The No. 7 Ohio State football squad encountered a scoring drought for the first time in seven years during their 14-3 defeat to the No. 9 Missouri Tigers in the Cotton Bowl.

Quarterbacks Devin Brown and Lincoln Kienholz managed just a 10-of-23 completion rate for 106 yards. Their running game struggled, averaging only 2.9 yards per carry (33 yards on 97 attempts). The team scored solely on one of its 11 drives, enduring eight consecutive fruitless possessions after an early first-quarter field goal.

Following this game, fans and analysts directed criticism towards Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, who has been under intense scrutiny.

The Buckeyes coached by Day haven’t performed well against the top-tier teams. They’ve suffered three consecutive losses to Michigan since 2021, entering each matchup as the nation’s No. 2 team. Two of these losses resulted in Ohio State missing out on the College Football Playoff, including the current season.

Under Day’s leadership, postseason triumphs have been elusive. They lost in the CFP semifinals in 2019 and 2022, reaching the final in 2020 only to suffer a devastating 52-24 defeat to Alabama. While the 2021 season concluded with a Rose Bowl victory over Utah, this year’s end mirrored the offensive struggles seen in 2016 when the Buckeyes were held scoreless against Clemson in the CFP semifinals. Friday’s game marked their lowest scoring output since then.

Though the Missouri Tigers, ranked ninth nationally, presented a formidable challenge, they entered the Cotton Bowl with a defense averaging 22.3 points conceded per game (40th in Division I FBS).

In Day’s defense, Ohio State faced this game understaffed. Star wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., a Heisman finalist, skipped the Cotton Bowl, likely in preparation for the 2024 NFL draft. Starting quarterback Kyle McCord departed for Syracuse, while wide receiver Julian Fleming and running back Chip Trayanum, crucial contributors, pursued opportunities elsewhere.

Despite the remaining talent, Ohio State couldn’t generate points in the final three quarters, prompting extensive critique directed at Day and the Buckeyes’ performance.

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