shoulder.
“I don’t agree with that at all, but that’s the decision that was made and those are the two explanations that were given to me.”
Day made it clear that he was taking a filtered approach with his response, even checking with an Ohio State sports news official to see if he had permission to talk about the play. During the game, he was visibly furious on the sidelines after the no-call, and it looks like the fury hasn’t fully subsided in the month since that game.
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He was right. Regardless of the legality of Bullard’s move, Harrison’s departure was a massive loss for Ohio State. Coming off a 2022 regular season in which he established himself as one of the best wide receivers in college football, Harrison had already racked up 106 yards and two of five touchdowns caught in the Peach Bowl before his injury.
The good news for Day and Ohio State is that Harrison is expected to return to the Buckeyes in 2023. However, he will have a new quarterback throwing the ball to him after Heisman Trophy finalist CJ Stroud declared himself for the draft of the NFL 2023.
Redshirt sophomore Kyle McCord and redshirt rookie Devin Brown, both former top prospects fresh out of high school, will compete for the starting quarterback position in spring training, and Day said Wednesday that he would like to name a starter by the time the team’s spring camp wraps up.
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Day also revealed he was considering giving up his offensive play calling duties to newly promoted offensive coordinator Brian Hartline, who is widely regarded as one of the best assistant coaches in the country. Hartline will announce the games during spring training, Day said.
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