Ohio State is only 11 days removed from its annual battle with bitter rival Michigan, a game that will carry postseason implications in the form of the Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff. However, before the Buckeyes can turn their eyes to the Wolverines, they’ll need to dispatch the Maryland Terrapins first.
With a trip to College Park, Maryland, separating them from the Wolverines, head coach Ryan Day said that the focus remains on the Terrapins but that they’ve also spent a considerable amount of time focusing on building callouses to seamlessly prepare them for The Game.
“(The Game is) something that comes up every week, it comes up every year around this time,” Day said. “The competitive excellence focus is something that we talked about early on so that we got to moment like this, you don’t just walk in on a Tuesday meeting and say ‘Guys, OK, we have to really focus on this week.’ We’ve been saying this all along.”
“March Madness starts the first week of the season around here and so you have to embrace that and understand what it means to bring it every single week,” Day said. “We’re working The Game at the end of the year, every day out of the year. That’s not something that’s out of the ordinary, to know that’s always in the back of our minds.
“Our focus right now is on Maryland, going down there at 3:30 p.m., playing really good football and then going from there.”
The Terrapins enter the game off of a pair of difficult losses to Wisconsin and Penn State, however, they’ve shown they can hang with the best in the conference — playing Michigan to a tight 34-27 result earlier in the season.
As the battle with Maryland will mark the final time the Buckeyes will be able to tee off on another opponent prior to their meeting with Michigan, Day emphasized that the only thing he needs to see from his team against the Terrapins is the level of consistency that they’ve approached each week with, even with The Game on the horizon.
“I don’t think there’s anything that’ll make us say ‘Now, we’re ready to go play this game,'” Day said. “We just have to keep doing what we’re doing and keep preparing in the way that we prepare. (We need to) play well and find a way to win the game and then move on to that one.”