Ohio State fans live in the extremes, whether good or bad. As they say, we have no chill. So, I am going to give voice to those passionate opinions by running through my completely level-headed, not-at-all over-the-top, 100% unbiased takeaways from Saturday’s win over the Indiana Hoosiers.
Marvin Harrison Jr. is the best Marvin Harrison to ever play football
Look, I get it, Marvin Harrison Sr. is an NFL Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion, eight-time Pro Bowler, and a member of the NFL’s 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, but 10 games into his son’s sophomore season of college football, I feel confident that I have seen everything I need to see in order to declare that Marvin Harrison Jr. is better at football than his dad.
To date, Junior has 60 receptions for 969 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season, which should be enough to put him in the top five in the latter two categories once the weekend is over. And while his numbers are impressive — especially considering that Buckeye offensive starters rarely play full games and he has to share targets with Emeka Egbuka, Julian Fleming, Cade Stover et al. — the fact that he is four inches taller than his dad and can do the ridiculous things with his body that we saw today makes it very clear that he is not of this earth.
Our old friend Colton Denning cut together Marv’s highlights, and I qued the video up to the receiver’s first ridiculous play of the game:
Turning his body mid-air to catch an off-target pass is impressive and all, but this second catch here is absolutely bonkers. The throw from C.J. Stroud was carrying Marv out of bounds and 99.9% of receivers in the world would have landed outside the field of play, but Marvelous Marv isn’t 99.9% of receivers; he is a freak of nature.
Aided slightly by the cornerback holding him up in the air slightly, Harrison is able to contort his body enough to keep his out-of-bounds left leg in the air long enough to get his in-bounds right foot down in the field of play.
The catch reminded me of the similarly freaky first-career touchdown catch for Jaxon Smith-Njigba. How either JSN or Marv was able to have the body control and presence of mind to get a foot down while also completing the catch is otherworldly. I mean, come on, this is contortionist-level stuff here, and watching the video makes it clear that he knew exactly what he was doing every step of the way:
Marvin Harrison Jr. is Gumby pic.twitter.com/kVKtnORyDL— Colton Denning (@Dubsco) November 12, 2022
But lest you think that the only thing that Marvin Harrison Jr. is capable of doing is making ridiculous catches, he also showed his effort, toughness, and team-focused mentality early in the fourth quarter when he ran 45-ish yards down the field to deliver a hellacious block to help spring Xavier Johnson to a 71-yard touchdown scamper.
This is next-level play in all facets of what it means to be a wide receiver, and, Buckeye fans, we’ve got him (presumably) for one more season after this one.
And just in case you think I am only jumping on the Marv Train because on the broadcast today Joel Klatt said that Harrison Jr. was the best non-quarterback that he’s ever covered, I direct you to a tweet that I authored during Ohio State’s Week 2 win over Arkansas State.
In fairness, I was being more than a bit facetious and hyperbolic with the tweet, but — much like these Irrational Overreaction columns — if I tweet something, I at least believe it a little bit.
Is Marvin Harrison Jr. the best wide receiver in the history of Marvin Harrisons? You're hearing it more and more.— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) September 10, 2022
The Kamryn Babb touchdown was the most emotional in Ohio State history
Football can be a brutal game. We know the stories of how injuries sustained in the pursuit of gridiron glory can devastate players' bodies and minds. And while that is something that I believe should always be a part of the conversation when discussing the future of the sport and the well-being of its participants, the game can also provide incredible moments of perseverance, resiliance, and commradere.
Case and point, with 8:49 remaining in the game, Ohio State scored its eighth touchdown of the game which I believe was the most emotional score in program history.
Kamryn Babb came to Columbus as the No. 73 player and No. 13 wide receiver in the 2018 recruiting class. However, in the nearly five full seasons since his arrival, Babb had never caught a pass until today. Dating back to his senior year in high school, the former four-star prospect has suffered four different ACL injuries.
Despite the demoralizing series of setbacks, Babb never gave up and continued to rehab with his team each and every time. Because of that, he has been elected a two-time captain by his teammates and, this season, was selected to be the third person to ever wear OSU’s Block 0 jersey, an honor bestowed on a player who displays toughness, accountability, and the highest personal character.
Babb is in many ways the heart of this Ohio State program and when Stroud found him in the end zone halfway through the fourth quarter, his teammates, coaches, and fans knew what an incredible moment they had just witnessed.
