The Ohio State Buckeyes used a last-second touchdown to win an instant classic Saturday night in South Bend against the Fighting Irish.
The Ohio State Buckeyes were sick of the country doubting them all week and used that doubt as fuel as they took down the ninth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in an instant classic with a score of 17-14.
The defensive battle game down to the very last second and last offensive snap of the game for the Buckeyes. Senior running back Chip Trayanum punched it in from the one-yard line as time expired to help the Bucks walk it off in dramatic fashion.
In a game where yards were tough to come by for both high-powered offenses, Junior quarterback Kyle McCord led the offense on a 65-yard drive with just 85 seconds left in the game. The defense came up huge, forcing Notre Dame to punt with a quick three and out late in the game, giving McCord a chance every player dreams of: a game-winning drive on the road.
Ohio State led just 3-0 in a defensive battle at halftime. Both teams had better second halves offensively, with two touchdowns each. The Buckeye offense got down to the Notre Dame one-yard line and 11-yard line on two separate occasions and came away with zero points. Late in the game, when it mattered the most, they made big play after big play.
The 15-play final drive for 65 yards took less than a minute and a half, and every man on the offense stepped up when needed. To keep the drive alive, junior wide receiver Emeka Egbuka had huge catches of 23 and 21 on 3rd and 10 and 3rd and 19, respectively.
Senior wide receiver Julian Fleming finished with two catches for eight yards but had a huge seven-yard catch on 4th and seven with under a minute left in the game. Junior wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. dealt with some injury issues but came up with a diving catch for 19 yards on a 2nd and 10 to put the offense on the Irish 13.
McCord fed all three of his star receivers and needed every yard to complete the comeback Saturday night in South Bend, Indiana. The quarterback played a clean game, finishing 21/37 for 240 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
The running game was once again led by Junior running back TreVeyon Henderson, who had the biggest play of the game for the offense with a 61-yard run on the first offensive play of the second half. He finished with 14 carries for 104 yards, a 7.4 yards per carry average, and the long rushing touchdown for Ohio State. Trayanum added 13 rushing yards and the game-winning touchdown.
Egbuka led the air attack with seven catches for 96 yards, with Senior tight end Cade Stover also adding seven catches with 52 yards. Senior Xavier Johnson made a big catch and run for 40 yards, and Harrison Jr. had three catches for 32 yards.
Notre Dame Senior transfer quarterback Sam Hartman was considered at the top of the Heisman race, but the Silver Bullets played an outstanding game against him. The big-play quarterback did not have a completion over 18 yards and was held to just 175 passing yards and one touchdown. The Fighting Irish run game was once again led by Junior Audric Estime, who ran 14 times for 70 yards. The offense had 176 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown by Sophomore Gi’Bran Payne.
Senior safety Lathan Ransom made the biggest defensive play all night, stopping Hartman on fourth down late in the game. In arguably his best game in a Buckeye uniform, Ransom led the team with 13 total tackles and seven solo tackles. His partner in crime and Senior safety, Josh Proctor, was second on the team with seven total tackles and five solo tackles, with a few big hits.
The guys made big plays up front, forcing Hartman to scramble around and get the ball out quickly. The Buckeyes defense had two tackles for loss and five passes defended. Special teams-wise, Johnson only returned one kick but had a solid return for 32 yards. Sophomore kicker Jayden Fielding had a 31-yard field goal and two extra points.
Ohio State receives a well-deserved bye week before getting into conference play for the rest of the season. Their next matchup comes against the red-hot Maryland Terrapins, who beat the Michigan State Spartans on the road 31-9 and are 4-0 on the year. That game will kick off in Ohio Stadium at noon on Saturday, October 7th.
Carson Hutton, a native of New Albany, Ohio, is a contributing writer for The Silver Bulletin. He graduated from Ohio State with a Journalism and Business degree in May 2023, and has written with the team as far back as 2016. In the two years, he has also been a contributor to CityScene Media Group, AutoFinance News, and Last Word on Sports.