COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State easily disposed of Rutgers on Saturday, winning the homecoming contest 49-10 behind five touchdowns from running back Miyan Williams, a stifling defense, and a quietly improving offensive line.
Here is more on those subjects:
Williams Runs Into Record Book
With starter TreVeyon Henderson unable to go, Williams took on the bulk of the responsibility in the Buckeyes ground game. All he did was roll up 189 yards and a record-tying five touchdowns, including a 70-yard burst up the middle in the third quarter. Williams put his name alongside greats Pete Johnson and Keith Byars, the only other Buckeyes runners to find the end zone five times in a game.
“Miyan was running hard today,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “You know, he turns a 3-yard run into a 5-yard. He just keeps us on schedule. And it was tough down there in the red zone. (Rutgers) kind of dug in a few times. Miyan had a really good day for us.”
Williams, a 5-9, 225-pounder with uncanny balance and deceptive quickness to bust runs to the outside, did it all for Ohio State – four short scoring runs (2, 1, 1, 2) and the 70-yarder that caught Rutgers crashing down the line, and the hole was there. When Williams wasn’t scoring he was moving the chains, as four of his runs picked up first downs and extended drives.
Usually a complement to Henderson, Williams showed that he could be the mainstay if called upon.
Defense Continues To Improve
Ohio State entered the game allowing 16 points per contest to opponents, a number that will decrease after the 10 scored by Rutgers.
Though the Scarlet Knights have been offensively challenged for much of the season, it was still impressive that Ohio State was able to hold them to just 3.34 yards per play. Rutgers longest gain of the day was 14 yards, and managed just 187 yards of total offense (two fewer than Williams rushing total) on the afternoon.
“We didn’t do enough things right in the end to be in the game,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said.
There were a few anxious moments early as Rutgers appeared to have some holes to run through – holes that last year would have been open for big gains against an Ohio State defense that was often misaligned and took poor angles.
This year’s group plays assignment football and finishes tackles, which is why teams have had trouble finishing drives and putting up points.
A week after linebacker Tommy Eichenberg put up 14 tackles, running mate Steele Chambers got into the act with 11 stops against the Scarlet Knights, including a pair of tackles for loss, an interception and a quarterback hurry. Eichenberg had another strong game, finishing with nine stops.
Lining ‘Em And Knocking ‘Em Down
Rutgers tried a few tricks defensively to throw Ohio State off schedule, including delayed blitzes and stunting up front.
That might work against some teams, but against a veteran Buckeyes offensive line it had little success.
Tackles Paris Johnson Jr and Dawand Jones came into the season with All-America credentials and have played up to it, while veteran center Luke Wypler has emerged as one of the best in the conference. There were a number of plays where Wypler showed his quickness and agility by pulling to the outside on runs by Williams. Guards Donovan Jackson and Matthew Jones have shown flashes and appear to be improving.
“That is a position where you have to bring it every week,” Day said. “We are seeing things there we think we can grow upon.”
The holes for the backs have usually been big enough to drive a truck through, and quarterback CJ Stroud has stayed largely upright due to the ability of his protectors.
First-year offensive line coach Justin Frye has changed protections from a year ago, using more power than finesse. It’s paying off as OSU is averaging over 6 yards per carry out of the backfield and just three sacks in five games.
“Justin Frye has done a fabulous job,” running backs coach Tony Alford said. “He’s done an outstanding job with the offensive line.”
Day believes the line sets the tone for the offense on a weekly basis, and he hopes that continues.