The Buckeyes put on quite a show in Saturday’s 56-14 win over Indiana, but the most meaningful thing that happened was a simple 8-yard out route by fifth-year senior wide receiver Kamryn Babb.
In the box score, it will just show up as OSU’s eighth and final score of the day. Even though it was a touchdown catch, it didn’t decide the outcome. It was just one catch. One score. No records were set.
But record books only tell the easy stories.
It may have been a nondescript touchdown in a 42-point game for the casual observer. For the not-so-casual observer, however, this was what everyone should have been waiting for. This is what should be celebrated.
It was the first catch of Babb’s Ohio State career and one that prayer, perseverance, and persistence made possible.
The Buckeyes scored eight touchdowns on Saturday, but it was Babb’s score that overshadowed all the others.
Babb missed three of his first four seasons as a Buckeye due to ACL injuries, and then suffered another setback in fall camp that kept him out of games until this weekend against the Hoosiers. Four total ACL tears, including one in high school that cost him a chunk of his senior season.
Nine months of rehab each time.
Three calendar years devoted just to getting back on the football field.
Coming back from injury three times just to have to go through it all again. The peaks and valleys would make most of us quit. And nobody would blame us.
But it’s no wonder that Babb made it back. It’s impossible to stop the kind of drive required to keep coming back like he has.
He had all of the permission a person could need to walk away from the game, but it’s impossible to walk away from your future when all you ever do is keep moving forward.
This was the first week he was fully cleared to get on the field, and in the fourth quarter he was back out there for the first time since the 2020 season.
Never before has a simple out route been everything but.
After the game, OSU head coach Ryan Day said quarterback CJ Stroud approached him in the fourth quarter to see if it was time to get Babb into the end zone. Day was happily amenable.
The Buckeyes got the coverage they wanted, and because of it, Stroud may have never thrown a more nerve-wracking pass.
This was something that Kam Babb had been working towards for so long, but it was also something his entire team wanted for him.
Babb is a Buckeye captain, which should tell you all you need to know about how his teammates feel about him. He also wears the coveted Block O jersey, which goes to the OSU player each year who exemplifies toughness, accountability, and high character, so that should tell you all you need to know about how his coaches feel about him.
When Babb caught that first pass and pulled it in, he first celebrated by falling to his knees in prayer. And in a move of team-wide respect, his teammates on the field at the time stood by and waited for him to finish before they embraced him.
And then the kept embracing him. Players ran from the sidelines to meet him on the field. They couldn’t wait for him to get to the sideline, so they didn’t.
There was so much commotion that Ohio State happily succumbed to a delay of game penalty.
When Babb finally did get to the sideline, however, he went through more hugs than a family reunion. Teammates lined up to congratulate him and share some words with him.
So many people on that sideline have seen him go through the absolute worst of times, but he always found a way to give anybody who needed it his very best.
Whatever it takes is whatever he’ll give, and then he’ll just keep giving it.
Even though he could have quit many times, perseverance isn’t a choice for Kam Babb because it is the only way to get where he’s going.
And where he’s going will be the best part of his story yet.
Kamryn Babb has shown us all that road blocks are temporary, and pain is just a reminder that the path is still waiting.
What we find along the way is everything we gave to get there.