After losing to Michigan again, Ohio State tries to keep going | NFL

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — With a potential first-round draft pick at quarterback and a group of elite skill players surrounding him, the window for an Ohio State national title run seemed wide open.

But with the season hampered yet again by Michigan and the prospect of losing CJ Stroud to the NFL draft, the Buckeyes must be wondering where they’re going and what’s next?

You still have a shot at retiring to the college football playoffs and finding redemption. That requires some help from other teams and a consideration of the Buckeyes’ work, not just Saturday’s 45-23 loss to the No. 3 Wolverines.

Otherwise, Ohio State is heading for a Rose Bowl gig and another painful 365 days trying to figure out how this happened.

“I don’t know what’s next, but that’s life at Ohio State,” said coach Ryan Day. “I certainly know what this game means to everyone, so if you lose it all comes back to me. I’m the head coach and that hurts the most.”

Stroud sounded like a man who might move on if things don’t break the Buckeyes’ path in the next two weeks.

“Honestly, I don’t know how I’m feeling right now,” said the third-year quarterback. “Everything happened so fast. I don’t know if it was the last time I played in the shoe, but I enjoyed every minute of it.”

Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy had the best game of his career, throwing three long touchdown passes and running for another score. Running back Donovan Edwards, playing in place of the injured Blake Corum, shredded Ohio State’s defense for two long second-half touchdown runs that seemed to sap Ohio Stadium’s energy.

Day was asked if the loss was worse than last year’s 42-27 setback in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“It’s hard to say at the moment. It’s not the result we all envisioned,” he said.

Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles was brought in from Oklahoma State to help improve Ohio State’s defense after being embarrassed by Michigan last year.

“You just have to take responsibility,” Knowles said. “Obviously the players were injured. A lot more than me. I am devastated. But these are young men who put their heart and soul into it. They’re the ones I have to look into the eyes of and talk to about all these things – schematic, technique, fundamentals. Everything that goes with it has to fall on my shoulders.”

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