On the list Monday of Ohio State’s “champions” from the 56-0 win at Rutgers on Saturday night was an interesting name: Terry McLaurin.
“It was a head coach's decision because I like Terry,” coach Urban Meyer said, in his weekly press conference, evoking laughter from the media.
That was because he had been asked what McLaurin, a fourth-year junior and co-captain, had done to make the list. The question wasn’t because the receiver had a bad night – along with leading the team in catches with five, he also had an impressive game blocking – but because he had one bad moment that would seem to have precluded him from post-game plaudits.
At the end of a long run by quarterback J.T. Barrett in the third quarter, McLaurin was penalized for a block just behind the play near the sidelines, when he took out a Rutgers player with a high but ultimately legal hit, as replays showed. McLaurin initially was ticketed for targeting, which means leading with his head, for unnecessary roughness for taking out a man with no chance to make the tackle and, after the play, for unsportsmanlike conduct evidently for words he said.
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The replay review by the official in the press box took away the targeting foul, which would have led to an ejection, but officials on the field maintained the other two penalties. Since the second of those was a dead-ball offense, it meant the Buckeyes were penalized 15 yards for each, 30 total.
Barrett went on to lead the team to a touchdown on the possession, a 23-yard pass to Binjimen Victor. That McLaurin had put the team in a hole wasn’t forgotten, Meyer said, but he also said there were circumstances.
“We don't condone that, and I had a little chat with him,” Meyer said. “But you guys probably know Terry. He's everything you want. And don't do that.
“But there was a cheap shot on him early in the game, bad one. A tough guy like that, it carried with him for a while.”
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