After missing the last three games, Henderson returned Saturday night, rushing for 162 yards and a touchdown in a 24-10 win over Wisconsin. He had not played since Sept. 23, when he lasted the entire game in a win over Notre Dame.
Ohio State never said what was hurting Henderson, who missed time last season because of a foot injury. But in a postgame interview on NBC, he blamed a “cheap shot” against the Fighting Irish.
“I took a cheap shot in the Notre Dame game,” Henderson told NBC, without elaborating. “God healed me, and I felt good.”
Henderson was a force against the Badgers (5-3) from the start. The Buckeyes (8-0) handed off to him on their first play, and he picked up 9 yards. Another time he picked up 30 yards, and another 25.
“You can just see the difference he makes when he’s out there, just the speed,” coach Ryan Day said. “I thought he ran hard. And he’s a weapon out of the backfield.”
The Buckeyes gained 181 yards rushing, after having 79 in their previous game, a 20-12 win over Penn State. Against the Badgers, Xavier Johnson gained 29 yards and Chip Trayanum 13.
Henderson’s touchdown came with 5:15 left in the fourth quarter, as he burst through the Badgers line and sped his way 33 yards to the end zone. And his impact didn’t come just from his carries. He also caught four passes from Kyle McCord for 45 yards.
In his last appearance, Henderson gained 104 yards with a touchdown against Notre Dame, giving him consecutive games over 100 yards rushing.
“We held him out last week. It was close,” Day said. “But we wanted to make sure we felt like he was 100%.”
Now the Buckeyes’ attention turns to the stretch run of November, starting with a game Saturday at Rutgers. It’s followed by a home game against Michigan State (Nov. 11) on NBC4, against Minnesota (Nov. 18) and at Michigan (Nov. 25).
But first comes the first College Football Playoff rankings. Those will be released Tuesday night.