Heading into the Michigan vs. Ohio State matchup, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh knew how hard of a task it would be to cover Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.
“He’s a great player. Gotta be covered, you gotta slow him down is probably the better word,” Harbaugh said.
Harrison Jr. did get his licks in against Michigan to the tune of five receptions for 118 yards and one touchdown, but he was slowed down. Further, Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord threw two interceptions while he was targeting Harrison Jr. These interceptions greatly influenced the outcome of the game.
The first interception: Will Johnson jumped the route and the pick led to a Blake Corum touchdown run to put Michigan up 7-0.
INTERCEPTION MICHIGAN 〽️— The Trick Play - NCAA/CFB (@TheTrickPlayFR) November 25, 2023
CB Will Johnson intercepte Kyle McCord dans la redzone des Buckeyes.
The second interception: Michigan edge rusher Jaylen Harrell pressured Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord. McCord rushed the throw, targeted Harrison Jr., which was a fatal error. Michigan safety Rod Moore picked it off and sealed Michigan’s win with just 25 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
It’s poetic that Michigan’s game-sealing interception came from Ohio native Rod Moore, a star safety who was a three-star recruit and never received an offer from Ohio State.pic.twitter.com/J89vt4bpAg— Brandon Koretz (@BrandonKoretz) November 26, 2023
After Michigan’s 30-24 win over Ohio State, Harrison Jr. noted that he didn’t believe he’s “ever gotten doubled more in a game”. Beyond that, Michigan did something Harrison Jr. isn’t used to this season — Will Johnson and other Michigan corners played physical with him at the line of scrimmage and put their hands on him. Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter’s gameplan was impressive in how it limited the production of Harrison Jr.
“He’s probably one of the best college receivers in the last 15-20 years. One of the best NFL draft prospects at that position in a long time,” Minter told the media on Wednesday. “Great skill set, ability to move him around. There’s a lot of answers you gotta have because they can line him up in so many different spots. We certainly trust our guys as well. There were times where Will was on him one-on-one, there were times where Mikey was on him one-on-one. We certainly wanted to try to limit his ability to wreck the game.”
Harrison Jr. often wrecks games and one that stuck out to Minter was his performance against Penn State in a 20-12 Ohio State win — Harrison Jr. was the difference between winning and losing with 11 receptions for 162 yards and one touchdown.
“When I go back and watch them and Penn State — was kind of an evenly matched game and he was the difference for their offense,” Minter explained. “While he still did some damage on us, there’s a couple plays we’d like to have back, to be able to somewhat keep a roof on him and to keep him from really being able to wreck the game was certainly a big part of the game plan.”
Harrison Jr. will finish his Ohio State career 0-3 against Michigan.