While it wasn’t a perfect exhibition of offensive prowess in The Horseshoe on Saturday, C.J. Stroud and the Ohio State offense did put on an impressive scoring display en route to a 45-12 victory.
Sophomore wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. stole the show becoming only the second Buckeye receiver in history to have multiple three-TD games. In the illustrious history of Ohio State receiving, Marv joins only Joey Galloway, and friends, he’s going to do it again, likely many, many times.
So, to celebrate the historic day in Buckeye scoring history, I am going to rank all six of the team’s touchdowns. Now, they are all impressive and fun, but some were more impressive and fun than others.
And since this is my column, I reserve the right to change my judging criteria week to week, heck, even touchdown to touchdown. In some cases, I will judge a play by its importance in the grand scheme of the game, others will be by the degree of difficulty, and some will just be sheer entertainment value.
And, as is my prerogative, I am automatically deducting a quarter point from every touchdown solely because of the competition. This is no disrespect to Arkansas State, it is just how this works.
The International Rules of Touchdown Rankings does not allow for full credit to be given on plays in the first three weeks of the season against a team who ranked 129th in total defense the previous season.
If you have a problem with that, take it up with the touchdown ranking governing body: the International Society of Interesting Touchdowns in Games Of Obvious Distinction (I.S.I.T.G.O.O.D).
If you disagree with my ranking (which my six+ years here at LGHL tells me you absolutely will), feel free to share your list in the comments below.
Ok, now, without further ado, drumroll, please.........
Sixth Place: Touchdown No. 1
C.J. Stroud to Marvin Harrison for 42 yards
He had three TDs in the @rosebowlgame, and now he has his first career regular season TD.@MarvHarrisonJr starts the scoring for No. 3 @OhioStateFB. pic.twitter.com/lmZR2b3yoj— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 10, 2022
The degree of difficulty on this one is in how easy it looked. Once Harrison catches the ball, there is no one within three yards of him the final 26 yards into the end zone. The receiver does make a pretty nice move around the 27 before cutting across the field, and he does run a pretty long way for a 42-yard touchdown, but it was a pretty standard pitch and catch.
They do get some bonus points for it being Harrison’s first touchdown in Ohio Stadium, but, while it was impressive, it’s coming in sixth in this week’s rankings.
Score: 6.4- 0.25 opponent deduction = 6.15
High marks: Impressive preparation and athleticism
Deduction: Low degree of difficulty
Fifth Place: Touchdown No. 4
TreVeyon Henderson for 23 yards
TreVeyon x ✌️@TreVeyonH4 x @OhioStateFB pic.twitter.com/Poxq22P65Y— Ohio State on BTN (@OhioStateOnBTN) September 10, 2022
Similar to Harrison’s first touchdown, this was not an easy score, by any means, but it wasn’t exactly difficult, at least not for Henderson. The heavy lifting on this one was done by the offensive line and tight ends who absolutely obliterated the Arkansas State defensive line, giving the back multiple holes that he could have picked to take it to paydirt.
Henderson does show impressive acceleration once he gets to the second level, so that does work in this TD’s favor, but there were better scores on the day.
Score: 6.8- 0.25 opponent deduction = 6.55
High marks: Team blocking and straight-line speed
Deductions: Massive holes made run fairly routine.
Fourth Place: Touchdown No. 5
C.J. Stroud to Emeka Egbuka for 51 yards
This @OhioStateFB offense has some serious quick-strike ability. @emeka_egbuka joins the fun with the latest TD. pic.twitter.com/mzrx6R4FgU— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 10, 2022
Like the previous two TDs, Egbuka gets in the end zone with essentially no one even coming close to laying a hand on him, however, I am giving this one the benefit of the doubt because of how he caught it.
I’m not sure if he was expecting the ball to be lofted a bit more, or perhaps he turned over the wrong shoulder, but he turned what looked like an awkward catch into a silky smooth
Score: 7.0 - 0.25 opponent deduction = 6.75
High marks: Catch degree of difficulty
Deductions: No one within five yards to challenge play.
Third Place: Touchdown No. 3
C.J. Stroud to Marvin Harrison for 42 yards
Leader in the clubhouse for Week 2 B1G OPOW: Marvin Harrison Jr (4 rec., 137 yds, 2 TD).@MarvHarrisonJr x @OhioStateFB pic.twitter.com/wXngYjWa7J— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 10, 2022
This was an absolute dime. Stroud placed the ball perfectly in Harrison’s hands, traveling exactly 50 yards in the air. In two of the last three games that the Buckeyes have played, these two have connected on three touchdown passes, and while I know that the target distribution will change once Jaxon Smith-Njigba is healthy and back in the lineup, it is clear that these two have developed a chemistry that I don’t see changing anytime this year.
The only drawback here is the fact that the defensive back covering Big Marv gets absolutely burned and Harrison goes into the end zone with no real opposition.
Score: 7.5 - 0.25 opponent deduction = 7.25
High marks: Perfect ball, over-the-shoulder catch
Deductions: No defender in contention for catch.
Second Place: Touchdown No. 2
TreVeyon Henderson for 8 yards
️ "Dancing, darting!"@TreVeyonH4 finds his gap and takes it in for the @OhioStateFB TD. pic.twitter.com/RmwpEenqzd— Ohio State on BTN (@OhioStateOnBTN) September 10, 2022
Now I know what you’re going to say, “That is only an eight-yard run, and no one puts a hand on him, how can this be the second-best touchdown of the day?”
You are right, but I will tell you how. Find and watch No. 3 on Arkansas State. Cornerback Kenneth Harris is so sucked in by Jayden Ballard’s motion across the formation, that he literally ran away from the hole that Henderson ran through to paydirt. I’ve watched that video at least a dozen times and it never fails to make me laugh.
Score: 7.75 - 0.25 opponent deduction = 7.50
High marks: Entertainment value, team blocking
Deductions: Untouched by defenders, short-yardage.
First Place: Touchdown No. 6
C.J. Stroud to Marvin Harrison 30 yards
This is not @MarvHarrisonJr's first career 3-TD game.— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 10, 2022
The @OhioStateFB WR continues his gigantic day. ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/YmUuov6Vry
I honestly don’t even know what to say about this one other than it is practically perfect. First, the guts of Stroud to even throw that ball is something to celebrate, and then to put it inside the only three-foot window that would allow Harrison to haul it in is absolutely next-level.
And what was even more impressive is that the ball was effortlessly thrown on an absolute rope. It wasn’t that the velocity of the pass was all that impressive, but thanks to the spin of the ball, it flew on a direct line, no more than 12 feet off the ground for the 36 yards between QB and WR. That is a pro throw.
Then there’s the catch by Harrison; unlike the other five touchdowns in the game, there was competent defense being played on this one. The Red Wolves had a corner in good position in front him, and a safety coming from the middle of the field to help. However, Harrison went up in the air and was able to somehow secure the ball around the outstretched hand of defender Leon Jones.
The athletic ability, the vision, the hand strength, everything about the catch was perfect.