Ohio State follow up: Hartline OK, so are Buckeyes in second half

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Lots of pain and a little panic set in when Brian Hartline’s first half ended early Saturday.

The Ohio State sophomore receiver couldn’t help but think the worst as he looked at his arm and awaited an X-ray.

About 90 minutes later, Hartline was all smiles after returning for the second half and helping his Buckeyes beat Akron, 20-2.

“I’m glad to see what we did the second half,” he said of the solid finish.

It wasn’t pretty overall, with Ohio State committing five turnovers, including one by Hartline. And it wasn’t easy with the Buckeyes leading just 3-2 at the half.

“We still could push through it although it wasn’t the greatest performance,” Hartline said. “We showed how good our camaraderie is. … It was good to see us persevere.”

Hartline persevered after getting drilled on a punt return late in the first half. Akron’s Yamari Dixon made a direct hit with his helmet to Hartline’s forearm. Hartline lost a fumble on the play and hurt his forearm.

“I thought I broke my arm. … It’s pretty nasty,” Hartline said.

Having lost nearly all of his senior season at Canton GlenOak High School to a broken leg, it is easy to see why Hartline feared the worst as he looked at his “super swollen” forearm.

“I thought, ‘Oh there goes my arm.’ I thought I was done at least for a good while.”

When X-rays provided good news, Hartline’s thoughts quickly shifted.

“When I found out it was not broken, I just said, ‘Let’s go,’ and they had to pad it up.”

Hartline returned to make his biggest contributions during the opening drive of the second half. He caught a quick 9-yard pass to the left to start it. He later added catches of 7 and 4 yards, helping set up a field goal.

“It felt good. … I like playing that role of having the team on my back,” Hartline said. “When I get those chances, I try to embrace them and run with them.”

He also cast aside any lingering pain in his forearm.

“That first series coming out I tried not to think about how bad it hurt,” he said. “It definitely started getting sore again, but once you start getting the adrenaline flowing again, you forget about it.”

Hartline finished with a team high six catches, which also is his career high. He gained 43 yards on the assortment of short routes. He also added 9 yards on a first-half reverse. The fumble on the 12-yard punt return, though, is something he knows he must avoid in the future.

“(Dixon) popped up and got me, so give some credit to him,” Hartline said, “but I have got to try and protect that ball a little bit better.”

Reach Repository sports writer Chris Beaven at (330) 580-8345 or e-mail: chris.beaven@cantonrep.com