Rob Issa, FISM News
C.J. Stroud put losing the biggest game of his college career in perspective by pointing to his Christian faith.
The Ohio State quarterback threw for 349 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 45-23 loss to Big Ten rival Michigan that dropped the Buckeyes out of a spot for the College Football Playoff, possibly to stay.
Stroud was the starting quarterback last season, as well, when Ohio State lost to Michigan. The draft-eligible QB is likely headed to the NFL. He’s projected to be a top 5 pick.
The loss to Michigan stings.
“People are going to say I never won The Game, and I understand,” Stroud told reporters. “People are going to say I never won a Big Ten championship. I understand. When it comes to that, I just have to eat it.”
After reflecting on the game, Stroud posted on Facebook:
If you want excuses, we don’t have those. If you want tears — keep looking. Priceless are the moments where you are given the opportunity to learn from your defeats. But those are the moments where one can grow the most. Romans 5:3-5 says ‘More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.’
Throughout his career, Stroud has talked openly about the role his faith plays in his life. His father was a pastor before going to prison and helped set a foundation for Stroud.
“Yeah, it’s hard to balance. Definitely gotta keep solid people around me. My uncle runs a Bible study every Thursday called TTOG and he has a foundation called All About Faith — his name is Art Hall — back home near Empire (California),” Stroud told reporters earlier in the season. “And I get on the Zoom with him every Thursday and talk to him weekly. He sends me prayers and sends me scriptures. But it is hard to stay in line just because you have ball, then you have school and then after that you kind of have your free time. But I always try to wake up in the morning and pray.
[I] make sure I invite Him in my day first and foremost. And then just continue prayer throughout the day. If that means reading a Bible scripture on my phone or if that means talking to some of my fellow brothers in Christ on the team, just keep a little Bible study, whatever the case may be. Just a fellowship in any which way, that kinda helps.”
Stroud’s faith helps him be a better leader in the huddle and off the field.
“That’s what God has called me to do is be a leader,” Stroud said before the season. “So I definitely try to show love and let people know that whatever they’re going through or whatever they have been through, they’re not by themselves. They have help. They have inspiration. They can look up to me.”
Stroud is a candidate for the Heisman Trophy after leading Ohio State to an 11-1 record. He has thrown for 3,340 yards and 37 touchdowns with only six interceptions. Stroud’s numbers are down from last year’s total of 4,435 yards and 44 TDs but he had wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave on that team. Both were first-round picks in the NFL.
Ohio State still has a chance to play for the national championship but needs one of the top teams to lose this week. If not, it’ll be a second straight trip to the Rose Bowl for Stroud and the Buckeyes. He could skip that game to prevent injury ahead of the draft.
Stroud’s final words to the media after Saturday’s loss to Michigan sounded like a goodbye.
“It’s been a blessing,” he said. “Love y’all.”