Big Ten football notebook | Day updates status of Pope, Stroud

Ohio State head football coach Ryan Day dismissed linebacker K’Vaughn Pope from his team Sunday and talked about QB C.J. Stroud’s health Tuesday.


Jerod Ringwald

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day speaks with reporters during day two of Big Ten Media Days at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday, July 23.

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord was named freshman of the week by the Big Ten Conference Monday.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Philadelphian completed 13 of his 18 pass attempts for 318 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in the Buckeyes’ 59-7 win over Akron last Saturday in Columbus.

McCord — a true freshman — started the game because redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud was injured. Stroud started the Buckeyes’ first three games of the 2021 season against Minnesota, Oregon, and Tulsa at quarterback.

In those games, Stroud aggregated 963 passing yards, eight touchdowns, three interceptions, a 2-1 win-loss record, and a 62.4 completion percentage.

A shoulder injury held Stroud out of Ohio State’s matchup with Akron. On Sept. 21, Buckeye head coach Ryan Day said Stroud was on track to start against Akron.

Day then announced Sept. 23 that Stroud would only be available to the Buckeyes in an emergency situation against Akron. Before he said Stroud was likely to sit out the Buckeyes’ contest with the Zips, Day noted that his main goal was for Stroud to be comfortable and in-rhythm by the time Ohio State begins Big Ten play.

The Buckeyes kick off their full slate of Big Ten games this week in Piscataway, New Jersey,  against Rutgers.

Day said Tuesday that he’s optimistic about Stroud’s health and ability to play the Scarlet Knights Saturday afternoon.

“We’ll see how today goes,” Day told the Columbus Dispatch. “The week [of rest] helped him. We’re looking forward to a great week of practice.”

Pope dismissed from Buckeye football program

Day and his Ohio State football program dismissed linebacker K’Vaughn Pope Sunday. The move came just a day after Pope got into a heated exchange with some members of the Buckeyes’ coaching staff during the second quarter of Ohio State’s 59-7 win over Akron.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Lind, Pope threw his gloves into the stands, took off his jersey, and was inconsolable as he was escorted back into the locker room.

Pope later tweeted “Fucc Ohio State” and “Good lucc to my teammates.” The first tweet has since been deleted.

Per an Ohio State Athletics press release, Pope will still receive the benefits all Buckeye student-athletes have access to, despite the tweets and his dismissal from the Buckeye football team.

“K’Vaughan will continue to have the use of programs that benefit our student-athletes, such as our Student-Athlete Support Services Office, and we will support him with his progress toward graduation,” Day said via release. “He will remain on scholarship through the duration of this semester.”

Pope issued an apology via Twitter Sunday afternoon.

“Last night, I let my emotions get the best of me,” Pope tweeted. “For that, I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and Buckeye Nation. I made a mistake and know that I need to be better and do better. I’m going to take this time to reflect and work on my mental well-being.”

Per Lind, Pope was a four-star high school prospect when he arrived at Ohio State. Many pundits expected him to play a pivotal role with the Buckeyes’ defense this season. Pope only saw 31 snaps in Ohio State’s first three games of the year.

Without Pope, Ohio State doesn’t have much depth at linebacker. Pope’s fellow senior linebacker, Dallas Gant, entered the NCAA transfer portal last week. The Buckeyes have 11 linebackers on their roster as of Tuesday. Two of those linebackers are freshmen.

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