In football, mistakes happen.
And in the age of social media, players hear about their mistakes until they redeem themselves. After Ohio State’s win against Minnesota on Nov. 15, there were those who wanted to share their thoughts with Jalin Marshall, and those thoughts certainly weren’t all encouraging.
“Somebody probably told me to kill myself, that’s probably a big one for somebody to take in,” the redshirt-freshman H-back said Saturday. “But, you know, at the end of the day you’ve got to let that go and move on to next week.”
Marshall, who lost two fumbles in the 31-24 win against the Golden Gophers, moved on by scoring four touchdowns just a week later. The former high school quarterback caught three touchdown passes and returned a punt 54 yards for a score during the Buckeyes’ 42-27 win against Indiana on Saturday.
After the game, Marshall said he felt redeemed, but stressed the success of the team was more important than his individual statistics.
“I’m just satisfied with the team win,” he said. “I feel like that was very important for us to get the win tonight.”
Marshall added that — while the game itself was satisfying — the Buckeyes still have work to do moving forward.
“I’m not satisfied with the season yet,” he said. “But it does feel good, kind of have that barrier off my back. All the negative things I’ve got toward me.”
Before Marshall got going on an individual level, the Buckeyes were struggling as a team. OSU had just a 14-13 lead at halftime and fell behind, 20-14, after the break.
By the time the Hoosiers took possession with 3:25 to play in the third quarter, Marshall spent limited time with the ball in his hands. But the Indiana drive stalled, and Marshall trotted out to around midfield as the Hoosiers set up to punt from their own four-yard line.
Marshall fielded the kick at the OSU 46-yard line, turned up field, made the punter miss and suddenly shifted the game back in favor of the Buckeyes.
“Once I got the ball, I just put my foot in the ground and seen the end zone and got there,” Marshall said of his 54-yard score.
Especially after Marshall’s turnovers helped Minnesota stay in the game a week earlier, sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott said he was glad to see Marshall have the day he did, and added the punt return touchdown changed the dynamic of the contest.
“I think it’s really good,” Elliott said of Marshall’s performance. “(He’s) been having a great year and then he stepped up big time for us when we needed a spark with that punt return that kind of carried us home.”
After going from near-villain to the savior of the Buckeyes, Marshall credited the support he received from the people around him for his ability to turn it around on the field.
“It was kind of tough at first, but I had a lot of support from my teammates, my coaching staff and my family,” he said. “I felt like they supported me the whole week and kept my head up, and I felt like I proved myself today.”
Senior tight end Jeff Heuerman — who received negative feedback from fans after missing a key block in the 2013 Big Ten Championship Game — said he spoke with Marshall about how to bounce back.
“I’ve experienced it first hand, and having that experience I talked to him and we got him on the right foot going and he obviously came out and showed it today,” Heuerman said after the game.
“I just told him to relax,” Heuerman added. “He’s an outstanding football player and we’ve seen it this year in practice every day.”
Redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett — who threw two interceptions in the first half against Indiana — stressed that mistakes are bound to happen, and the team rallied around Marshall to help him put the Minnesota game behind him.
“I mean, unfortunate things happen through the course of a game,” Barrett said. “And last week, it just happened often for (Marshall). But as a offense and as a team, we picked him up and told him, ‘You’re gonna be all right.’ And sure enough, he comes out and plays well.”
As for the individuals who provided negative feedback a week earlier, Marshall said he expected them to stay quiet this time around.
“I felt like I kind of silenced the doubters, the doubts they had in me,” he said. “It felt satisfying that people could see how I could really go out there and play.”
Marshall’s next chance to prove those doubters wrong is set to come on Saturday against Michigan at Ohio Stadium.
While his focus has likely turned to that noon kickoff for The Game, Marshall had something else to focus on after helping take down the Hoosiers: “My phone is in my pocket and it’s making me sweat how much they’re tweeting.”