DALLAS — Ohio State players have apparently heard the concerns from fans — relayed through the media — that the Buckeyes might not be motivated for the Cotton Bowl after missing out on the College Football Playoff.
Their reactions should be all the reassurance Buckeye fans need that Ohio State will indeed be ready to go against USC on Friday night.
During offensive player interviews on Tuesday, center Billy Price was appalled when a reporter asked him about No. 5 Ohio State’s interest level in the matchup against the No. 8 Trojans.
“I think it’s disrespectful. I really do,” Price said. “That’s why I got offended when someone asked me that just a second ago. ‘Can you get up for this game?’ Are you kidding me? It’s my final game as a fifth-year senior to cap off the 2013 recruiting class legacy, and if you think I’m not going to be excited, jacked up, juiced up, ready to go on that sideline, then don’t come to the game. It doesn’t matter what game it is. We could play on the sidewalk or we could go play in the grass and I’m going to be excited for it and ready for it.
“We’re going to go out there and give everything we’ve got and we expect the same from them. This is a top-tier game against a highly, highly respected opponent. Go out there and have some fun and represent your university.”
A nearly identical reaction was put forth Wednesday afternoon, as well. Defensive end Sam Hubbard said to print reporters that he’d been asked in the broadcast interview room about the team’s motivation level and couldn’t comprehend why it was even a question.
“I was in the other room and reporters were saying fans were worried we weren’t going to be going hard or trying to win this game, that we wouldn’t care,” Hubbard said. “It was just shocking to me because this is such a great matchup and such a great bowl game. This is prime time, USC vs. Ohio State. To not want to win or give it your all is crazy to me that people would think that. For any fan out there that’s worried that we’re not going to be trying to win this one, trust me — we are. This is a huge one.”
The Buckeyes will still have to go out there and play well to beat the Trojans, but given the definitive nature of those answers it’s probably time to stop questioning Ohio State’s interest level in the Cotton Bowl.