Even though Ohio State began the 2023 season at 1-0 with a win over Indiana, the Buckeyes did not look like a College Football Playoff team. They were unable to get anything going in the run game, which made it difficult for first-year quarterback Kyle McCord to find any success through the air.
Ohio State did not score a passing touchdown in its season-opener. Except it did.
McCord dropped back with about 3:30 left in the third quarter and delivered a dart to the end zone. The ball was right on the money and fell perfectly between two Hoosiers defensive backs for a touchdown.
Harrison, one of the preseason Heisman Trophy frontrunners, hauled in the throw for six. Except he didn’t.
Harrison stepped out of bounds prior to making the catch and was flagged for illegal touching. A player who steps out of the field of play cannot be the first person to touch the ball upon reentry.
A flag should not have been thrown. It was the wrong call.
Marvin Harrison Jr. did nothing wrong!
Harrison was forced out of bounds by his defender, which negates the illegal touching penalty. Head coach Ryan Day that the Big Ten officials owned up to their mistake during a call earlier this week.
The incorrect call did not change the score of the game. Ohio State punched it in a few plays later.
However, in a year where Harrison has a legitimate shot at the Heisman Trophy, that touchdown would have been a big boost to. He caught just two passes for 18 yards on the official stat line.
It could have been three catches for 42 yards and a touchdown if not for the false flag.