BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - After struggling to move the football for most of the first half against Indiana on Thursday night, Ohio State finally appeared ready to take the top off of a defense.
Facing a 3rd-and-short from the Hoosier 41-yard line, trailing 14-13, quarterback J.T. Barrett fired a long pass into the end zone to a wide open Parris Campbell, who has separated from the defensive back.
At last, it appeared Ohio State was going to hit the long pass that had eluded its offense for most of the previous season.
That was until the ball dropped through Campbell's arms and innocently to the turf.
"I was down in the dumps after that, I can't lie," Campbell said after Ohio State's 49-21 win over Indiana. "After the drop, my teammates got around me and kept hitting me with positive notes. That is really what lifted me back up. Just having them around me, supporting me and still having that confidence in me, that is what got me through."
The support seemed to help.
After the Buckeyes and Hoosiers exchanged scores, Indiana led 21-20 with 4:56 remaining in the third quarter. The IU lead was short lived, thanks to Campbell.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, Barrett found Campbell on a short crossing route, which the Akron, Ohio native turned up the Buckeye sideline for a 75-yard score, as he was sprung free by a block from fellow receiver Terry McLaurin.
Campbell's score gave Ohio State the lead for good, as the Buckeyes scored the final 29 points of the contest. He said postgame that at no point during the game did he reflect back on his drop in the 2015 season opener against Virginia Tech, which also would have likely resulted in a touchdown.
Ohio State offensive coordinator and former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson said Campbell's previous experience gave the coaching staff confidence that he would be able to bounce back from the missed opportunity.
"He has played a lot of ball. To really succeed, you have to get out in front of people and fail, and not be afraid to fail," Wilson said. "When you are a great player like Parris, you flush (the drop), put it behind you, and move on. It was good to see him do that, and it is not a surprise. It's a good lesson for our young players moving forward."
On the night, Campbell finished with a team-high in catches (six), and yards (136), in addition to the score. He also added one carry for six yards from his H-back position.
Barrett, who completed 20-of-35 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns, said he didn't get down on Campbell after the initial drop, acknowledging that there will be times the blame will fall on him.
"I think that is part of the game," Barrett said of Campbell's drop. "There are going to be times where I am going to miss him. We just have to rally back and I think he did a great job."