Kamryn Babb in for SIX to extend the @OhioStateFB lead ‼️ pic.twitter.com/RfZR72r4rM— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 12, 2022
The celebrations continued long after the play was over. In fact, the Buckeyes were assessed a delay of game penalty, because, frankly, they had more important things to do than kick a silly extra point.
There were so many people who wanted to congratulate Babb that FOX was able to split up the video to two different tweets, so that they could wring twice as much engagement from the tear soaked screens of Buckeye Nation.
These reactions from the @OhioStateFB sideline after Kamryn Babb's TD ❤️ pic.twitter.com/RiT5wG49wf— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 12, 2022
Nothing but love from @OhioStateFB players after Kamryn Babb's TD ❤️ pic.twitter.com/MYL7786i2E— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 12, 2022
When I realized that it was Babb that had scored the touchdown, I, of course, started going crazy, and some of the family members that I was watching the game with were confused as to why I was so excited to see the Buckeyes go up 56-14.
So, as I started to explain everything that Babb had been through, we saw the images of the receiver, overwhelmed, drop to his knees in the back of the end zone and I was undone. I began to weep openly for the next several minutes as we watched nearly every player and coach on the sideline overcome with joy for Babb.
After celebrating with his team, the fifth-year senior went over to the stands to share the moment with his family and it felt like everyone in Ohio Stadium — and Buckeye Nation at large — was having a collective cathartic moment, overcome by our appreciation for the sacrifices that this young man has made and what his specific journey represents to all of us in our own lives.
This was a truly special moment, and one I will likely never forget. Thank you and congratulations, Kamryn.
I think it’s time we talk about what’s causing all of Ohio State’s injury problems
Here’s the thing, I know nearly nothing about kinesiology, physiology, or anatomy. I’m just some guy who took the bare minimum science requirements in high school and college and now covers sports and entertainment for a living. However, I do know enough to spot a pattern when I see one, and in my eyes, it looks like we are seeing a demoralizing trend with the Buckeyes this season.
As I said up top, injuries are an inherent part of the game of football, so I am not blaming any and all injuries on a single cause, but I do think that someone far more intelligent than I am should probably do a deep dive on whether or not the practices of Ohio State’s strength and conditioning program are at all to blame for the never-ending rash of injuries we’ve seen this fall.
From Jaxon Smith-Njigba in Week 1 to the fact that Ohio State had four of its top five running backs unavailable in the second half today to the carousel of injuries at cornerback and beyond, it feels like there have been more problems than normal this year and a lot of them are of the soft-tissue variety.
Miyan Williams getting his hand caught in a chain against Penn State or Denzel Burke breaking a bone in his hand are a completely different story, but it seems like there have been a lot of injuries to the muscles, tendons, and/or ligaments of Buckeye players this season, including another one to Williams after he had run for 147 yards in the first half today.
Miyan Williams needs help off the field after an awkward tackle pic.twitter.com/BWOWLodKIn— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 12, 2022
Fortunately, Ryan Day said in the postgame press conference that it wasn’t believed to be serious (whatever that means in this specific case), but it did keep him out of the second half and the running back was on the sideline sporting crutches and a walking boot.
In recent years, we have seen Ohio State players go through incredible physical transformations, shedding fat and putting on muscle in ways that demonstrate just how hard they’ve worked at a plan set forth by Mickey Marotti, OSU’s assistant AD for football sports performance, a.k.a strength and conditioning.
However, despite those gains, we’ve also seen guys seemingly trade some of their quickness, athleticism, and flexibility for that strength, and I have to wonder if Marotti’s focus on bulking up is having some negative impacts on players.
Again, I am not an expert, but in my limited knowledge, I do know that often times the more one works on the strength of a muscle, the tighter it can get, leading to decreased mobility. That means that when players are hit in certain ways or rolled up on, tears and strains are more likely, because the ligaments and tendons don’t have nearly as much give as they would have otherwise.
While the Buckeyes share very little injury information with the media and the public, what we do know of the spat of ailments this season, many of them fall into this category, so I do think that someone needs to be asking some questions, even if Day will undoubtedly dismiss them out of hand at a press conference.
This is something that other folks here at LGHL have been talking about dating back to at least last season, and I have generally dismissed it because I know that injuries are part of the game, but at this point, I think that the Ohio State program needs to look into any and every possibility for what is leading to what feels like four or five starters being unavailable every week.