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Pat Elflein Knew Winning TD Was Happening Before the Ball Was Ever Snapped
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — Don't call Ohio State's Pat Elflein a visionary or a soothsayer or a diviner. He's just a center. A center who occasionally possesses the ability to see the future.

In his five seasons as a Buckeye, Elflein has seen an awful lot. Mostly just in the present tense, however.

He was thrust into this game as a redshirt freshman in 2013 following an ejection of starter Marcus Hall. In 2014, he matured and played well enough to be named a First-Team All-B1G selection. Last year as a redshirt junior he earned Second-Team All-America accolades. This year he moved to center and has spent his time learning the lay of this offense like ground-penetrating radar through constant study and analysis.

As the center, he is the one making the calls at the line, telling his linemates what to do and where to go. He's basically the quarterback of the offense, aside from the actual quarterback, of course.

Elflein looks at the situation for every call when it comes in, as well as the defensive alignment, and then he puts the offensive line in the best position to succeed. On Curtis Samuel's game-winning 15-yard touchdown against Michigan on Saturday, he did just that.

In fact, once the call came in -- "29 Lead" -- and Elflein saw Michigan's alignment, he knew right then that the game was over.

Is he telepathic? No. He's telepatrick.

"I saw the defense and how it was set and I knew what play was called and I knew before we ran the play it was going in," he said after the game. "So it was just a crazy feeling. I’ve never felt anything like that. They stacked the other side of the formation and we ran to the left."

It was the perfect call at the perfect time against the perfect defense, and there were no doubts that Samuel was going to take this carry home.

But did Elflein really know the game was over before the ball was even snapped?

"Yes," right guard Billy Price said, confirming the ESP (Elflein Snap Premonition). "Pat did a lot of extra studying. He’s very, very well prepared as he goes into every single game. He made a call for us as a whole offensive line, when it’s one cohesive unit, and all of a sudden the next thing you know the receiver gets a block on the outside and Curtis is in the end zone."

Samuel's run won the game for the Buckeyes, and they can now tuck that instant classic safely in their bag of accomplishments. But Samuel was never touched on the play, and that comes down to blocking more than anything else.

That fact was not lost on Samuel, and that's the part that he'll remember most.

"Our O-line knew what we had to do," he said. "They went out there and threw some great blocks. I ran flat down the line, the defense over-pursued over the top, as soon as I cut it back there was nobody there, just the end zone and I had to go in there and score. It was great. I couldn’t wish for a better moment. I did not expect that to happen. It came. I wasn’t proud of my part, I was proud of the blocking of the guys up front and the receivers blocked for me."

Samuel was the one with the ball, and he knew where the play was going, but even he admitted that he didn't expect to score in the fashion that he did.

Who knows, maybe Pat Elflein just didn't want to spoil the surprise.

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