Terry McLaurin couldn’t finish his Big Ten career in a better place.
That applies to his standing on Ohio State’s team — he’s a senior captain about whom coach Urban Meyer can’t gush enough. It also applies to the venue for his last conference game. McLaurin grew up in Indianapolis, the site of Saturday’s Big Ten title game against Northwestern.Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
“It’s very exciting,” McLaurin said Tuesday. “It’s my last year playing at Ohio State and I (get to play) one of my final games in the place where I grew up and had success in high school, and in college was able to be a part of two Big Ten championships.”
McLaurin redshirted as a freshman on the 2014 team that crushed Wisconsin 59-0 to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff, which Ohio State won. He had an 84-yard touchdown catch for the first score in last year’s win over the Badgers.
McLaurin is having his most productive season with 31 catches for 591 yards and nine touchdowns. He also has excelled on special teams as a punt gunner.
Meyer credited McLaurin and fellow receivers and captains Johnnie Dixon and Parris Campbell for the rapid rise of others, specifically Chris Olave. The freshman had two touchdown catches and a blocked punt returned by Sevyn Banks for a score last week against Michigan.
“It's what you see, but so much is what you don't see,” Meyer said on his radio show Thursday. “How does Chris Olave become one of the best special-teams players? Because every day he goes to work next to Terry, and they understand the toughness involved in playing because they see Parris and see Terry."
Now McLaurin gets to play the Big Ten title game 15 minutes from home.
“To have my family there is going to be great,” he said. “The best way to celebrate, in my opinion, is to win. Whether I have a big game or not is not really my focus. It’s just making sure we’re prepared as a team and get this win.”
Speaking of Olave’s punt block, Meyer gave details on his radio show of what went into that play. It was defensive coordinator Greg Schiano’s call, with help from quality-control coach Parker Fleming.
During preparation, Ohio State timed how long it took after the snap for Michigan punter Will Hart to kick the ball.
“Their get-off time was 2.21 or 2.2 (seconds),” Meyer said. “That’s a little slow. If it was faster, you’re not going to get there. Ours is 2.0. You would never get there.”
Meyer said the Buckeyes have two types of punt blocks — one with a straight dash to the punter and another using a twist.
“I wanted to go with a straight one,” Meyer said. “Greg wanted to go with a twist, and I didn’t have time to overrule him, which was good. He gave a twist signal, and I won’t use the language I used, but I didn’t want that one. All of a sudden I hear the thump thump, and the place goes crazy and Greg has a big smile on his face.”
Meyer said that while Olave made the block, Justin Hilliard and Keandre Jones made it possible by opening a lane for him.