Easy Like Saturday Afternoon
Ohio State ran for 335 yards against Michigan State on Saturday. That was about 248 yards more than the Spartans had given up on average this season. The Buckeyes hit home runs, hit doubles, triples, and singles. They basically hit for the cycle against MSU, averaging 8 yards per carry.
They made it look easy, but it wasn’t.
“I take my hat off to those guys because that is a very good team,” said left tackle Jamarco Jones. “They held a couple of teams under 50 yards rushing this year. But we just had a good game plan. The offensive line, we have confidence in ourselves and we know what we can do. We just went out and executed our coaches’ game plan today. We knew we had to be physical because every game with them is a dogfight, especially in their front seven. But we were able to come out and execute.”
Redshirt junior offensive lineman Demetrius Knox has had an opportunity to win a starting job each of the last two seasons, and each time a younger player has swooped in out of the blue to earn the spot. In 2016, it was true freshman Michael Jordan at left guard, and this year it was redshirt sophomore tackle Branden Bowen moving over and winning the right guard spot.
At that point, Knox — who came into Ohio State as a blue-chip prospect — was looking like it was just never going to happen for him. But then Bowen went down with a broken leg and Knox was inserted into the lineup. He has played well in the handful of games since Bowen’s injury, and was a very big part of the Buckeyes’ performance Saturday against Michigan State.
What does that say about Knox?
“I don’t think it says so much about me as opposed to the program,” he said after the game. “We’ve got top-5 recruiting classes every year. Everybody’s good. This is Ohio State. We preach next man up. So my number got called. I was the next man up. I just tried to fill in as best I could.”
Leading into a big game like the Buckeyes were last week, the last thing you want to have to deal with is injuries to starters. Unfortunately, that was the situation that Urban Meyer found himself in. With starting linebackers Dante Booker and Jerome Baker suffering undisclosed injuries and then being ruled out during the week, Meyer’s anxiety levels began to rise.
“That was awful,” Meyer said after the game. “Once again, two of your better players, or two guys that are starters go down. And that was — had someone check with me on Thursday morning, that was not a good deal.”
Fortunately for the Buckeyes, replacements Tuf Borland and Malik Harrison have played plenty this season, which made the transition easier for everyone involved.
“I thought Coach Davis and Coach Schiano did a great job getting those guys ready today,” Meyer said. “Worley played a brand-new position today. But that’s a leader, a captain, a guy that’s been around a while. That’s what you would expect out of a guy like that.”
Given how well Worley played outside, could he stay out there?
“Those are things we’ll look at,” he said.
Weber on the Loose
As a redshirt freshman last season, Mike Weber had a goal of 2,000 yards rushing and was disappointed when he didn’t get there. He came into this season with expectations as well, but a hamstring injury in fall camp crushed those expectations before they could ever begin.
On Saturday, however, Weber showed everyone that he was no longer suffering any ill effects from a bothersome injury that cost him production and also his job. He averaged nearly 20 yards per carry against Michigan State and looked like the fastest player on the field.
How did it feel?
“It felt good,” he said. “I’ve been through a lot with the injury. It’s been nagging me all season and I’m finally 100% healthy and I got to show that today.”
Obviously, Weber is disappointed in his start, but he likes the way things are trending right now for the Buckeye running game.
“Unfortunately, I did get hurt,” he said. “It was something that I worked really hard in the offseason to get to this point. I just wish it could have happened sooner. It is what it is, but we’re going to finish up this season hard and see what happens.”