Holmes Helps Save The Day

This could be the final year Santonio Holmes is in a Buckeye uniform, so enjoy it while it lasts. The junior wide receiver scored the go-ahead touchdown in OSU's 35-24 win over Michigan State and finished the day with 150 receiving yards. Holmes' sons and girlfriend were in attendance for the game and he was happy to put on a good show for them.

Santonio Holmes began the day with a heavy heart, but ended it as a star.

The junior wide receiver caught five passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns – including the go-ahead score – in Ohio State's 35-24 win over Michigan State on Saturday.

Holmes' sons – Santonio III, 3, and Nicori, 1, were in town for the game. However, Santonio III has been battling an illness lately, which made his father a worried man Saturday morning.

"One of my kids is sick right now and he's been feeling like that for the past two days," Holmes said. "It was kind of getting me down because there's not much I can do for him. I just had that on my mind going into the game today."

Holmes' touchdowns covered 51 and 46 yards. The final TD grab came with just 4:56 left in the game and gave the Buckeyes a 28-24 lead.

"We got good protection and we felt we could throw the ball deep," Holmes said. "From the way they've been playing and the way we scouted them, we felt we could make big plays and we did."

Holmes was able to recover from an early miscue. He muffed a kickoff in the first quarter, which led to seven quick points for the Spartans and a 10-0 lead.

"It was a very short kick and I was trying to yell at our back line that it was a short kick," Holmes explained. "I was expecting one of those guys to catch it because it dropped right over their head. It was a very long run for me to try and catch the ball and I just didn't get under it enough and kept my focus on the ball."

Winning a game in comeback fashion could be just what the Buckeyes needed to turn around their season. They showed good character by not melting under the pressure.

"No doubt," Holmes said. "Every time I came to the sidelines (OSU head coach Jim Tressel) looked at me in my eyes and said, ‘Get ready for the next series, anything can happen.' And that was definitely true today."

It was the second straight year that OSU escaped with a close win over the Spartans. Holmes has a lot of respect for the team from East Lansing.

"Those guys played their heart out, Michigan State," he said. "Their quarterback (Drew Stanton) led them down the field as much as possible and gave them an opportunity to score. I think our defense hung in there real tough today. Our offense had a lot of mistakes."

More for effect than anything else, Holmes dove across the goal line on his second touchdown.

"I think I could have walked in," he said with a grin.

And what an ideal time for Holmes to have a big game. His children – along with his girlfriend Nicole (the mother of both of his kids) don't get to see many games in person.

"Yeah, no doubt," Holmes said. "Every time I made a play I kind of looked up in the stands to make sure they were watching and enjoying themselves and having a good time. I didn't want them to have any doubt that I'm not doing my job and they would feel worse after the game."

Holmes knew exactly where his family was sitting in the Horseshoe.

"They were about three rows up," he said.

Holmes says Santonio III already understands football a little bit.

"I'm pretty sure he does because he's been watching previous games," Holmes said. "And one of the games I fumbled he called me and told me he saw the guy take the ball away from me. So, I'm pretty sure he knows."

On Holmes' go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, Troy Smith threw an absolute dart across the field. There is no question that Smith has a strong arm.

"That's a long throw," Holmes said. "We've been talking about that for the last few weeks that if a guy is going to play us 20 yards off, we've got to be able to make that throw. We depend on him and he was able to get us the ball."

And once Holmes got the ball, he was hard to take down. He racked up the yards after contact against MSU.

"The guys have been messing with me saying that I need to break tackles and get up field faster," Holmes said. "Coming back to the ball on the last touchdown, I knew the guy would probably take a bad angle trying to make the tackle from behind. Once I felt that he wasn't there I had a straight line to the end zone because of the route that Ted (Ginn) ran to attract the safety."

Holmes also reflected on his first TD of the game, which came at the 2:37 mark of the first and cut MSU's lead to 10-7.

"I think it was a busted coverage by those guys and I was just able to get over the top," Holmes said. "I think it was the same play that we ran for the second touchdown. It was busted coverage and I was just able to run free by myself."

Holmes was asked what the Buckeyes said to each other at halftime to try and get fired up.

"We really didn't say much," he said. "Coach (Jim) Bollman came in and told us that it was time to turn it up. We were right back in the game thanks to our special teams. We knew we just needed to come out and take care of business… We really didn't have much trouble moving the ball. The only thing that stopped us today was mistakes."

Holmes was impressed with the play of OSU sophomore tailback Antonio Pittman, who carried 18 times for 101 yards.

"He's not a guy who asks for much, he just goes out there and gets the job done," Holmes said. "Today he really got the job done, running the ball, blocking, doing what he needed to do. He just carried the team as he always does."

The same could be said for Holmes.


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