COLUMBUS – Two games into his second season at Ohio State and his first as a starter, Marvin Harrison Jr. put his name into the OSU record book right next to one of the best wide receivers ever to play for the Buckeyes.
Harrison caught three touchdown passes when Ohio State defeated Arkansas State 45-12 on Saturday afternoon.
It was the second time in OSU’s last three games he has done that. He also did it in the Rose Bowl against Utah.
Saturday’s three-touchdown game made the sophomore receiver only the second Ohio State receiver to have two games of three or more touchdown catches. The other was Joey Galloway, who caught three in a game against Michigan State in 1993 and did it again in 1994 in a game against Purdue.
After watching Harrison catch 7 passes for 184 yards and make touchdown catches of 42 yards, 42 yards and 30 yards, even if it was against an over-matched defense, there really are only two questions to ask.
First, how good can he be? And second, how was he only a 4-star recruit and not a 5-star coming out of high school, where his quarterback was Kyle McCord, who is the Buckeyes back-up quarterback?
Harrison saved the best for last on Saturday when he went up above double coverage in the corner of the end zone to pull in his third score of the day. He nearly had a fourth TD but a defender knocked the ball out of his hand in the end zone.
“They just couldn’t contain him today,” Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud said.
OSU coach Ryan Day said, “He’s very mature for his age. Marvin’s route running is very mature for his age. For somebody who has only played as much as he has, his route running is remarkable. He did it (scored touchdowns) a bunch of different ways.”
Harrison is the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison, who caught 20 touchdown passes in his college career at Syracuse from 1992 to 1995 but never had as many as three in a game there.
Obviously, his father was his first and most significant teacher about playing wide receiver. But Harrison Jr. says he picks up things about playing his position from a wide variety of sources.
“I take bits and pieces from everybody. Even in high school there were some pretty good receivers,” he said.
“I learned a lot from Chris (Olave) and Garrett (Wilson) last year. I’m just trying to be a complete receiver. I think you have to be a complete receiver. You can’t be just a deep threat,” he said.
“If the ball is coming my way, just make a play. That’s my mindset. I trust in my abilities and the work I put in.”
Ohio State played without two of its top four receivers on Saturday. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, as expected, sat out this game after being injured in the season opener against Notre Dame. And Julian Fleming did not play for a second consecutive game because of an unspecified injury in what was described as a game time decision.
Asked what it would be like to get Emeka Egbuka, Smith-Njigba, Fleming and himself all playing together at some point in the season, Harrison said, “It’s going to be special for sure.”
Just like he was on Saturday.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.