Branden Bowen, a fifth-year striker in the state of Ohio, knows that Saturday will be an emotional day for him.
As he steps out of the tunnel for his last game in the Ohio Stadium, Bowen will remember his journey to become Buckeye and his five years in Columbus, which allowed him to overcome a serious injury to the leg that left it out for a year and a half. – half before becoming a starter on the Ohio State offensive line this year.
At the Ohio state press conference on Tuesday, when Bowen was asked what Saturday's emotions would look like, the importance of this week's match as his last home game in the shoe. he completely escaped the mind.
"So far in the season, I do not think too much about it," Bowen said at first. "Especially in big games, coming to Wisconsin, pretty much the same thing, but bypassing my guys, I'm really happy to be here and excited to be able to play against such a formidable defense and team. "
This response was emblematic of the Buckeyes' determination, including Bowen and the other 25 seniors who will be honored Saturday, to prepare their next opponent.
Saturday's game against Penn State will be Ohio State's last home game this season, but it's also the Ohio State's biggest match of the year, while the Buckeyes are trying to defeat a Top 10 opponent, winning the Big Ten East title. One more step to sign their ticket for the university football qualifiers.
Given that, the Buckeyes seniors spent much more time thinking about what they had to do to beat the Nittany Lions than they had thought Saturday's game would be their last game in Columbus.
"Honestly, it has not even hit me yet. Honestly, I do not think it will affect me after the game, simply because, for the moment, everyone is attentive, focused, energetic, playing Penn State, "said fifth-year defensive tackle Robert Landers . "I think that once the game is over and the clock reaches zero-zero, it will fall into place."
If the Buckeyes can continue to win, they could possibly play until four other games after Saturday: the Michigan regular season final, the Big Ten Championship match, a semi-final of the college football playoffs and the national championship game. I do not think their career ends enough.
"I know that if we do what we are supposed to do, we will have a lot of ball left," said fifth-year senior catcher K. J. Hill.
Nevertheless, each of the outgoing Buckeyes – with the exception of players who could still return next year and who will have to make decisions about their future after the season – will have a moment to celebrate in front of more than 100,000 fans before the kickoff of Saturday's party, a moment that will bring them to remember and reflect on their career in the state of Ohio.
While Bowen celebrates his moment with his mother Natalie, Kate's fiancée and his son Booker, he will reflect on Buckeye's role in bringing them together as a family.
"Ohio State is the reason why I have my son and my fiancee," said Bowen. "And then my mother was the reason I'm probably here. She said to me, "No, you can not miss this opportunity." So, I am really very grateful. "
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71ElGB4O5kM (/ embed)
Hill said Saturday's seniors day would be "bitter-sweet".
"It was fast," said Hill, who considered entering the NFL draft after last season before deciding to stay at Ohio State for another year. "You come here as a freshman, you are like" Dang, I can not believe myself missing the last day in the shoe. "But now he's here."
Ryan Day will certainly be more focused on the goal of leading the Buckeyes to victory than on the pre-match back-match, that's where he wants his players to focus as well, but he hopes that's the only way to go. they take advantage of the present moment.
"I think it's easy to say, take advantage of the experience and say it. I think it's harder to do, "Day said. "But we'll talk about it and we'll talk about it every week: you have to enjoy it because time is not waiting for anyone, and you have to grasp this problem and keep yourself as tight as possible because it's a special occasion for all of us and we have to make sure we understand that. And I think our guys understand it, I think they like each other and appreciate the moments. But in big games like this, you're so focused on what's going on that sometimes it's hard to really appreciate everything until it's all over.
"Certainly for the guys who are playing their last game in the stadium in this way, it will be moving and they deserve all they deserve in terms of praise and admiration from all of them. world to Buckeye Nation for what they did, "said Day. added. "It's a special group."
"I know that if we do what we are supposed to do, we have a lot of ball left."– Receiver K.J. Hill
The 26 winners on Saturday will include 18 players and eight participants without an appointment. The players include nine members of Ohio State's 2015 recruiting class, five members of the 2016 recruiting class, two mutates (Chris Chugunov and Jonah Jackson) and two former spokespersons (CJ Saunders and Kevin Woidke).
SKILLMAN, NEW JERSEY
TE / DE
ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA
POMPANO BEACH, FLORIDA
FORT WAYNE, INDIANA
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA
OLD TAPPAN, NEW JERSEY
LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS
Justin Hilliard, who was also part of the 2015 recruiting group but is currently pursuing his sixth year of eligibility after several missing seasons at Ohio State due to injury, is not listed among the Senior Day participants on Saturday, which indicates that the door remains open. Hilliard must return in 2020.