Terry McLaurin wrote the numbers 317 on the tape on his wrists. Then he gave everyone with a keen eye a glance at that Indianapolis area code when he raced into the end zone for the first touchdown Saturday in the the Big Ten Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium.
McLaurin attended Cathedral High School, which is about 11 miles northeast of the stadium. That made the 27-21 victory over Wisconsin and his 84-yard touchdown catch from J.T. Barrett in the first quarter all the more sweeter.
“It meant a lot to have my family here,” McLaurin said, “but it meant even more to win here and have a big hand in this victory. As a captain, I just wanted to help this team anyway I can: blocking, special teams, catching passes. I felt like I played my best game to date because my teammates pushed me to have a good game.”
McLaurin caught one other passes and finished with 94 receiving yards. He said the Buckeyes practiced the play on which he scored all week.
“We got the perfect look we wanted,” McLaurin said. “When I crossed the safety space, I knew J.T. was going to throw it to the green grass. I just wanted to catch the ball, stay up and run as fast as I can.”
Campbell’s touchdown: The other big catch in the first half belonged to Parris Campbell. He turned his only reception into a 57-yard touchdown to give Ohio State a 14-7 lead with 59 seconds left in the first quarter.
“I’ve just got to give credit to Austin Mack on the perimeter,” Campbell said. “He had a great block. J.T. got the ball out there fast. That’s kind of our offense. We want to stretch teams horizontally.”
First championship: Ohio State won its first Big Ten title since 2014. A number of the current Buckeyes were freshmen or redshirt freshmen that season. However, for most of the players, including Wayne graduate Robert Landers, a redshirt sophomore defensive tackle, this was their first Big Ten title.
“It’s a dream come true,” Landers said. “It’s what I’ve been working for since I was a kid. This feeling, I can’t even explain it. I’m just happy and glad my family was here to witness it and that I could do it with this team and these guys. I love every last one of them.”
Backup’s viewpoint: One week after leading Ohio State’s comeback in a 31-20 victory at Michigan, quarterback Dwayne Haskins didn’t leave the bench. Barrett played the whole game six days after undergoing an arthroscopic procedure on his knee.
“I thought he did a really great job,” Haskins said. “It was a heroic performance for him. For him to be able to go through what he did and have done what he had to get done on Sunday, it shows how much of a leader is and how strong he is.”