Freshman Tracker: Zach Harrison and Garrett Wilson Make Key Plays in Ohio State's Big Ten Championship Win

By Matt Gutridge on December 8, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Zach Harrison and Garrett Wilson Celebrate a Championship
Zach Harrison and Garrett Wilson

It's official. Ohio State has won three straight Big Ten titles. Let's take a look at the contributions made by the Buckeyes' six true freshmen who played in the 34-21 championship game victory against the Badgers.

How does Ohio State's coaching staff view Garrett Wilson? In the Big Ten championship game, the coaches trusted the great one to play in 43 of Ohio State's 79 offensive snaps. That says a lot about the trust the staff has in the extraordinarily talented freshman receiver. 

Justin Fields only threw two passes in Wilson's direction, but the 6-foot wideout snagged both. Although the stat sheet lists Wilson with a pedestrian two catches for 17 yards, his contribution to the win was much greater than that.

With Ohio State trailing 14-0 late in the first half, the Buckeyes were facing a key 3rd and 3. Fields' pass was a little off target, but Wilson stretched out and snagged the ball to secure a first down and keep the drive alive. J.K. Dobbins scored six plays later to cut the deficit to seven.  

Wilson's second catch was in the fourth quarter on a 2nd and 5. Fields again threw off target. This time it was high, but Wilson high-pointed the ball and came down with another athletic catch. Although he only had two targets, Wilson has proven his worth on the field for both his receiving and blocking ability.

Other offensive players to see playing time were receiver Jameson Williams and offensive linemen Dawand Jones and Harry Miller. Jones and Miller were protectors on the extra point and field goal team. Williams was used on the kickoff coverage team and punt return unit. For the second straight week, he was able to record a tackle on special teams.

On the defensive side, Zach Harrison had himself a day. The Olentangy Orange alum recorded four tackles, including getting an assist on two sacks. His first assist was early in the third quarter. During Wisconsin's first drive of the second half, the Badgers had 3rd and 6. Jashon Cornell blew by his opposing offensive lineman and forced Jack Coan to scramble to the right. Harrison closed down and helped Cornell clean up for the assist. 

On the ensuing punt, the Badgers' punter mishandled the ball, and the Buckeyes were in position for their second touchdown of the game.  

Around the midpoint of the third quarter, Wisconsin was leading 21-17 and in Ohio State territory. The Badgers were called for holding and had a 1st and 20 around the Buckeyes' 30. Coan dropped back to pass, but Ohio State's defensive line forced him to scramble. Davon Hamilton, Cornell and Harrison brought Coan down for the sack and a two-yard loss. Two plays later, Wisconsin missed a 48-yard field goal attempt.

After the key stop, K.J. Hill capped off an eight-play drive with a 17-yard touchdown reception. That score put Ohio State ahead, 24-21, and turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.

The other defensive player to see the field was linebacker Tommy Eichenberg. He was positioned to the left of Blake Haubeil on the Buckeyes' kickoff unit. 

Under the NCAA's redshirt rules, a player can appear in up to four games at any point throughout the season and still count it as his redshirt year. In all, 14 freshmen have seen playing time this season, with Marcus Crowley, Harrison, Jones, Miller, Williams, Wilson and Craig Young now ineligible for redshirts since they have played in more than four games this season.

Steele Chambers, Noah Potter and Cade Stover have played in four games this season, so Ohio State will have to make a decision on whether they should play in any more games and burn their redshirts.

ZACH HARRISON DE FAU 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack  13 22 tackles, 5 TFL, 3.5 sacks
JAMESON WILLIAMS WR FAU 1 tackle 13 6 catches, 112 yards, TD
2 tackles
GARRETT WILSON WR FAU 2 catches, 17 yards
1 punt return, 1 yard
13 26 catches, 385 yards, 5 TD
12 punt returns, 83 yards
HARRY MILLER OL FAU Special teams only 12 181 offensive snaps
CRAIG YOUNG LB FAU   10 5 tackles
DAWAND JONES OL UC Special teams only 9 90 offensive snaps
MARCUS CROWLEY RB FAU   7 25 rushes, 237 yards, TD
1 catch, 7 yards, TD
STEELE CHAMBERS RB UC   4 19 rushes, 135 yards, TD
CADE STOVER DE/LB UC   4 3 tackles
NOAH POTTER DE FAU   4 2 tackles
TOMMY EICHENBERG LB MIAMI Special teams only 3 5 defensive snaps
BRYSON SHAW S MIAMI   3 2 tackles
ENOKK VIMAHI OL MD   3 62 offensive snaps
JADEN McKENZIE DT MIAMI   2 11 defensive snaps
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