Oregon-based Mario Cristobal calls Ohio State anger “testimony to the trial”
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After No. 12 Oregon’s thrilling 35:28 win over No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday, Ducks coach Mario Cristobal made his way to the end zone to greet the group of green clad Oregon fans who made the journey to witness one of the greatest achievements in program history.
Cristobal cheered them on with a fist pump and a few high fives before turning to hug his players and continue the party in the locker room. After four years as head coach in Oregon, Cristobal led the program to his first win over Ohio State.
And he did it at Ohio Stadium without two of his best defensive players – injured defensive player Kayvon Thibodeaux and freshman linebacker Justin Flowe – in front of a crowd of 100,482 mostly unforgiving Buckeyes fans. Cristobal said the magnitude of the win was difficult to put into words, but “it is evidence of the process”.
“We’ve been working towards this for a while, but we’re not there yet,” he said. “I don’t want to give that impression in any way. We are not and our boys know it too, but we have taken massive steps and I think more importantly, we have taken massive psychological measures.” Steps to Understand how important this will be on Saturdays. … All of these things just come into play and further strengthen the culture and direction of the program. “
Ohio State’s 23-game home winning streak has been abandoned, marking their first loss here since September 9, 2017. It was also Oregon’s first road win against a top 5 opponent since defeating Stanford in 2011. Thibodeau, likely a top NFL draft pick, sidelined with an ankle injury, and Cristobal said the team found out Tuesday that Flowe had a foot injury. He wore a boot on his right foot and Cristobal declined to provide any further information about it after the game. Without them, Oregon was still making three fourth down stops and Ohio State was 6-for-15 on third downs.
Oregon tight-end DJ Johnson caught an 11-yard reception to convert a third down on the Ducks’ final drive, then picked up a sack on the final game of the game.
“We didn’t have any bodies,” said Cristobal. “You saw that. You saw DJ Johnson play a defensive ending. He’s a great one, really lost a lot of games here at home, in a regular season for a long, long time. “
The Ducks won with a strong run game led by CJ Verdell and a couple of clutch defensive games in the fourth quarter. The Ohio State defense was pervious, allowing 269 yards and three touchdowns averaging 7.1 yards per carry. It was the stormiest meters the Buckeyes had allowed a team on their home field since November 22, 2014 against Indiana. Verdell finished with 161 yards and two touchdowns at 20 carries and added a receiving touchdown.
“The challenge was great. It was excellent,” said Cristobal. “But you have to give an incredible amount of credit to the players who came out with heart and tenacity, with the discipline that was at a high level against a great football team, and that was what counted.”
The Ducks’ only other road win over an AP-rated Big Ten team was in 1989 when they won 44-6 in 24th Iowa. Oregon reached 1-9 all-time on Saturday playing against a ranked Big Ten team on the road (0-4 at Ohio State).
Oregon scored five of its first eight possession of the ball, including a 99-yard touchdown drive towards the end of the first quarter.
“I felt like it was a game we never got under control,” said Ohio state coach Ryan Day. “It felt like they were letting the ball go and we didn’t play football very well and we couldn’t convert on fourth down. And that’s why we’re always playing catch-up.” . We have to learn from it. You have to grow with it, and we still have a lot of football left, and find out where the execution issues were and fix them. “
It was a very different performance than Oregon’s unconvincing 31-24 win over Fresno State in Week 1.
“I think the identity emerged,” said Cristobal. “I think resilience has been shown. All the things that hammer you home – why we practice the way we practice – it is confirmed when you come here and do something like that. That locker room is now used up, you are exhausted . ” but they also recognize that we can be a really good football team and we just have to keep this practice preparation going so that it becomes a real thing on game day. “