Skull Session: Brice Sensabaugh Posterizes Matthew Mayer As Ohio State (Finally) Wins, Marvin Harrison Jr.'s "Hard Work is Gonna Pay Off" and a Former NFL WR Praises JSN

By Chase Brown on February 27, 2023 at 5:00 am
Brice Sensabaugh
Doral Chenoweth / USA TODAY NETWORK

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end for O-HI-O.

Those are the words sung by winners.

Let's have a good Monday, shall we?

 THEY FINALLY DID IT. On Feb. 3, Johnny Ginter wrote a column assessing the best- and worst-case scenarios for Ohio State men's basketball and its outlook for the rest of the season after the Buckeyes had lost eight of their last nine contests. 

The best-case scenario? That Ohio State would win most of its remaining games and finish with somewhere around a 17-14 record. After watching some painfully bad ball the past few weeks, we know that didn't happen. The worst-case scenario? That Ohio State would lose all of its remaining games and finish 11-21. Well, that didn't happen, either.

For the first time in 36 days, the Buckeyes had more points than their opponent when the clock hit triple zeroes as Ohio State defeated Illinois, 72-60, in front of more than 18,000 fans inside Value City Arena on Sunday.

Ohio State was powered by its freshman stars Bruce Thorton and Brice Sensabaugh in the win. Thornton led the Buckeyes with 20 points  – a performance that kept the NutHouse rowdy throughout the contest – but Sensabaugh (14 points) brought the NutHouse down with a poster dunk on Illinois' Matthew Mayer that called for dunk of the year recognition.

When was the last time the crowd sounded like that inside the Schott?

I'm sure it had moments when Ohio State secured its victory over Iowa on Jan. 21, but I don't think it ever reached the decibel level after Sensabaugh's dunk. That kind of rowdiness undoubtedly played a role in the Buckeyes winning the contest, something Thornton pointed out after the game as he professed his love for Ohio State.

Sunday's win for the Buckeyes was fun. Like, really fun. It almost felt like that was the Ohio State team we were meant to see all year. Hopefully, we will see the team look like that again as they carry momentum from the victory into its matchups with Maryland (Wednesday) and Michigan State (Saturday). That would be quite an achievement.

 WHEN THE HARD WORK PAYS OFF. Known as Route Man Marv, Marvelous Marv, Super Marv and several other nicknames in Columbus, Marvin Harrison Jr. has been as advertised in his two years at Ohio State.

Harrison's success is “as advertised” because his father, Marvin Harrison Sr., is a Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver who recorded 1,102 catches, 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns in his 13-year career with the Indianapolis Colts. Much of what Harrison Sr. learned in the pros has been passed down to his son.

In an interview with Clay Hall of ABC6 (WSYX) in Columbus, the elder Harrison explained what teaching the younger Harrison has been like. He said “tenacity, work ethic and competitiveness” set him apart as a player in the NFL, and he believes the same qualities set his son apart at the collegiate level.

"I used to film the games and then when they were over on Saturday nights or Sunday morning we would watch it and go over very thoroughly with him. Whenever he started playing – 7 years old, 8 years old, 9 years old, 10 – we would just watch and learn. To this day, I think he has always remembered all these times that I may have yelled at him, and I think it has paid off. ... Once he got to high school, I stepped back a little bit and let him be himself and now he has turned into what he is today.

"When I was playing, I'm not sure how much he remembers. But as he got older he was able to go back and watch some of the film and the highlights, and he can see how (my) work ethic paid off over time. He understands that now. I don't even need to speak that into him anymore. Now he knows that the hard work is gonna pay off. This is what everyone always told him about me. He knows what it takes – a little more effort and good things will happen."

Harrison Jr. is the Route Man, Marvelous and Super Marv because of the hard work he has put in behind the scenes to make himself the best wide receiver in college football.

While he has a long road ahead of him if he is to have his name placed next to his father's in Canton, one can see how that road looks attainable even this early in his career. His natural ability has not been wasted but maximized by his constant training of both his body and mind. He keeps on getting better.

Let me say this: I am glad Harrison plays for the local team. He is on a mission to win the Biletnikoff Award, be a back-to-back unanimous All-American and win a national championship with Ohio State. The college football world won't be ready for the 6-foot-4, 205-pound beast that emerges from Columbus in 2023.

 HIGH PRAISE FOR JSN. Harrison's otherworldly performances this past season came only one year after Jaxon Smith-Njigba contributed similarly for the Buckeyes in 2021, including a record-breaking Rose Bowl in which he recorded 15 catches, 347 yards and three touchdowns.

Harrison and Smith-Njigba deserve plenty of praise for their efforts. As mentioned above, Harrison recently received that from his father. Meanwhile, JSN received it from an unexpected source this past week: former NFL first-team All-Pro Steve Smith.

He has athleticism, but he's not fast. Some people say he runs a 4.48 (40-yard dash), but I think he runs a 4.5. ... He was a backup to Garrett Wilson. He is a slot receiver. He is a heck of a slot receiver at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds. He can play. He has lackluster speed – that's what people will say, but I want to see how fast he will run at his pro day. But what (I've seen) is that he knows how to run a route. He has a Ph.D. in route running.

"The question mark will be how fast he will be, but he played a little punt returner, so he understands how to play football. He's an athlete. He has very good body control and we see it over and over again. ... His file of spectacular catches and great body control is out of this world. I love what he can do. He is going to be a pretty darn good receiver. Ohio State wide receivers are coming into the NFL prepared and ready."

After hearing Smith's comments, JSN said he felt honored to receive praise from one of his "favorite players of all time." However, he had more to add to Smith's assessment of his play, claiming he is more than just a slot receiver and will be a playmaker wherever a team places him at the next level.

The NHL and the Blue Jackets believed the expansion of the college football playoffs, and the possibility that Ohio State may be required to host a playoff game, could prompt Ohio State to pay for winterizing The ‘Shoe. But Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith shot that theory down. ... Here’s Smith talking to The Athletic recently: “That Dec. 20 window … historically we haven’t had significant inclement weather at that time,” he said. “We typically begin to winterize the stadium — drain the pipes, all those kind of things — in mid-to-late December. So we’re kind of right on that bubble. We could host (a College Football Playoff game) with no problem. It’s different if you’re going to host a game in January or February.”

I sincerely hope Smith, the Blue Jackets and the NHL can agree on making Ohio Stadium winterized. To witness an outdoor hockey game in The House That Harley Built would be a fantastic experience – one that I believe would far exceed what was on hand at the Browns stadium a few weekends back, which would be no small feat, mind you.

As Smith mentioned to The Athletic, the process would allow Ohio State football to play College Football Playoff games at the venue as the CFP expands to 12 teams (and possibly more in the future – who knows?). That experience, much more than hockey (sorry, hockey), would be an amazing experience that borders on unforgettable.

It's time for the powers that be within all parties to make this thing happen. The fans want it and deserve it. What better reason to act than that?

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Wings" by Jonas Brothers.

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