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Why Marshon Lattimore's Pick Six Was Malik Hooker's Favorite Play
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — You can't blame a defensive back when he singles out a pick six as his favorite play of any particular game, as Ohio State safety Malik Hooker did following the Buckeyes' 48-3 win over Tulsa.

In that game, Hooker stepped in front of a first-down pass from quarterback Dane Evans late in the second quarter and skated untouched into the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown. It was Hooker's third interception of the season and a tremendous play, but it wasn't his favorite play of the day.

No, that goes to the pick six by cornerback Marshon Lattimore, which happened only a couple of minutes after Hooker's interception return for a touchdown.

In the pouring rain, Evans threw an errant pass in the final seconds of the second quarter, and it hit Lattimore right in the numbers. Lattimore then returned the interception 40 yards for a touchdown, giving Ohio State some legitimate breathing room by making it 20-3 at the half.

During Lattimore's return his teammates turned and ran with him, looking for potential tacklers to block. For Hooker, that ended up being the biggest man on the field.

Tulsa left guard Tyler Bowling — all 6-foot-6 and 325 pounds of him — was in front of Hooker and a straight line to the end zone. Hooker didn't slow down for even a tick. He had Lattimore right behind him and he was going to do whatever it took to get his teammate into the end zone.

Lattimore ended up veering off of Hooker, but Hooker didn't know that. All he knew was getting Lattimore into the end zone was going to make the previous two years worth the struggle and disappointment.

"Marshon, he has gone through a lot since he’s been here," Hooker told The-Ozone. "So when he got that pick I just felt like I needed to make the best of it for him. I’ve seen him go through a lot of adversity since he stepped on campus. A lot of injuries and disappointment in himself, so when he made the pick I was just proud of him because of all of the stuff he had been through."

Lattimore's first two years at Ohio State were shortchanged due to hamstring injuries, but now that he is finally healthy he is showing exactly what he is capable of. He also knows that he has his teammates to rely on when he needs a little bit of help.

"Yeah, big block," Lattimore said of Hooker's high-speed pancake. "He’s always got my back. Me and him, we have been tight since we first got here. We are in the same class. Yeah, that’s my dude. I told him I love seeing that people have got my back. I love that teamwork."

And even though it was somebody else going into the end zone instead of himself, Hooker loved it as well.

"Just that play overall I feel like it’s better than anything I do because I love to see other people happy instead of myself," he said.

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