The freshman tight end missed out on a chance to make his initial catch a memorable one when he dropped what appeared to be a sure 47-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Zwick in the fourth quarter of OSU's win over Northwestern two weeks ago.
The 6-5, 235-pound Irizarry said he has tried not to dwell on the miscue. But it's been hard, he said.
"Every time I see it, it gets right back in there," Irizarry said. "The feelings come back. I have dropped some before, but nothing like this. I'm still working hard in practice, trying to get better. I'm just trying to catch my first one."
On the play, Irizarry got around his defender and was two steps in the clear when Zwick's pass arrived.
"I just misjudged it," he said. "I extended one arm because I thought it was overthrown. But it ended up being perfect."
Although he did not make the catch, Irizarry believes the play illustrates the added dimension he can bring to the offense.
"I feel even with that play, I was able to get around the corner and I was kind of open," he said. "I think on plays like that it's almost like we're able to utilize a secret weapon."
With Wisconsin gearing to stop OSU's running attack and contain its stellar receivers, the tight ends could find themselves in position to make several plays. A week ago, Penn State used the tight end with success against the Badgers. Last year, tight end Ben Hartsock caught what turned out to be the winning touchdown in OSU's 19-14 win over the Badgers.
Irizarry, one of the nation's most coveted tight end prospects a year ago out of Youngstown Ursuline, is hoping he can get into the box score sooner rather than later.
"Basically, I want to catch the ball if they throw it to me the next time," he said. "I know I just have to keep working hard."