Ryan Day Ripped by Ohio State Fans After Georgia Loss Despite CJ Stroud's Performance

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 1, 2023

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 31: C.J. Stroud #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks to pass during the second quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 31, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

It's hard to imagine C.J. Stroud playing much better on Saturday night. And against the defending champion Georgia Bulldogs, it still wasn't enough.

Despite holding a 14-point lead to start the fourth quarter, Ohio State couldn't hold on against Georgia, losing 42-41 in a College Football Playoff semifinal for the ages.

ESPN @espn

GEORGIA TAKES THE LEAD WITH UNDER ONE MINUTE LEFT‼️<br><br>What. A. Game. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CFBPlayoff?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CFBPlayoff</a> <a href="https://t.co/wuHbgnRkRz">pic.twitter.com/wuHbgnRkRz</a>

The Buckeyes had a shot to win the game with just three seconds remaining, but Noah Ruggles' 50-yard field-goal attempt hooked far wide.

ESPN @espn

GEORGIA IS HEADED BACK TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP‼️ <a href="https://t.co/9zENcba88W">pic.twitter.com/9zENcba88W</a>

Suffice to say, Ohio State Twitter was in disarray after the heartbreaker, namely at Ohio State's game management on the final drive:

Thor Nystrom @thorku

What in the ever-loving-best-Nathaniel-Hackett-impersonation-fook was Ryan Day doing at the end of that sequence?

Sheil Kapadia @SheilKapadia

Incredible game.<br><br>Taking the ball out of CJ Stroud's hands on first down, given that he had put the team on his back all night, would infuriate me if I were an Ohio State fan.<br><br>Stay aggressive until you are in chip-shot range. A 50-yarder doesn't qualify.

Kendrick Perkins @KendrickPerkins

Let's not Blame that missed Field Goal on why Ohio State lost the game!!! It was a lot that transpired in the last 9 minutes that decided this football game! Real Talk.

Chris B. Brown @smartfootball

That ending sequence for Ohio State left something to be desired… can't really blame a college kicker for not hitting a 50 yarder from the left hash

Emmanuel Acho @EmmanuelAcho

Stroud had gained 5 yards, 12 yards and 27 yards on 3 straight plays. The ball was at Georgia's 31, Ohio state had 2 timeouts. <br><br>Ohio State runs the ball and ends up kicking a FG from their 32 to lose the game 🤮. Just a disgusting way to end the game. Disgusting.

Sam Vecenie @Sam_Vecenie

Ryan Day did a great job for like 59 minutes in that game, then got conservative and set up his kicker for a 50-yarder from the left hash.<br><br>Game changed on the fake punt TO by Smart, and the Harrison hit to knock him out of the game.

Les Bowen @LesBowen

Ryan Day is not a great head coach.

Brandon Walker @BFW

That's on Ryan Day.

Parker Thune @ParkerThune

It is also time to have a conversation about Ryan Day.<br><br>How does one get THAT conservative on the cusp of feasible field-goal range with two timeouts in one's pocket?

It was a particularly harsh result on Stroud, who was brilliant, finishing 23-of-34 for 348 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

ESPN @espn

OHIO STATE STRIKES FIRST 🎯<br><br>C.J. Stroud ➡️ Marvin Harrison Jr. for 6❗️ <a href="https://t.co/MsWHE3DM1V">pic.twitter.com/MsWHE3DM1V</a>

ESPN @espn

MARVIN. HARRISON. JR.<br><br>A diving catch to extend the Buckeyes' lead 💪 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CFBPlayoff?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CFBPlayoff</a> <a href="https://t.co/8co0XnSAUw">pic.twitter.com/8co0XnSAUw</a>

ESPN College Football @ESPNCFB

C.J. Stroud drops in his 4th TD pass of the night 🎯 <a href="https://t.co/p6w83xC348">pic.twitter.com/p6w83xC348</a>

Perhaps just as impressively to the throwing chops he put on display Saturday was the playmaking ability he showed with his legs, rushing for 34 yards while extending a number of plays after breaking the pocket.

But for all of his many impressive accomplishments during his college career, so much of the narrative surrounding him has focused on what he hasn't done.

Hasn't beat Michigan. Hasn't won a Big Ten title. Hasn't won a College Football Playoff game. A two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, but never the winner. Not much of a runner or playmaker with his legs.

Stroud didn't erase those narratives Saturday, but he did make them feel unnecessarily negative. He was awesome, in what was a performance worthy of a future first-round pick at the NFL draft, and folks took notice:

Dan Orlovsky @danorlovsky7

Stroud making himself some real money so far

Jordan Schultz @Schultz_Report

Hopefully this will silence all the C.J. Stroud doubters. Can't imagine how anyone can watch this performance - against a phenomenal Georgia defense - and not see NFL stardom. Special package of size, arm talent, athleticism, mentality! ⭕️📈

Dez Bryant @DezBryant

CJ stroud came to play!

Tony Jones @Tjonesonthenba

Yall mess around and take Will Levis before Young and Stroud if you want to…

Daniel Jeremiah @MoveTheSticks

It's not easy to slow things down against UGA defense. Stroud showing incredible calm/poise and delivering one strike after another. Slow heartbeat. Big time impressed!

Matt Miller @nfldraftscout

Stroud's accuracy and touch are really really good. Ball is on-time and right where it needs to be.<br><br>Yes, he has great WRs, but he helps them out consistently.

The difference between an upset win and a heartbreaking loss was that Stroud and the Buckeyes were held to just three points in the decisive fourth quarter, however. Day will have to own some of that, despite putting on a coaching masterclass for the prior 59 minutes.

That's the cruelty of sports. Sometimes, just one minute can define your legacy. Day and Stroud will be feeling the weight of that harsh truth for some time.

Day will have plenty of time to change his narrative in the future for Ohio State. Stroud will have the chance to do so in the NFL. But on Saturday night, both were left to lament what might have been.