INDIANAPOLIS — Last season was a weird experience for all parties involved with College football.
Pandemic complications, cancelled games and no fans in the stands created an awry atmosphere around the Big Ten. All 14 teams were affected by the changes in one way or another, even the reigning Big Ten Champs.
Ohio State had to cancel several games because of the pandemic. Several Buckeyes even missed the National Championship Game due to positive COVID tests. However, 19,180 fans were allowed in Ohio Stadium for the Buckeyes’ spring game this past April. It gave the team a taste of what they’re going to see this fall.
Now stadiums across the league will be back at full capacity. For Ohio State fans, that means more scarlet and grey in the stands, plus the return of the Best Damn Band in the Land. It’s something star Buckeye edge rusher Zach Harrison been yearning for.
The Ohio native is very familiar with 104,000-plus fans screaming at the top of their lungs. He understands the tradition behind Script Ohio. After all, the Horseshoe is a legendary venue and the fourth largest stadium in the world. So when the Buckeyes couldn’t play in front of the fans, Harrison knew he had to find other ways to get hyped up on gameday. It was awkward at first, but the All-Big Ten defender made it work.
“It was unique challenge in its own having to bring your own energy” Harrison said. “I’m so excited to see all the fans in the stadium, the electricity and energy they bring, how they help us and the way they feed into our play on the field.”
The Horseshoe is arguably one of the most intimidating stadiums to play in College football for visitors. The Buckeyes are all about protecting the house too. Ohio State hasn’t lost a home game since Oklahoma pulled the unthinkable in 2017. It’s mind-boggling the Buckeyes haven’t lost at home to a conference foe since 2015.
Ohio State will host six games at the Horseshoe this fall. Week two against Oregon will be highly-anticipated, considering it’s a rematch of the 2014 National Championship. Harrison is confident his team will be ready and embraces all the fan support for every home game.
The former five-star prospect had to deal with the pressure of being the sequel of Chase Young during his first two years with the program. Harrison is in a better place and more relaxed now approaching year three. Ohio State will likely be a top-three team to start the season, and rightfully so. There are studs at every level of the defense and the Buckeyes are loaded at the skill positions.
“Personally I don’t really have any questions, I feel confident with everybody,” he said. “I feel like we have all the pieces to make another urn back to the National Championship.”
Although Harrison is already an elite talent, he’s been working on finishing the top of his rushes. The goal is to flatten the edge and get to the quarterback. It takes great flexibility, so it’s been a non-stop hustle for Harrison. Regardless, he knows it’s all going to be worth it when he makes a sack and hears the roar from the Horseshoe’s crowd.