INDIANAPOLIS — He returned to his hometown to once again make a statement for the Buckeyes.
The best of senior wide receiver Terry McLaurin was brought out on Saturday in the Big Ten Championship Game as he finished with three receptions for 78 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-24 win over Northwestern to capture the Big Ten crown.
His first touchdown in the game, a 16-yard reception in the first quarter, marked his 10th on the season. McLaurin became the first Buckeye receiver to hit double digit touchdown receptions in one season since Devin Smith in 2014.
“To do this in front of my family, do this for the team as a senior, to come up with some big plays, that’s all I can ask for so I’m very grateful to be in the situation that I’m in,” McLaurin said after the game.
McLaurin attended Indianapolis Cathedral High School, just 12 miles from Lucas Oil Stadium.
“I’m home,” McLaurin said after the game. “A lot of guys say when you come home you gotta turn up. You gotta put on a show. But I just come in, I’m very thankful for the blessings God has given me, I’ve been very fortunate to win a lot of games here.”
McLaurin had a similar performance in the Buckeyes’ 2017 Big Ten Championship game. Last year, McLaurin totaled two catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. One reception alone went for 84 yards.
“I’m very comfortable in this stadium, I’ve won four state championships and three Big Ten Championships,” McLaurin said. “I just seem to always play my best games when they need me most. I’m at a loss for words right now.”
McLaurin credits sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins for making his job as a receiver easy. But the trust that Haskins has in McLaurin has created a powerful relationship on the field this season.
On Haskins’ 42-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, McLaurin had to run under and catch up with the ball in the end zone. McLaurin said after the game that he was telling offensive coordinator Ryan Day and head coach Urban Meyer to call that play and run a double move.
“Me and Dwayne have that type of relationship,” McLaurin said. “I stuttered and he didn’t know if I was going to do it but he pumped it anyway and he had the trust. I just wanted to make the play. He put it right in front of me.”
McLaurin was not the only wideout who showed up to play on Saturday. Other receivers in the 1,000-yards-in-a-career club had solid performances in the championship game. Senior Johnnie Dixon had seven receptions for 129 yards and one touchdown, and senior Parris Campbell had seven receptions for 89 yards.
McLaurin said that they all shared a special moment after the game on Saturday.
“We came back with a purpose this year,” McLaurin said. “We all had our separate decisions but we knew we were going to come back to first get a Big Ten Championship and then see where else those chips fall.
“I love those guys, they’re like my brothers. We came in together and we’re leaving on top as Big Ten Champs. For us to come in and be leaders and senior captains, that’s what you want in a game like this.”
All 3 are high quality receivers who will get their chances to play on Sundays. I hope they all do so. What is most amazing is that Zone 6 will only be getting better with subsequent recruiting classes! Devin Smith, Michael Thomas, et al set a blueprint for self-training and team leadership that hopefully will snowball over the seasons to come
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