On Saturday, Harrison put on a display to show why he deserves to be in the running.
The first two times he touched the ball in a 38-3 win over Michigan State, Harrison scored touchdowns. On the first, he scored his first rushing touchdown. And on the second, he passed Ohio State legend Cris Carter to take sole possession of fourth place with 28 touchdown catches with the Buckeyes.
Each moment was special in its own way.
On the Buckeyes’ first possession, the Spartans seemed intent on stopping Harrison, often positioning two defenders near him. Instead, Ohio State put the ball in the hands of others. TreVeyon Henderson picked up chunks of yards and receiver Xavier Johnson had a 4-yard gain on the ground, a sign that the Buckeyes had been working on ways to work receivers into the run game.
Quarterback Kyle McCord found tight end Cade Stover within his reach with Harrison covered, going to him for gains of 7 and 9 yards. Then on second-and-3 from the Spartans’ 28-yard line, Harrison lined up to the left and swept across the backfield at the snap, taking a handoff from McCord on a reverse. Harrison cut up the right side of the field and used his speed to reach the end zone. It gave the Buckeyes a 7-0 lead, a positive sign after they failed to top 10 points in the first half in their three previous games.
“The reverse was really well-executed by the guys up front,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “A couple of blocks that were made. [Tight end] Gee Scott came around and set that edge, and then Marvin did the rest.”
The Buckeyes’ second possession was much faster. After two passes to Stover and a carry by Henderson put Ohio State on the Spartans’ 26-yard line, McCord saw Harrison in single coverage to his right and lofted a pass to him in the end zone. Harrison beat his defender for the touchdown.
“Marv is a special player, and we’re always going to try to find ways to get him the ball,” Day said. “It’s not always easy. There was a lot of double coverage out there.”
It sent Harrison past Carter, who played at Ohio State from 1984 to ’86, for most touchdown catches. Ahead of Harrison on the list are Chris Olave (2018-21) with 35, David Boston (1996-98) with 34, and Devin Smith (2011-14) with 30.
On the first play of the second quarter, Harrison made his 29th touchdown catch on a 9-yard pass from McCord. By halftime, his 92 receiving yards were enough to put him over 1,000 for the second straight season. And by the third quarter, with over 100 yards, he caught up to Boston by having 14 100-yard games. He stood at 149 receiving yards on seven catches by the end of the third, with Ohio State sitting him out the rest of the game.
Last week after its win over Rutgers, Ohio State began pushing Harrison for the Heisman Trophy. Most of the focus remains on quarterbacks such as Michael Penix Jr. of Washington and Jayden Daniels of LSU, but with performances like this in November, Harrison could put himself in the conversation.
The last receiver to win the Heisman was DeVonta Smith of Alabama in 2020, and the last Ohio State player was quarterback Troy Smith in 2006.
Ohio State is tied with several other schools for the most Heisman winners with 7.