LOS ANGELES – On the surface, things would normally be pretty rosy for a program that is getting ready to cap a season in Pasadena, Calif.
For the 2018 Ohio State football team, the path to the Rose Bowl wasn’t quite as smooth. The Buckeyes opened fall camp without their head coach – Urban Meyer was on administrative leave pending the conclusion of a university investigation – and he was ultimately suspended for the first three games of the season.
After Ohio State polished off a 12-1 run with a win over Northwestern in the Big Ten title game, Meyer announced that the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day would be his last as the Buckeyes’ head coach, with offensive coordinator Ryan Day set to take over Jan. 2.
Speaking in Los Angeles while still serving as an assistant on Meyer’s staff – for a few days at least – Day stressed the importance of ending the tumultuous year on a high note.
“We’re here for a reason,” Day said. “This is a team that’s been through a lot this year and we want to finish it the right way. Finish the right way for Coach Meyer and finish the right way for these seniors – they deserve that.”
“This team has been through a lot this year and we want to finish it the right way.” pic.twitter.com/tvoAzLwsJW
— Tim Moody (@TimLMoody) December 29, 2018
This year’s senior class includes a group of fifth-year players who were on the roster in 2014 when the Buckeyes won a national title. While they won’t be going out with another championship, they could help Ohio State win the Rose Bowl for just the second time since the turn of the century.
“They’ve started out strong and now it’s time to finish this thing strong,” Day said. “A lot of pride and playing for the guy next to you, playing for your brother. It’s really cool.”
No. 6 Ohio State will face No. 9 Washington (10-3), the Pac-12 champion, in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. ET.