Something about the Ohio State-Michigan game brings out the best in the fifth-year senior from Warren, Ohio. In his three meetings against the Wolverines, Herron has scored four touchdowns and rushed for an average of 117.0 yards per game.
Simply put, Herron is a Wolverine killer.
"It's always special to play against Michigan," Herron said. "It's a great rivalry game. Anytime two games like this are playing each other, it's something special. We have to go out there and get the win."
The Buckeyes are unbeaten against their longtime archrival when Herron is suited up in scarlet and gray. His first time playing in The Game was in 2008 as a redshirt freshman. Ohio State crushed the visiting Wolverines 42-7 in that matchup, and Herron had a solid game. He carried the ball eight times for 80 yards and scored twice on runs of 49 and 2 yards, respectively.
A year later in Ann Arbor, Herron fared even better. He only produced one score – a 12-yard touchdown catch from Terrelle Pryor – but finished with 113 yards of all-purpose offense. He ran for 96 yards on 19 carries and caught two passes for 17 yards. The Buckeyes earned a 21-10 victory in that game.
Herron's best performance against U-M was his most recent. Last November, Herron led all rushers with 175 yards on 22 carries. He scored one touchdown on a 32-yard run and helped Ohio State earn a 37-7 rout of the Wolverines.
Herron is arguably Ohio State's most emotional player, so it should not be that big of a surprise that he plays well in a game that always features plenty of passion.
"Just playing in that game and knowing this game lives with you for the rest of your life, you want to come out on top and win the game," Herron said. "You have to prepare for it and give it your all in that game.
"You run as hard as you can. One yard equals two and five yards equals 10. Every play is huge. Everything is crazy."
The 2010 game also featured Herron's favorite OSU-Michigan memory – a 98-yard touchdown run that never was. Herron took a handoff from Pryor at the Buckeyes' 2-yard line, immediately cut left through a hole, shook off Ray Vinopal's tackle attempt at the 7 and raced down the left sideline to the end zone. Unfortunately for Herron, the play was called back because of a holding penalty. It cost Herron what would have been the longest touchdown in Ohio State history.
What is more impressive, however, was that Herron called his shot to senior fullback Zach Boren as the Buckeyes took the field for that offensive possession.
"I told Zach before the play I was going to do it," Herron said. "I didn't know it was really going to happen, but it happened."
Herron isn't exaggerating, either. Boren told the same story Nov. 8 in the week leading up to the Purdue game.
"We were coming off the sideline," Boren said. "and Boom looks at me and goes, ‘Hey, hey! Watch this, I'm about to break this one.' And I go, ‘No you're not.' And he goes, ‘Oh, watch. Watch.' Next thing you know, (98) yards later he's in the end zone."
Herron missed the first five games of this season because of the well-documented scandal that led to the resignation of former head coach Jim Tressel and set Ohio State on the path to a 6-5 record heading into this weekend's regular-season finale. Since returning, Herron has rushed for 559 yards on 108 carries with two touchdowns.
Despite playing in only five games, Herron is second on the team in rushing. He trails only freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, who has 595 yards on 128 carries.
"Boom's done a tremendous job," senior left tackle Mike Adams said. "He was All-Big Ten last year, he's a senior, he's a playmaker. You knew he was going to come in and make a difference. He didn't let anybody down in regards to that. He came in and was explosive.
"He's moving up in the Ohio State record books, which as one of his offensive lineman you love to see. It's been a pleasure to play with a guy like that."
Teammates hope to see the man they call Boom have one more big game against Michigan.
"Boom is an extreme competitor," senior linebacker Andrew Sweat said. "This is the biggest game of the year, and obviously Boom gets up for it. But against anyone he does well. I expect Boom to do extremely well this weekend."