COLUMBUS — C.J. Stroud said he’s had no personal life during this football season to the point that there were times he chose watching film over taking phone calls from his mom.
He did it to pursue a national championship and he did it to try to beat Michigan, something that escaped him last season in his first year as Ohio State’s starting quarterback and got away from him again this season.
“I did everything I possibly could to win this game,” Stroud said after Michigan’s 45-23 victory over Ohio State on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
“There’s no stone I didn’t turn over to try to win this game. I stopped having a personal life,” he said.
Stroud was 31 of 48 for 349 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday. He threw two interceptions, both of them in the fourth quarter, and one came on a desperate underhanded flip as he was being tackled in the final minutes of the game.
Stroud threw for 394 yards and two touchdowns last season when Michigan beat the Buckeyes 42-27 in Michigan Stadium.
Michigan’s defense, led by Aidan Hutchinson, sacked him four times last year. This year, he was sacked only once. But Michigan’s defensive backfield led the way against him this year by covering OSU’s receivers so well that he often was left searching an inordinately long amount of time for an open man to throw to.
It is possible this was Stroud’s final game in Ohio Stadium if, as expected, he chooses to make himself eligible for the NFL draft.
Saturday’s game obviously didn’t end the way he wanted. And it probably hurt his Heisman Trophy chances.
When asked about what the future might hold for him, Stroud said, “Honestly, I don’t know how I feel right now. I don’t know if this is my last time in The Shoe. I’ve enjoyed every second of it (his three years at Ohio State).
“I don’t think one game defines us. I don’t think that this game defines this team. I think there are still (College Football Playoff) opportunities for us but this is the game, this is the one. This is the one we really wanted,” he said.
“I wish I could have done more. I wish I could have won these (Michigan) games. But I don’t think anyone can question my heart. It’s been tough. It was a bitter pill to swallow for 365 days. It’s going to be tough again. One game does not define this team.”
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.