How Austin Mack Bounced Back From His Case Of The Drops

Ohio State football wide receiver Austin Mack

Three plays into Ohio State’s prime time showdown with TCU, Austin Mack seemed to be on his way to a career night.

Three plays after that, he was on his way to one of the roughest halves of football in recent memory for an Ohio State wide receiver.

Mack’s night started when he picked up 16 yards on a reception on the second play of the game. On the next snap, he made a lunging grab to reel in a 48-yard bomb from Dwayne Haskins. That set up the Buckeyes with 1st-and-goal at the TCU 2.

On 3rd-and-goal, Mack got open in the back of the end zone, but dropped Haskins’ pass. The Buckeyes had to settle for a field goal.

In the second quarter, Mack dropped a 2nd-and-16 pass that would have left the Buckeyes with a manageable third down.

Just before the half, with the Buckeyes down 14-13 but driving, Mack dropped another ball that hit him right in the hands.

He wasn’t being touched by a defender on any of those plays. He just didn’t catch the ball.

Buckeye fans online were openly asking how the team could possibly continue to play him.

It was a difficult moment for the junior wideout, who is generally known for having some of the best hands in his unit, even in heavy traffic.

Had the first drop shaken Mack’s confidence? Senior wide receiver Parris Campbell said the key was to forget what had happened and focus on his next chance to make a play.

“We just told him he needed to clear his head. And I think he moved on that and actually had a big time catch later on,” Campbell said.

Mack recently told reporters that he tried to catch 10,000 passes during the offseason, even going so far as tracking the numbers on a board at the Buckeyes’ practice facility.

That hard work may have helped Mack’s teammates from losing faith in him.

“I was just saying, ‘Look. Play. If you mess up, I’m going to keep coming to you, throwing you the ball,'” said Haskins after the game. “It was hard for him having those drops like that in key moments in the game, but he kept pushing.”

Haskins’ faith in his friend and roommate was rewarded in the second half.

With the Buckeyes down 21-13 and in desperate need of offense, Mack came through. Haskins hit him for a 12-yard gain, prompting a loud cheer from the Buckeye fans in attendance.

They connected again later in the third quarter, starting off the Buckeyes’ final scoring drive.

“I relied on him again on the big moments, and he came through for me,” Haskins said.

When the Buckeyes were in one of their most dire moments in Ann Arbor in 2017, it was Mack who pulled down a 3rd-and-16 pass in traffic to keep the chains moving.

Ohio State will almost certainly need more of those moments from Mack this fall. The second half on Saturday was a good start.

9 Responses

  1. The writer was obviously watching a different feed of the game than I was . Austin Mack Carr was hit hard . . . either before the catch or right at the time he was catching the ball on every so called drop except one. And even on the dropped TD it was unclear as to whether or not the defender knocked the ball out of his hands a split second after Mack contacted the ball. From the two angles they showed it was impossible to see. And how about giviing some credit to very good and intense defensive play. There also were a half dozen uncalled interference calls on TCU.
    Funny thing is . . . the ESPN re-run on Monday showed me the same thing!

  2. Austin Mack is a big play waiting to happen. He dropped a couple balls, so what, its how you finish!!!!! He most likely will drop one here and there during the season, but i bet he makes some great game changing catches also. Cut him some slack. He is not even an issue, our LBs are!!! Rant about them. They deserve your criticism.

  3. I recall the first time I ever took notice of Devin Smith. He let a certain TD pass go right through his two outstretched hands as he ran alone, 10 yards beyond the defender. He turned out to be a pretty good WR. Mack has a lot more good things in his future.

  4. Now the Buckeyes need to correct those low snaps from Center.

  5. Exactly ZERO concern about Austin Mack. He’s a baller who dropped a couple of passes that 99 times out of a hundred he brings in. He picked himself up and went back out and made plays that helped win the game.


    1. How can he catch 99 out of 100 but drop 3 out of 6?

      1. **it happens.” Austin Mack has proven over his time at Ohio State that he doesn’t have a drop issue. Who knows what was going through his head Saturday night………pressing maybe? He bounced back before the game ended and made a couple of nice catches.

        Everyone is entitled to their opinion and mine is that he’s going to be just fine and rebound and be nothing but better.

  6. Anyone remember Dane Sanzenbacher? Now that guy was a pretty good slot receiver.

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