COLLEGE PARK, MD. – Even with a freshly broken right thumb, Lathan Ransom didn’t hesitate.
That’s not his nature. Ohio State Safety became a Thorpe Award semi-finalist for his fearlessness and aggressiveness.
Last week he blocked a punt against Indiana. This came in a 56-14 router.
On Saturday, the Buckeyes were trailing 13-10 after a flat first half when Maryland was forced to stab.
Ransom used his speed to go around Maryland blockers and used his broken hand, protected by a cast, to block Colton Spangler’s punt. The Buckeyes rallied at the Maryland 14 and used a touchdown that gave them the final lead in their 43-30 win over the Terrapins.
When asked how painful it was to block the punt with a broken thumb, Ransom replied, “It wasn’t painful. It felt great.”
It’s safe to say that adrenaline covered any discomfort.
“Maybe that was it,” the third-year player said with a smile. “I do not know.”
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It’s worth noting that Maryland had to punt on that series because Ransom diagnosed a second-down passing play and dropped CJ Dippre for an 8-yard loss before a third-down incompletion.
Ransom said he broke his thumb on Maryland’s first game, where he was batted for a 25-yard gain. Despite being injured during the game, sitting out wasn’t an option for him. He did not start the next series of defences, but quickly returned.
“We’re just doing what we have to do to win the game,” Ransom said. “Tommy (Eichenberg) plays with two messed up hands. What is my excuse not to go out and play?”
“I think he’s one of the toughest guys on the team,” said defensive end Zach Harrison.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day marveled at Ransom’s performance.
“For blocking punts in back-to-back games, has Ohio State ever done that before?” he said. “I don’t know, but that’s amazing. That was a really big point in the game and gave us a lot of momentum.”
Ohio State’s high school wasn’t having its better days. Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa threw 293 yards and completed 26 of 36 passes.
But the no. 2 Buckeyes survived and went undefeated in their showdown against No. 3Michigan.
“It’s the one game that’s been in the back of our minds all year,” Ransom said. “And now the time has come. I’m sure you can all imagine how we feel without saying too much.”