The veteran receiver has earned plenty of praise from Ohio State coaches and players this season, and Spencer made his biggest play of the season against the Scarlet Knights. The Buckeyes had little trouble dispatching their new Big Ten foe, but it was Spencer’s 11-yard touchdown grab that will likely be the best remembered of OSU’s eight scores.
With the Buckeyes firmly in command in the third quarter, OSU redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett slightly over-threw a pass intended for Spencer near the goal line. The senior leapt into the air, got his right hand on the football and was able to haul it in as he fell into the red-hued FieldTurf of the end zone.
Spencer was targeted by Barrett several times against Rutgers but was unable to get his second touchdowns of the season until his acrobatic reception. At one points before the score, Barrett threw three consecutive passes toward Spencer in the red zone that fell incomplete.
“It felt really good,” Spencer said. “At first, it was a little frustrating not getting those first couple (of receptions), but I finally got in. That was kind of a relief. I was happy I got into the end zone again.”
Like Buckeye fans across the nation, Spencer has seen his TD catch several times since Saturday. After the game, he got plenty of calls and texts from family and friends, including his high school coach and his mother, who had celebrated a birthday a day earlier.
“She said that was a good birthday present,” Spencer said.
Spencer’s season stats are not entirely eye-catching, but that can be misleading. Through the midway point of the regular season, the senior has caught just seven passes for 73 yards. Yet OSU head coach Urban Meyer and his assistant coaches have often praised Spencer this season, calling him one of the Buckeyes’ best players.
“He’s not a guy that lights up the stats sheet because they keep stats on catches and yards. In the film room, he lights the film up,” Smith said. “Opponents know who he is and think he’s a really good player. Maybe the media doesn’t because all they care about is touchdowns and catches. ... He’s one of better players I’ve ever coached. His respect is as high as it can be around here.”
“He’s a very selfless guy that never once complains openly. He just goes out, does his job as well as anybody in the conference, and I would argue as good as anybody in the country,” said OSU offensive coordinator Tom Herman, who added that Spencer “should have a pretty decent career at the next level.”
Spencer does not seem to mind not getting much attention from those outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. He said the entire wide receivers group has taken an unselfish approach to things this season.
“Everybody wants to do well. Everybody wants to score and everybody wants their name in the big lights. But I think it’s a testament to the relationships that we have with each other,” Spencer said. “We’re all so close. We treat ourselves like family. When one person is doing well, everybody is doing well. We really kind of expanded on that notion. We with the best upon everybody.
“If it’s not me, it’s Jalin (Marshall). If it’s not Jalin, it’s Dontre (Wilson). If it’s not Dontre, it’s Mike (Thomas). If it’s not Mike, it’s Devin (Smith). We all wish the best for everybody. Whenever somebody does well, we’re all happy for them.”