Ohio State’s Ruckert ‘on to the next one’ after one-handed TD catch

Sophomore tight end has four touchdown catches this season

Jeremy Ruckert watched the replay of his one-handed touchdown catch against Wisconsin a number of times right after the Big Ten Championship game. He wasn’t the only one one.

A Fox Sports video posted to Twitter had received more than 600,000 views as of Thursday.

“Right after the game, it kind of blew up a little bit, so I saw it a lot,” Ruckert said. “But since then, I haven’t really watched it. Sometimes it will pop up on my feed or something and I’ll just see it but I haven’t really gone out of my way to watch it. It was a cool moment but just a game that we won and now we have to go on to the next one.”

The next one comes at 8 p.m. Dec. 28 when the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes play No. 3 Clemson in a matchup of 13-0 teams in the Fiesta Bowl. Hype for the College Football Playoff semifinal ramps up early next week when the Buckeyes arrive in Phoenix, Ariz.

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Ruckert will get to relive his 16-yard grab more than a few times in the press conferences leading up to the Fiesta Bowl. It started this week when he was one of a number of Buckeyes to meet with reporters at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Ruckert, a sophomore from Lindenhurst, N.J., has 13 catches for 136 yards and fourth touchdowns this season. No catch was bigger than his reception against Wisconsin. The touchdown cut Wisconsin's lead to 21-14 in the third quarter. The Buckeyes dominated the rest of the game, winning 34-21.

Ruckert said he practices one-handed catches in case the opportunity arises. He grew up watching Odell Beckham Jr. make such catches with the New York Giants and made three or four of his own in high school. He even tried to make another one-handed catch against Wisconsin.

“It was kind of a botched play, and it was kind of a rush so I thought I could only get the one,” Ruckert said. “But after watching. I probably could have reached out and grabbed it with two.”

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The touchdown was Ruckert's first since the Northwestern game on Oct. 18. He started the season with two against Florida Atlantic in the season opener.

“This whole year, we’ve been just trying to just think about the team goals and about how our unit’s doing and our team’s doing,” Ruckert said. “It’s cool to get in the end zone. Everybody sees it. But all the other stuff we do, it just means so much more to our team and our program, and I think we take so much pride in that. I really wasn’t thinking about (touchdowns).”

The other stuff includes blocking and pass protection. Ruckert picked Ohio State in part because it would help him improve in those areas as well as pass catching and route running.

“I knew if I came here, I wouldn’t be able to get on the field unless I learned how to pass protect and run block,” Ruckert said, “and I think learning how to do those two things the last year and a half, it’s been crucial and developed me as a player. Then just all the other stuff with academics and life after football here, there was no question I wanted to come here and develop as a human being, not just a football player.”


Saturday, Dec. 28

Ohio State vs. Clemson, 8 p.m., ESPN, 1410

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