Chris Olave sets Ohio State Buckeyes record for receiving touchdowns

Joey Kaufman
The Columbus Dispatch

The pass, arching across the afternoon sky like a rainbow, landed in the hands of Chris Olave.

It was late in the first quarter of Ohio State’s 56-7 bludgeoning of Michigan State on Saturday when Olave slipped past Marqui Lowery, a transfer cornerback for the Spartans, and headed toward the south end zone at Ohio Stadium.

Stretching his arms just slightly, the senior wide receiver brought in the ball thrown by quarterback C.J. Stroud in an eye-popping display of the prowess of the Buckeyes’ passing game.  

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But it was also a record haul for Olave, a 43-yard touchdown that marked the 35th of his career and allowed him to overtake David Boston as the school’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions.

"It's a huge blessing," Olave said. "I thank God for that. When I first came in as a three-star, the lowest recruit in my class, I didn't know it would come to this day. But I kept my head down and kept working and tried to maximize my potential. I feel like I've done that, and I've got a lot of blessings."

The milestone was significant enough for Olave that he carried around the record-breaking ball once he emerged from the locker room after the game. 

Ohio State receiver Chris Olave and his mom pose with the football he caught to set the new OSU record for career touchdown catches with 35.

Someone made sure to track it down for him.

"I had to get the ball," Olave said.

Olave had for weeks been on the cusp of the record, set by Boston in 1998 when he finished his three seasons with the Buckeyes.

Since being held without a catch in a win over Tulsa in September, Olave had caught at least one touchdown in every game, including multi-touchdown efforts in wins over Maryland and Rutgers.

His push toward the record began early against Michigan State. To cap the Buckeyes’ opening drive, Stroud squeezed a pass between a pair of defenders to find Olave as he crossed the goal line for a 23-yard touchdown that pulled him even with Boston.

Finishing with seven receptions for 140 yards and two touchdowns, it was a Senior Day performance befitting of a decorated career. Olave was among 24 fourth-year players introduced ahead of kickoff as part of the festivities, and it left him emotional ahead of kickoff.

"Running out for Senior Day, I never thought it'd come," he said, "but it's finally here, and I'm just glad my family's here."

Chris Olave has a school-record 35 career touchdown receptions, including 14 this season.

In addition to his pair of touchdowns, Olave also set up a touchdown early in the second quarter when he pulled off a difficult over-the-shoulder catch to position the Buckeyes at the Spartans’ 1-yard line.

On the next play, Stroud handed off to running back Miyan Williams, who ran into the end zone, giving Ohio State a comfortable 35-0 lead.

Olave sat out the second half along with multiple other starters, resting ahead of next week's game at Michigan.

Looking back on Olave's performance and summing up his career, fellow receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba said he served as a model for underclassmen. 

"I tell him I appreciate him as much as I can," Smith-Njigba said. "He just keeps setting the standard. Us young guys, we have a path we can follow, and that's all you can ask for in his legacy. I wouldn't be here in this position and knowing all the things I know without Chris."

The College Football Playoff schedule

Here are the dates to know for the College Football Playoff: 

  • Selection show: Noon Dec. 5 on ESPN
  • Cotton Bowl: 3:30 or 7:30 p.m., Dec. 31 on ESPN
  • Orange Bowl:  3:30 or 7:30 p.m., Dec. 31 on ESPN
  • College Football Playoff national championship game: 8 p.m., Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 on ESPN

The College Football Playoff rankings

  1. Georgia 10-0
  2. Alabama 9-1
  3. Oregon 9-1
  4. Ohio State 9-1
  5. Cincinnati 10-0
  6. Michigan 9-1
  7. Michigan State 9-1
  8. Notre Dame 9-1
  9. Oklahoma State 9-1
  10. Wake Forest 9-1
  11. Baylor 8-2
  12. Ole Miss 8-2
  13. Oklahoma 9-1
  14. BYU 8-2
  15. Wisconsin 7-3
  16. Texas A&M 7-3
  17. Iowa 8-2
  18. Pittsburgh 8-2
  19. San Diego State 9-1
  20. NC State 7-3
  21. Arkansas 7-3
  22. UTSA 10-0
  23. Utah 7-3
  24. Houston 9-1
  25. Mississippi State

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Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.