COLUMBUS, Ohio — “If it’s an incomplete pass, it’s a drop for me, whether I touch it or not. Every ball thrown my way needs to be a completion,” wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. said Wednesday night ahead of Ohio State’s game against Penn State.
In the Buckeyes’ 20-12 win against the Nittany Lions on Saturday, Harrison Jr. finished with a career high 11 catches on 16 attempts for 162 yards and one 18-yard touchdown. Harrison Jr. also had 10 first downs in the game and had his third consecutive 100+ yard game.
For comparison, the entire Nittany Lions receiving corp had 10 catches for 118 yards on Saturday against the Buckeyes’ No. 4 ranked pass defense.
Penn State had the No. 1 defense in the country and the No. 1 passing defense coming into Saturday. For the most part, Ohio State felt the aggression of the Nittany Lions secondary as the offensive performance was for the most part, lackluster.
The Ohio State defense ‘won’ the game again and ultimately kept Ohio State competitive in the contest, as Penn State was never able to make a play that sparked momentum or capitalize when needed offensively. The game story was essentially a tale of two top defenses, but the difference was that Ohio State had Harrison Jr., and Penn State did not.
Harrison Jr. was a bright light for the OSU offense and was a huge factor in the Buckeyes’ win.
“I gotta give Marvin Harrison Jr. so much credit to go for 11 catches, for 162 and a touchdown when most teams the first thing they look at is how to take away Marvin Harrison and we targeted him 16 times and he was open on most of those 16 plays,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said following the game.
“He showed up in a big spot today again and I’d argue, I’ve seen everybody play across the country, and it’s hard for me to find someone better in the country. I don’t know how he gets on these lists or doesn’t get on these lists, but to me, he’s one of the most special players in the country,” Day added.
Not only was Harrison Jr. not fazed by the challenge presented by the top secondary, but he flourished despite it. With his performance, Harrison Jr. became the first Ohio State player in Ohio State history to have five 160+ yard receiving games.
As for Harrison Jr.’s thoughts on his performance — the standard remains perfection. “I’ll have to watch the film. But my perimeter blocking was not where it needed to be.”