Instead of the first game of the season for both teams, it will be Ohio State’s fourth outing and Notre Dame’s fifth.
Aside from the venue, both teams have different starting quarterbacks and different offensive coordinators.
While Day would surely rather play a home game, at least one of those differences seemed to please the head coach of the Buckeyes on Tuesday afternoon.
Here are five takeaways from Ohio State’s weekly press conference:
1. Day and his staff feel like they have a much better grasp on what their players can do now vs. then.
“I think you build up in these first few games to figure out where you are going into this game and you go from there, but I think that we’ve got some confidence going into this game, got a rhythm, so we’ve got to have a great week of practice,” Day said.
2. That could impact the game plan.
Ohio State’s 21-10 win last season was a close affair, but Day and head coach Marcus Freeman have both indicated this week they should feel more comfortable opening up the game plans Saturday.
“I’m glad that we went through those three games to get to this point with some of the new faces that we had, and we did work out some of the issues so we’re excited to get on the field and go play this one now,” Day said. “I think that we have a pretty good idea of who our team is and where we’re at, so now it’s time to go play, but yeah, to me to answer your question we are in a much different place than we were in week one.”
3. Then again, it might not.
While he saw the value in beating a team like Western Kentucky handily, if possible, Day indicated he is not worried about style points this week.
“In matchup games like this, it really doesn’t matter the score as long as you win.I get it when you’re playing Western Kentucky, it’s a little bit of an eye test there and all that, but in that game (against Notre Dame last year), I thought we controlled the ball, we ran the ball, and the time possession was really important there. And we won the game. I think in that game that was the right thing to do. Now you just never know what’s going to come in this game, how it’s going to shake out, what the back and forth is going to be.
“The ultimate goal is to win the game. That’s it, and that’s what we’ll do on this one, yeah, I mean, I think looking back on that game, there were some things we did well, some things that we could have really done much better. But it was the first game of the year. And you know, weren’t clean on some things but there were some things that we did do well.”
4. Day has seen Kyle McCord grow every week.
His new starting quarterback wasn’t perfect against Western Kentucky last week, but Day said McCord continued to get better.
“I think he’s grown each week, think you saw that,” Day said. “Not that everything’s perfect, nothing is. And I think this week will be a big challenge to see where we’re at, but it’s been a gradual buildup for our whole team and for him to this point. So now it’s time to go play and see what we got.”
5. Jim Knowles wants to see his defensive line stay the course.
Ohio State’s defensive coordinator said he expects the front to continue rotating heavily to keep the group fresh for all four quarters.
He also wants to see more of the effect on the quarterback he saw last week.
“When you watch the tape, I mean, he was under duress all the time,” Knowles said. “And I think that’s sometimes missed, so we’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing up front. Talented, hard-working guys. We want the sacks and the quarterback hits, but it’s also about getting the ball out on time, you know, making sure the ball gets out on time. And we’ve been doing that.”
Ohio State at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m., NBC, 1410