A 25-yard touchdown reception on a deep crossing route over the middle of the field on a pass by quarterback Terrelle Pryor allowed Washington to score the only touchdown Saturday in Ohio State's preseason jersey scrimmage. That score helped give the offense a 53-48 victory and the right to wear the coveted scarlet jerseys when the Buckeyes practice this fall.
New duds aside, Washington's touchdown reception was a key moment for the fifth-year senior. Nearing the end of his final preseason camp, the fifth-year senior wanted to make his mark in hopes of solidifying his standing as the Buckeyes' No. 3 wide receiver.
"It was very big, not only for myself but for the offense, too," Washington said. "It was a tight game, a close game. We needed those red jerseys."
The day was far from perfect for Washington, however. Drops, something that has seemingly always been a problem for Washington in his time at Ohio State, were an issue again. The Orchard Park, Mich., native dropped two passes during the scrimmage, but he did not get discouraged.
"After those drops I really didn't think about them anymore," Washington said. "I just told myself that I have to keep playing and make up for those."
Make up for those drops he did. Washington caught a Pryor bullet at the 8-yard line and never broke stride, going untouched into the end zone. The play bared a slight resemblance to his first-ever catch as a collegiate athlete, a 37-yard touchdown reception that saw him saw him catch a pass over the middle in stride and race for a score.
Unfortunately for Washington, highlights like that score against the Penguins have been few and far between. Take out that touchdown pass, and Washington has made only two other receptions for a total of 9 yards in his three-year OSU career. He saw his name on the depth chart sink during the past couple of seasons, but that started to change last season when Duron Carter was ruled ineligible for the Rose Bowl. Washington earned a start against Oregon in Pasadena, and while he didn't catch a pass, he did fare well with his blocking.
The momentum gained by that start continued into spring. Washington did not look out of place during practices and was arguably the most valuable player of the spring game after catching three passes, including a game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Washington entered the preseason camp as the projected No. 3 wide receiver, and while it is possible that Ohio State will not rely that heavily on a third wideout this season because of an array of potential weapons on offense, he still wants the spot behind DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher.
"Extremely bad," Washington said. "This is my last year, my last go-around. I have no other choice. I want it extremely bad."
Washington's teammates have also seen an improvement in his performance.
"I think Taurian is doing a good job," senior cornerback Chimdi Chekwa said. "I think he's always done a good job. I think he's smarter than what he used to be."
With the Buckeyes set to open their 2010 season Sept. 2 at Ohio Stadium against Marshall, soon Washington will have a chance to continue his moment into the regular season and make an important impact on the team for the first time since his freshman year.