Ohio State football coach Ryan Day addresses Marvin Harrison Jr. injury, officials’ targeting call explanation

Ohio State played the final quarter of Saturday’s College Football Playoff semifinal game at the Peach Bowl against Georgia without star wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., who left the game and entered concussion protocol, according to coach Ryan Day. The Bulldogs went on to win 42-41, outscoring the Buckeyes 18-3 in the final quarter. Officials initially called Georgia defensive back Javon Bullard for targeting on the hit that forced Harrison out of the game, but they overturned the call upon video review. After the game, Day was asked whether he got an explanation for why officials overturned the call, which would have resulted in Bullard’s ejection.

“I was told that it was not targeting, that he didn’t take a shot to the head, which is hard — I didn’t see it, so I don’t know,” Day said. “But to get a concussion and not get hit in the head, I’d have to see the replay. And they said that it happened after he got hit, but I’d have to take a look at the video. I wasn’t able to see the replay.”

The hit took place on third-and-goal from the 7-yard line. Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud heaved a pass into the back of the end zone for Harrison, who did not come down with the ball.

Noah Ruggles kicked a short field goal to give the Buckeyes a 38-24 lead. Had officials not overturned the targeting penalty, Ohio State would have had first-and-goal from the 3-yard line with a 35-24 lead.

For the game, Harrison made five catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Harrison teamed with Emeka Egbuka to give Georgia trouble on the outside, but the Buckeyes still put themselves in position to kick a game-winning field goal with seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Ruggles’ field goal from 50 yards out missed wide left and never had a shot.

Day noted at his postgame press conference that the game’s razor-thin margin meant one play at any point could have swung the outcome — not just Ruggles’ missed field goal at the end.

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“Not much to start with other than the fact that I thought our team came out and swung and played hard in this game, came up short,” Day said. “It came down to one play. It wasn’t just the last play. There were a lot of plays in the game that you wish you had back as coaches and players. That’s what happens in a game like this. But I told the guys I’m proud of the way they played. I’m proud of the way they competed. For the older guys, the seniors, proud of what they’ve done for the program. For the younger guys, the guys that are coming back, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow and see what it takes to win in the CFP.”

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