Ohio State coach Ryan Day was widely criticized for Ohio State's anemic offensive performance in the Cotton Bowl against Missouri. Photo Credit: Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY NETWORK Dec 29, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day watches during the second quarter of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic against the Missouri Tigers at AT&T Stadium. Photo Credit: Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY NETWORK

While Ohio State was missing star receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and quarterback Kyle McCord due to an opt-out and a transfer, respectively, the Buckeyes still entered the Cotton Bowl Classic favored to win.

But Ohio State couldn’t beat Missouri. While the Buckeye defense generally held up well, pitching a shutout until the first play of the fourth quarter, the Ohio State offense offense managed only a field goal. The Tigers defeated the Buckeyes 14-3. And in the aftermath of the loss, Ryan Day, Ohio State’s head coach is coming under heavy scrutiny.

Day has won a lot of games since becoming Ohio State’s head coach. His record with the Buckeyes is officially 56-8, which doesn’t even include a 3-0 record as the interim coach in 2018. But in big games, it’s been different. Day is 1-3 against Ohio State’s biggest rival, Michigan. That’s a stark contrast to Ohio State’s two full-time coaches before Day, Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer, who were 9-1 and 7-0, respectively, against the Wolverines.

Beyond just Michigan, Ohio State is 0-3 against SEC opponents under Day, losing 52-24 to Alabama in the National Championship Game after the 2020 season, 42-41 to Alabama in the CFP semifinal (Peach Bowl) in 2022 and now 14-3 to Missouri in the Cotton Bowl. And in general, the Buckeyes have struggled against college football’s top programs with Day at the helm.

Friday’s loss was particularly bad. The struggles can, to some extent, be attributed to Harrison and McCord not being on the field. Devin Brown, who started at quarterback for the Buckeyes, was injured early.

But programs like Ohio State generally have depth at the key positions. So, a lot of people in the college football world were wondering how Day, an offensive coach, could oversee a team that barely cracked 200 yards in a bowl game.

And he was widely panned for Ohio State’s performance.



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