Ryan Day reacts to Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl targeting call for first time publicly
It wasn’t the time.
Ohio State and Ryan Day had just lost a heartbreaker to Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and emotions were raw. In addition to that, Day didn’t have the benefit of replay to comment on one of the most controversial call/non-calls during bowl season.
You know it well by now. Ohio State was driving with a 35-24 lead very late in the 3rd quarter, looking to put up another touchdown to make it a steep, steep climb for the Georgia Bulldogs. Quarterback C.J. Stroud scrambled and put up a back-foot throw that seemed to be destined to head through the end zone. However, it fluttered towards the back line, and Marvin Harrison Jr. was there looking to make a play when he was wallopped by Georgia defensive back Jevon Bullard.
Harrison Jr. was knocked unconscious and a flag was thrown for targeting. It would have put OSU at first and goal with a good chance of punching it in, but the call was overturned upon review. Harrison Jr. had to leave the game and would not return after suffering a concussion.
Afer the game, Day said he’d have to see the replay to really comment on the overturn but questioned how one of the game’s best receivers could have sustained his injuries without a blow to the head.
Well, now Day has seen the replay and he spoke to the media in Columbus on Wednesday and didn’t pull any punches about what he felt was the wrong decision. He said he spoke to a lot of people and made a lot of phone calls, even speaking to Big Ten coordinator of football officials Bill Carollo as well as the Pac-12, who had the crew on the field for the game. He wanted an explanation and the one given to him he could not disagree with more.
“I spoke with the officials in the Big Ten and had a great conversation with Bill. I then called at the Pac-12 to find out an explanation there, Day said. “The explanation that was told to me was that it wasn’t forceable enough. I then asked to speak with the head of the officials, Steve Shaw. He explained to me that the hit didn’t go right to Marvin’s head, that it wasn’t a shot right on his head, it was to the shoulder. I completely disagree with that. But that was the decision that was made and those are the two explanations I was given.”
There are no moral victories of course when you’re playing for a national title, and there are a lot of calls that led up to that play. In a game as close as what we saw on New Year’s Eve, a bounce, a call, or a timely stroke of luck by one team often makes all the difference in the world. Unfortunately for Ohio State, losing Harrison Jr, who had been torching the UGA secondary all evening probably tilted the fate for the Buckeyes in Atlanta.
Hopefully, for 2023, it’s just another log to the fire to come back and make good on a missed opportunity.
“When you get that close, you’re talking about one or two plays and one or two calls, that hurts,” Day said. “It does. And so I know it’s motivating to our guys.”
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