Skull Session: Ryan Day Says Buckeyes' "Scars" Drive Them, The Run Game Wins The Game and Tickets For Ohio State-Michigan Aren't Cheap

By Chase Brown on November 22, 2023 at 5:00 am
Ryan Day
Adam Cairns / USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Skull Session.

Three more sleeps.

Let's have a good Wednesday, shall we?

 THE SCARS THAT DRIVE YOU. When I entered the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Tuesday, a handful of "Redcoats" directed me toward the Ohio State team room for a press conference with Ryan Day and Jim Knowles.

One can wonder if the Redcoats, whose usual duties are to assist fans inside Ohio State's arenas and stadiums, were stationed there to ensure former Michigan staffer Connor Stalions didn't sneak onto the premise in search of insider info (or sell vacuums).

Regardless of the Redcoats' purpose, their presence alone speaks to the surreal atmosphere and incredible drama that surrounds the future battle between Ohio State and Michigan in the 119th edition of The Game.

For the second consecutive season, Ohio State and Michigan are undefeated at 11-0 and ranked second and third in the CFP rankingsAP Poll and USA TODAY Coaches Poll. The winner will advance to the Big Ten championship to face Iowa and all but guarantee itself a spot in the final four-team playoff. The loser will watch the conference championship from their couch (and probably the playoff, too).

While the Wolverines have adopted their uncool, super-lame "Michigan vs. Everybody" mantra over the past several weeks, Ohio State has several sources of motivation as Saturday approaches. There is, of course, its cool, not-lame "Ohio Against The World" mantra. But there's more than that.

"There are guys with scars. I'm one of them," Day said. "That drives you every day to work harder and to make sure you do everything you possibly can to win this game."

Denzel Burke is one of them, too.

"The last two years, we haven't gotten it done. No Gold Pants," Burke shared on Tuesday. "It's horrible. Especially when you're at Ohio State. Livelihoods are at stake. You have to win this game. It's mandatory. We've had to live with it for 365 days, and now it's here, so we're ready."

As deep as the wounds are, Day said emotion can't overwhelm Ohio State in Ann Arbor. With a veteran group of players, both in age and experience, the fifth-year head coach is confident it won’t.

“You have to play with emotion. You can’t let emotion play with you," Day said. "You have to have your emotions in check. ... We all know the magnitude of it all, but it’s something we identified in the offseason, and we’ll talk about this week.”

If Day allows it (and he should – he really should), Burke could have some words for his teammates before kickoff on Saturday.

“There’s no pressure,” Burke said of his mindset entering The Game. “We’ve just got to go out there and ball and do what we know we can do. Just thinking about the game, my blood boils. I’m very emotional. I’m not trying to get out of character, but this game means a lot to us, and we’re going to get it done for the state of Ohio."

Preach, Denzel.


 GOT A RUN GAME? On Tuesday, when Joe Nugent of NBC4 asked Ryan Day how important it will be for the Buckeyes to run the football with TreVeyon Henderson, Chip Trayanum and – maybe, just maybe – Dallan Hayden on Saturday, the Ohio State head coach offered a simple response.

"It's extremely important," Day said. "There are a lot of things that are important, but that's extremely high on the list."

I don't know what Ohio State's "list" looks like. But I am confident that consistent and efficient carries from Henderson and Co. are of the utmost importance for the Buckeyes, and there's a reason for that.

According to Eleven Warriors researcher Matt Gutridge, Ohio State is 17-1 vs. Michigan when the Buckeyes have run for more yards than the Wolverines since 2000. However, when the Wolverines have run for more yards than the Buckeyes, Ohio State is 0-4 (2003, 2011, 2021 and 2022).

Yeah, I would consider running the ball extremely important, too, if I were Coach Day.

 THESE TICKETS AIN'T CHEAP. For Ohio State fans interested in watching the Buckeyes and Wolverines in Ann Arbor this Saturday, the tickets ain't cheap.

While tickets for the latest edition of "The Game" at Michigan Stadium remain available on resale websites like StubHub, SeatGeek, TicketMaster and VividSeats, the outstanding members of Buckeye Nation would have to spend hundreds of dollars to attend the top-three showdown.

That's a lot of money!

 HOW DID WE GET HERE? From its season opener at Indiana to its win over Minnesota, Ohio State has evolved across 12 weeks of the 2023 college football season. Much of that evolution has been covered in detail through the lens(es) of the Ohio State football media team.

How about we end the Skull Session with a trip down Memory Lane?


Youngstown State

Western Kentucky

Notre Dame



Penn State



Michigan State


Each of the past 11 games has led us here: Ohio State-Michigan.

I can't wait for Saturday.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Sympathy For The Devil" - The Rolling Stones.

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