Marvin Harrison Jr. Felt He “Let The Team Down” with Drops Against Purdue, Chasing Standard of Perfection

By Dan Hope on October 19, 2023 at 4:05 pm
Marvin Harrison Jr.
Robert Goddin – USA TODAY Sports

Marvin Harrison Jr. caught six passes for 105 yards and a touchdown to help lead Ohio State to a 41-7 win over Purdue on Saturday. You wouldn’t have guessed that by the way Harrison talked Wednesday about his performance in West Lafayette.

While Harrison topped 100 yards for the fourth time in Ohio State’s last five games, he also had three dropped passes against the Boilermakers – as many as he had all of last season combined – which left Harrison feeling disappointed in himself.

“It's a lot of emotions, to be honest with you,” Harrison said. “Because one, you let yourself down. Then you also let the team down as well. And I think what hurts the most is knowing that you prepared for it. You guys see it, I take preparation very seriously. I think I'm the hardest-working player in the country as well. So for you to go out there on Saturdays and not get the results that you want, it definitely hurts the heart a little bit.

“It's not the end of the world. But definitely can't let the team down like that. If it was a closer game, obviously things like that can’t happen. But yeah, it definitely hurts, because I know how much I prepare week in, week out, on a daily basis to prevent things like that from happening. But like you said, just gotta move on from it.”

Whether all of those drops should really be considered drops could be debated, as only one of them was a blatant drop whereas the others would have been more difficult catches. In Harrison’s mind, though, any pass that comes his way should result in a reception.

“If it's an incomplete pass, it’s a drop for me,” said Harrison, who was targeted 13 times against Purdue. “Whether I touched it or not, I think every ball thrown my way needs to be a completion.”

In response to those drops, Harrison – who can regularly be found catching passes from Ohio State’s Monarc pass-catching machine even when the Buckeyes aren’t practicing – says he “implemented some different things” into his routine this week.

Harrison said he also learned that he should take his gloves off when playing in rainy conditions, as he believes that contributed to his drops at Purdue. But he says that’s no excuse for not catching those passes.

“At the end of the day, it can't have an impact,” Harrison said when asked about the weather.

“I think I'm the hardest-working player in the country as well. So for you to go out there on Saturdays and not get the results that you want, it definitely hurts the heart a little bit.”– Marvin Harrison Jr. on his drops at Purdue

Although Harrison felt like he let his team down with his play against Purdue, it’s unlikely anyone else would say that. His opening-drive touchdown set the wheels in motion for Ohio State’s blowout win over the Boilermakers, and his 105 yards from scrimmage led all Buckeyes for the day. 

Harrison feeling that way, though, speaks to just how high a standard he sets for himself.

In his second season as an Ohio State starter, Harrison has been one of the best receivers in college football once again, catching 31 passes for 604 yards and five touchdowns – and doing so even though he’s been playing on a sprained ankle since the second half of the Buckeyes’ fourth game against Notre Dame.

But Harrison feels like he can always play better.

“I feel like I'm never playing up to my standard, if anything. Because the standard’s perfection, and you can never be perfect,” Harrison said. “So I think that standard is something that's never met, at all. So just continue to keep building and getting better. But I don't think there's ever a time where I'm playing up to my standard.”

Harrison says that standard was set by his father, a Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts. While many players with famous fathers like to be viewed as their own man, Harrison welcomes the comparisons to his dad because he wants to accomplish everything his father did.

“I think the standard’s kind of in place as my dad. That's a Hall of Famer. You're always comparing yourself to him,” Harrison said. “Your whole life, you’re chasing after your dad, who's the best receiver to ever play the game. So I think the standard has always been high.

“Obviously, the goals he reached is the goals that I'm trying to accomplish. So why not follow the same footsteps as he did? Why not try to put more work in than he did, knowing that it got him to where he was at, so why try to take a different path?”

Coming off of a game in which he feels he didn’t live up to that standard, Harrison will be as motivated as ever to make as many plays as possible when the Buckeyes play Penn State on Saturday. Harrison caught 10 passes for 185 yards (both career-highs) against the Nittany Lions last year, and he’s excited for the challenge of going up against against a Penn State defense that currently leads the nation in passing yards allowed per game (121.2) and per attempt (4.6).

“I think as far as testing yourself, this is the biggest test you could possibly get really, so I'm super excited for that,” Harrison said. “It’s definitely going to be a challenge for me and the rest of the receivers. But it’s just going to come down to who has better technique at the end of the day.”

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