Austin Owens / Lantern photographer
Junior Daniel “Boom” Herron marked his place in Ohio State history Saturday when he tied for the longest play from scrimmage on record.
The play started as a 98-yard touchdown run from OSU’s own 2-yard line, but after a holding call, Herron’s run was capped at 89 yards. The third-quarter run tied a 1942 run by Gene Fekete against Pittsburgh. The run also set up a field goal to put the Buckeyes up 34-7 on the way to a 37-7 win over Michigan.
Fans in Ohio Stadium did not approve of the holding call against receiver Dane Sanzenbacher during the play and booed as replays showed what they thought was a fair play. But Herron took the call in stride.
“It wasn’t really disheartening. It made a big play for us,” Herron said. “Anytime you can get out from (the 2-yard line), it’s good. Dane had a great block and we got the win, so that’s all that matters now.”
After only one rushing yard in the first quarter for OSU, Herron’s 89-yard dash, paired with sophomore Jordan Hall’s 85-yard kickoff-return touchdown, made for a surprising turnaround in the second and third quarters of the game.
“It was an emotional game for everyone,” coach Jim Tressel said. “It was a strange game offensively.”
Tressel began to lead with the run after making some adjustments to the offensive line and rushing corps.
“They were definitely stacking the box so we had to do something a little different,” Herron said.
Starting a drive at the 2-yard line is also something that a team doesn’t hope to plan for, but Herron was undeterred by the difficult ball position.
“Honestly, I told (sophomore) Zach Boren, ‘Man, I’m about to break this right now,'” Herron said. “I was patient with the offensive line … and I just had to make the safety miss, and it was gone from there.”
Herron’s breakaway run came only a few minutes after he had a 32-yard touchdown. Not only did Herron score in his 11th straight game and grab a school record, he also broke the 1,000-yards mark for the season. With 175 yards against the Wolverines, Herron brought his season total to 1,068 yards.
“It definitely was a dream come true,” Herron said. Reaching 1,000 yards “was one of my goals this year, and I’m very grateful for coach Tressel giving me the opportunity and with the offensive line doing a great job this year.”
Senior left guard Justin Boren said having a running back go for 1,000 in a season is just what they want to see as a line.
But Boren wasn’t the only Buckeye impressed.
“When I think about Herron’s 175 (yards), you can’t do it without him,” said quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who ran the ball for 49 yards and had two touchdown passes in the win.