The second that Ohio State’s 37-3 win against Minnesota hit final on Saturday, the Buckeyes’ focus shifted instantly to the coming matchup this week, a top-three game against Michigan in Ann Arbor Though according to head coach Ryan Day, it’s possible that Ohio State – even slightly – may have taken a small look ahead to the Wolverines.
“No comment,” Day said. “I can’t get into that. I would just say, though, that our team did a great job of staying focused this week. Not easy to do for anybody, but we did. We stayed in the moment and played well. But the minute we get into that locker room, it’s on to the next week.”
But now, it’s full-go ahead toward Michigan, with a Big Ten Championship Game berth and potential College Football Playoff appearance on the line. Quarterback Kyle McCord, who will play for the first time against Michigan, said it’s been a year-long build up to The Game.
“We say we prepare for it 365 days a year, and I truly believe that,” he said. “The guys on the team, we think about it every day the way the last two years have gone. To be back in the same position that we were in last year with a chance to right the ship, everybody is definitely excited for it, without a doubt.”
Defensive end Jack Sawyer, though, has taken the field in each of the last two losses. He and defensive coordinator Jim Knowles feel more confidence from the defense this season, and Sawyer is looking forward to another crack at the Wolverines.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “We’re in the same spot we were last year at this time. We’re both undefeated. This year, we’re going up there and it’s going to be a good game. We’re excited. All the focus goes to them now.”
And for all the outside noise going into The Game – whether it’s talk of sign stealing or Ohio State’s two losses in as many years – the Buckeyes are going to try and block as much of that out as possible, with an eye trained toward Michigan Stadium at noon on Saturday.
“The preparation is going to be crazy,” cornerback Jordan Hancock said. “There’s not going to be any outside talk. We’re not going to listen to outside talk. We might not be talking to our families as much, just watching film and really just trying to win that game.”