COLUMBUS – Ohio State has a talented group of running backs who have all shown they are capable of making big time plays for the Buckeyes. Each player brings something different to the game and using “running backs by committee” works for Ohio State.
But there’s no doubt that it was true freshman TreVeyon Henderson who had a coming out party on Saturday against Tulsa.
“Each running back is different but he’s somebody who can hit home runs and that’s special,” head coach Ryan Day said following the win. “He has that special talent and when you give it to him and he gets to the second level and makes a guy miss, it could be a home run and that’s a whole different dynamic.”
Henderson got his first career start against Tulsa. It had previously been redshirt freshman Miyan Williams as the starter, but Henderson found out just before the game that he would be “the guy.” Before this game, there was a lot of rotation between the backs.
Master Teague ran for 29 yards on six carries against Minnesota and did not tote the ball against Oregon.
Williams has had consistently solid performances, but did not play against Tulsa. He ran for 125 yards and a touchdown on 9 attempts against Minnesota and 77 yards on 14 carries with three receptions for 38 yards against Oregon.
Henderson had been settling into his role and developing as an Ohio State back. In the season opener against Minnesota, he had 15 yards on two attempts and one reception for 70 yards and a touchdown. Against Oregon, Henderson had 12 carries for 54 yards with a touchdown and one reception for 12 yards.
Little did he know, against Tulsa, he would have 24 carries for 277 yards and three touchdowns.
Henderson’s 277 rushing yards on 24 carries broke two-time Heisman Trophy winning Archie Griffin’s record of 239 yards on 27 carries against North Carolina set in 1972, setting a new freshman single game rushing record at Ohio State.
He also reached the third-most rushing yards in a single game in program history. Only Eddie George and Trey Sermon had more rushing yards in a game than Henderson with his performance against Tulsa.
“I wasn’t expecting something like this but like I said before I have a lot of big goals for myself and I reached one of those goals today,” Henderson said.
Breaking Ohio State rushing records along the way, Henderson did what the team needed when Ohio State couldn’t quite put up its usual passing numbers. Quarterback C.J. Stroud only threw for 185 yards and the Buckeyes’ top receiver, Garrett Wilson, had 7o of those yards.
Ohio State kept the ball on the ground with Henderson and finished with 323 total yards on the ground.
His game on Saturday featured some big plays including a 48-yards touchdown, a 52-yard touchdown, a 31-yard run, and a 54-yard run.
But Henderson wants this performance to just be the beginning of his legacy as an Ohio State running back.
“I’m excited right now but at the same time I gotta keep this going,” Henderson said. “I can’t just let this be a one time thing. I gotta stay hungry and go to practice this week coming up and do it again next Saturday.”