COLUMBUS — After helping create a moment Ohio State fans will remember for many years to come, Kyle McCord became a fan himself for a little while.
“I mean, it was surreal,” said the quarterback of the Buckeyes, who drove the Buckeyes 65 yards in 1:25 to turn a 14-10 deficit into a 17-10 win Saturday night at Notre Dame.
“I just went back and watched the TV copy of the game, and on that last drive I was sitting there, my heart was pounding like I don’t know what’s about to happen. But, man, that’s about as tough a win as you can get, and I’m just proud we were able to pull it out and excited to keep building on it.”
Mccord threw for 240 yards, including a 21-yarder to Emeka Egbuka that got the ball to the 1-yard line with seven seconds on the clock, but more importantly delivered in the clutch while making his fifth career start.
“I think a lot of the questions maybe around me were, was I built for that moment or not? And I think the team rose to the occasion,” McCord said. “It wasn’t just me. I think it was the guys around me. If you turn on the last four minutes of that game, not one guy who stepped on that field didn’t go as hard as he could and give us a great chance to win.”
Only 10 defensive players on field ‘not our problem’
McCord also shed some light on the final sequence of plays.
After spiking the ball to stop the clock, he said he observed a space where a defensive tackle should be to the left of the center on second-and-goal at the 1-yard line.
He ran the play that was called — a sprint-out pass to Marvin Harrison Jr. that was incomplete — but hoped the coaches saw what he saw, too.
“I noticed that soft spot, but obviously we’d already called the spring out, and I’m sure they saw that up in the box,” McCord said. “I was thinking the next play has to be a run to the left. And when I got the call, you know, they obviously saw it up in the box, and it was I think a perfect call.”
Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman acknowledged the Fighting Irish were short a man on the final two defensive plays, but he said he did not want to run another tackle on the field late and take a penalty prior to what turned out to be the game-wining touchdown run by Chip Trayanum.
“It’s not our problem they only have 10 guys on the field,” McCord said. said. “I think we took advantage of it, obviously.”
Marvin Harrison Jr. appearance
While McCord spoke to reporters, Marvin Harrison Jr. took the practice field to get in some extra work, catching passes from a machine with a teammate.
That was significant because the star receiver played most of the second half Saturday night on what appeared to be a sprained ankle he suffered when a Notre Dame defensive player landed on the back of his leg while Harrison blocked for a 61-yard TreVeyon Henderson touchdown run.
Harrison remained on the Notre Dame Stadium turf for a few minutes in obvious pain, but he returned with a heavily taped ankle the next time the Buckeyes got the ball and caught a pair of passes, including a 19-yarder on the final drive.
“I think that is a side of Marvin that I don’t know if people have seen yet, just his toughness,” said McCord, who played with Harrison at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia. “He could have easily preserved himself in that moment, but that’s not who he is, that’s not the type of competitor he is. To come back and make plays right away and have that huge catch on that last drive, I think that gives you everything you need to know about Marvin.”
No one with the team offered an update of Harrison’s health, and the Buckeyes do not have a game this weekend.
However, his getting in extra work seems like a good sign his long-term prognosis is positive.
Harrison did not run routes while media were in the building, nor did he have an obvious limp, but he did appear to have his right ankle taped up under his sock.