“It gave the whole sideline hope.”
Those were Urban Meyer’s words after Ohio State’s 27-26 come-from-behind win at Penn State Saturday night. He was talking about Binjimen Victor’s 47-yard touchdown reception with 6:42 remaining in the game.
The score didn’t give the Buckeyes the lead, but it gave the a fighting chance, and that’s all Victor was trying to do.
“I just had to make a play for the team,” Victor said in a matter-of-fact tone afterward. “I just felt like I had to put it on my back.”
In the box score, the 47-yarder probably seems simple, but it was anything but. Dwayne Haskins’ pass was behind Victor, who had to go up and pull the ball down while sandwiched between defenders. He then had to shake a couple of tackles before heading upfield and following his blockers.
As Meyer said, the score gave the Buckeyes hope. It did much more than that, however, as the hope turned to determination, which then gave way to results.
After the game, Meyer was squeezed into the shoe closet that is the Penn State visiting media room. There were a number of questions to answer, not the least of which was the Buckeyes’ comeback when down 12 points in the fourth quarter.
Meyer addressed all of the questions, but began by giving credit where he thought it was due.
“Well, Ben Vic started that bad boy off, that comeback,” he said. “That was one of the best plays, right in front of me on the sidelines there. He went and attacked the ball and then the receivers got in the defenders’ way.”
And when asked if it was the biggest play of Victor’s career, Meyer didn’t hesitate.
“It’s the biggest play of anybody’s career,” he said smiling.
The catch was the second of the game for Victor, but just the seventh in the five games played by the Buckeyes this season. It was his second-consecutive game with a touchdown, however.
“He’s had three weeks of great practice,” Meyer said. “He’s one of those extremely talented, very good young man that just has not performed to his potential, but he’s been outrageous in practice. That’s a coming out party for him.”
“Ben does it all the time in practice,” Haskins said of Victor’s catch. “He’s a freaky athlete. Every Sunday we work on two-minute drill and situations like that. He makes those catches every day. This was time for him to do it in a game and he came up big.”
The play wasn’t designed for Victor, who was running a dig route, but Haskins went back to him, and the Buckeyes were glad he did.
Now, not only do they have a quarterback who led a fantastic fourth quarter comeback, they also have a wide receiver in Binjimen Victor whose quiet season has recently gotten quite loud.
“I think it’s a defining moment for him, I sure do,” offensive coordinator Ryan Day said. “Ben’s made some plays in games, but to make a play in a moment like that and change the momentum of a whole game, that says a lot for him. And it didn’t just happen tonight. This has been a process that’s been ongoing. He made some big blocks in the TCU game and hadn’t seen a ton of action, but then makes that play. I think that’s a defining moment for him.
Urban Meyer has said that Victor is arguably the most-talented receiver he’s ever coached. He says that because he has seen what Victor has done in practice. Those on the outside remain skeptical because what they’ve seen has not matched the description that Meyer has given.
Following that catch and run Saturday night, however, those on the outside have now finally gotten a pretty good look at what Meyer has been talking about.
But there is still more to come.
“He’s been showing progress,” Day said. “It was coming. We kept saying it was going to come. It came right here.”
And now the expectations are that it will happen in other games this season as well.