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Athletic director Gene Smith presents Ohio State game ball to Ryan Day

“I’m saying this from the bottom of my heart... there’s not one guy in this room that I don’t love,” said Ryan Day.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t always pretty, but the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes came out of Week 1 of the 2019 college football season with a 45-21 win over the Florida Atlantic Owls. The game was the first in the official tenure of Ryan Day as the program’s 25th head coach. In addition to his three games as interim head coach in 2018, Day is now 4-0 at OSU.

In honor of the victory, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith presented the first-time head coach with the game ball in the locker room following the victory. Smith said that he was proud of the man leading the football program before turning it over to Day.

Addressing his team, the coach said, “I’m saying this from the bottom of my heart, I love working with you guys; I do... there’s not one guy in this room that I don’t love... We have an unbelievable group of guys right here. And if we stay hungry, and we keep building, and we keep learning, and we take care of each other, on a night like tonight, we’re gonna do something special. I’m just tellin’ ya. I can see it in your eyes.”

Day continued warning his players, “It’s not gonna be easy... This is not a finished product, this is the first step in a long journey.”