Big Ten Officials Tell Ryan Day That Marvin Harrison Jr.’s Touchdown Catch Against Indiana Should Have Counted

By Dan Hope on September 7, 2023 at 1:37 pm
Marvin Harrison Jr. catching what should have been a touchdown vs. Indiana
Adam Cairns / USA TODAY Network

Marvin Harrison Jr.’s touchdown catch against Indiana didn’t count, but Big Ten officials now say it should have.

Harrison’s 24-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter of last weekend’s season opener was called back for an illegal touching penalty because Harrison stepped out of bounds before catching the pass.

However, Ryan Day revealed Thursday on his radio show that he was told by Big Ten officials this week that Harrison’s touchdown should not have been called back because Harrison was pushed out of bounds.

“I was told (that catch) should have been a touchdown. That (penalty) shouldn’t have been called because he was forced out by the defender,” Day said. “They thought he ran out on his own. That didn't happen. That was missed, and they let us know that.”

Ohio State still scored a touchdown on that drive, so the nullified touchdown didn’t change the game's final score, which ended up being 23-3. Still, it could have made Harrison and Kyle McCord’s stat lines for the season opener look better.

Had that touchdown stood, McCord would have completed 21 of 34 passes for 263 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Harrison would have had three catches for 42 yards and a touchdown. Instead, Ohio State finished the game without a passing touchdown, though Miyan Williams finished that drive with a 3-yard rushing score.

A play involving Harrison has now been the subject of officiating debate after each of Ohio State’s last two games. Ryan Day expressed displeasure after last year’s Peach Bowl that Georgia safety Javon Bullard was not called for targeting for a hit that nullified what would have been a Harrison touchdown and knocked Harrison out of the game with a concussion. Though national coordinator of officials Steve Shaw told Day that the hit on Harrison did not constitute targeting because it was not ruled to be a direct hit to the head, Day said he “completely” disagreed with that ruling, and Big Ten coordinator of officials Bill Carollo told reporters at Big Ten Media Days that he thought the hit on Harrison should have been targeting.

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