Daniel Herron returns to Ohio State's backfield and - Boom - the Buckeyes play their best all-around game of the season and beat Illinois.
Herron's name never seems to come to mind first to college football observers when the subject is top-notch running backs. There always seem to be players who are bigger, stronger or faster than Herron. There certainly are players with louder personalities.
But there may not be a player in the nation who meant more to his team Saturday than Herron did to Ohio State. The senior from Warren had not played since last January's Sugar Bowl after two suspensions, but returned and ran for 114 yards and a touchdown in the Buckeyes' 17-7 victory over the Illini.
But as Ohio State interim coach Luke Fickell told ABC sideline reporter Heather Cox moments after the Buckeyes' ran out the clock in Champaign, Herron's influence isn't just felt on the field. The former Warren G. Harding High School star also provides leadership in the locker room and on the sideline.
The Buckeyes had been without Herron on Saturday for each of their first six games as the result of penalties related first to the memorabilia-for-cash scandal and then an incident in which the running back was overpaid for duties performed in a summer job.
Ohio State's leadership vacuum showed in its 3-3 start, including back-to-back losses to Michigan State and Nebraska the last two weeks. The players looked lost on the field at times against the Spartans and the Cornhuskers, just as they did against the Miami Hurricanes in their first loss of the season.
Earlier this week, Fickell said Herron would contribute, but added he wasn't sure how much. The Buckeyes' leading rusher in 2010 wasn't even listed on the team's two-deep chart this week.
But Herron contributed from the start and throughout the game as Ohio State returned to its roots - running the ball on all but four offensive plays - and beat previously unbeaten Illinois.
The Buckeyes' season isn't saved, but this was a much-needed victory for a team that was teetering on the edge of complete collapse. There is but one sure win - woeful Indiana, of course - on the rest of Ohio State's schedule, but a healthy, motivated Herron is a huge help.
There will be those who will always view Herron through the prism of those off-the-field incidents. But after watching him beginning with his school days at Mollenkopf Stadium and through five years in Columbus, trust me - Herron is not Terrelle Pryor.
If you watched the game Saturday and missed the mutual respect between Herron and his teammates, you weren't really watching. Pryor still talks about commiserating with the Buckeyes, but the words ring hollow and that's not only because they're coming from 2,000 miles away.