Master Teague Making Impact as Buckeyes’ Backup Running Back

Ohio State football Master Teague touchdown Nebraska

One of the most-pressing concerns for Ohio State head coach Ryan Day heading into this season was finding a running back who could help carry the load with junior starter JK Dobbins.

Battling through injuries in fall camp and therefore lacking practice reps, redshirt freshman running back Master Teague was on the outside looking in for that job — at least until the games got underway.

Finally healthy at the end of camp, Teague stated his case late, but made a lasting impression. By the end of the first game against Florida Atlantic, he had seemingly managed to claim a prominent role in the Buckeye offense as the primary backup to Dobbins.

He carried the ball eight times for 49 yards against the Owls, but has topped double-digit carries in every game since.

And when Teague is in the game he adds another dynamic to the Buckeye offense because of his skill set.

“I think he’s running hard and I think he’s downhill,” Day said this week. “When he sees it, he’s rolling, and so the different schemes that we’re doing I think fit his style really well. And he may not be pretty, but he’s pouring them in there. And he’s practicing, there was a time in the spring and in the preseason he wasn’t practicing, so it’s hard to get better.”

Teague’s growth can almost be seen in real-time as he looks more and more like a gigantic piece of this Ohio State offensive puzzle every single week. He has already had a good amount of production on the field, but what got him there in the first place was his ability to take care of the football.

“He’s a great change-up to JK,” Day said. “He’s different. So, I think that matters in a game. But I think Master has done a good job taking care of the ball, that’s the first thing. Because as hard as he runs and as big as he is and all those things, if you don’t take care of the ball you can’t play running back here at Ohio State. So he’s taken care of the football. He gave it up a couple of weeks ago but that was it. For the most part he’s hung on to the ball.”

As a backup to the nation’s third-leading rusher (130.8 ypg) in Dobbins, Teague ranks ninth in the Big Ten in rushing, averaging 65.2 yards rushing per game on the season, with an impressive 6.3 yards-per-carry average.

When he comes into the game, he produces. As the Buckeyes’ biggest and fastest back, the possibilities have few limits.

“He’s a downhill runner. He runs hard, he’s big, he’s physical,” sophomore quarterback Justin Fields said of Teague. “He definitely creates. He’s a big, powerful running back. JK is a big powerful running back too, but we need another guy as well. So, I think Master opens up the running game. He’s fast, he’s elusive, he can really run through guys so I think he definitely opens up the offense.”

Fields isn’t surprised by this production from either of his running backs. He claims that he sees it every day in practice.

“Seeing those [runs] from JK and Master is really not a surprise at all,” Fields said. “We see that often.”

The seamless nature between Dobbins and Teague has the Buckeyes leading the Big Ten in rushing so far this season, averaging 281.6 yards per game. Interestingly, Teague is only 57 yards behind Dobbins’ yardage pace from last year, but he’s done it in 52 carries, while Dobbins toted it 92 times over the first five games last season.

Teague’s success has not been unnoticed by the coaching staff as he continues to reach new career highs each week. He may only be scratching the surface at this point, but he is still very much leaving a mark.

6 Responses

  1. You just gotta love the names of our players – The “Master” Teague – Okudah the Barracuda – Chase Urass Young…ok the last one was a reach but even the worst play on words here is better than that “Johnny Football” crap we had to put up with not that long ago. I am loving this season and very thankful to the coaches and players for playing with such desire and domination.

    By the time Master is moving on, TOSU will have acquired and developed the next great one – ready to step in. I am confidant the coaches have a plan. Bijan who? Kenmore?

  2. The best thing about Teague, along with being the best back on the team – is JK Dobbins had to step up his game to keep his job.

  3. Teague will be crucial to this offense when it ends up in a four quarter game.

  4. The “Master” has been running hard. He gets to the hole on time and just rumbles on knocking defenders down like tenpins. Let’s not forget that the OL performance has been great and their work has been made easier by the diversified offense. It is a team game! Let’s keep it rolling against MSU.

  5. He is exactly the kind of player you want on your team. Waited for his shot. Overcame some early ball security issues. Makes the most of his opportunities. He is a quality player.

  6. Teague is another weapon in OSU’s diversified attack. Not only does he give JK a rest, but his bruising style and power is another dimension that D’s have to deal with. Should OSU find itself in the 4th quarter when they need to wind the clock down, he’s the man.

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