Although Saturday’s Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl is at a neutral site on paper, Ohio State is well aware of the reception they’ll receive when they take the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
As Georgia’s campus sits just 71.8 miles from the host city of Atlanta, the Buckeyes are expecting a hostile atmosphere during the College Football Playoff semifinal matchup. While Ohio State is set to compete in what could be a de facto road game, the Buckeyes have leaned into a familiar mantra to aid in their national title pursuit: Ohio against the world.
“We feel like it’s always been Ohio against the world,” defensive end Jack Sawyer said. “We feel like that’s never going to change. So throughout this whole month of bowl prep, our defense has been playing very pissed off in practice, I think the whole team as a whole has been. And I think that’s where we need to be. And like I said, we’re just really focused and really eager to get back on the field Saturday night.”
Wideout Marvin Harrison Jr. noted that playing the Bulldogs in Atlanta has given him and his teammates some extra juice.
“I always thought it was Ohio against the world, even before this game. So nothing really changes,” Harrison said. “Personally, I’m glad we can play them in Atlanta, in their kind of home arena. I kind of always like being the villain and underdog going into the game, really excited to be able to do that.”
Ohio State has faced several criticisms following its admittance into the CFP as the No. 4 seed, despite falling to Michigan in its regular season finale and missing its conference title game. Although the Buckeyes backed into the four-team tournament, head coach Ryan Day has said numerous times that they’ve embraced the opportunity to salvage their season.
“Everyone has their own journey to get here,” Day said. “The bottom line is we’re here, and we got to go play in the game. How far each team gets here, that’s their own story, but there are four teams left. And everyone’s got a chance to win it. And I guess I could tell you that the last month of preparation has been excellent, though.”