COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Miyan Williams found out right before the game that he would be Ohio State’s No. 1 running back Saturday because TreVeyon Henderson was out with an injury.
“I looked in his eyes, and I told Tre ‘I got you. I got you today,’” Williams said in describing the pregame interaction between the backs who normally split carries for the Buckeyes.
Williams carried the load, rushing for a career-high 189 yards and five touchdowns, as the Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) buried Rutgers 49-10.
The third-year back exploded for a 70-yard TD romp in the third quarter and also had four short scoring plunges.
A 2-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, his fifth of the game, tied an Ohio State record. He’s the first back to rush for five touchdowns in a game since Keith Byars in 1984. Pete Johnson also did it in 1974.
“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 stepped up with the best game of his Ohio State career on a day when quarterback C.J. Stroud wasn’t as sharp as usual. The Heisman Trophy favorite completed 13 of 22 passes for a career-low 154 yards with two touchdowns and an interception as the Rutgers defense keyed on taking away the pass.
Stroud said he wasn’t bothered.
“I think that we just want to win,” he said. ” If that means I don’t throw for a lot of yards, I don’t throw for a lot of touchdowns, I can’t really care less. I’m here to win.”
Rutgers jumped out a 7-0 lead after Ohio State’s Emeka Egbuka fumbled a punt return after the opening drive, setting up a 14-yard TD pass from Evan Simon to Sean Ryan. It was the first time the Buckeyes had trailed in a game since going down 3-0 early in the opener against Notre Dame.
Ohio State tied it on the next possession when Williams’ 32-yard rumble set up his 2-yard TD two plays later.
Stroud capitalized on a Rutgers turnover with his best pass of the afternoon, a dime that hit Julian Fleming in stride running down the middle for a 36-yard touchdown. Williams’ third TD gave Ohio State a 28-7 halftime lead.
Stroud threw an interception, his second of the season, early in the second half, but the Scarlet Knights (3-2, 0-2) could manage only a 35-yard Jude McAtamney field goal.
“We didn’t do enough things right in the end to be in the game,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said.
Rutgers: Scarlet Knights had decent defense at times, but not much else was clicking. Williams rushed for more yards (189) for Ohio State than the Scarlet Knights’ offense gained all afternoon (187).
“Just not our time yet,” Schiano said. “Now the word ‘yet’ is the operative word.”
Ohio State: Williams pounded away running and blocking for nearly every snap until he went to the bench with about 11 1/2 minutes left in the game. He showed he could be the bell cow of the explosive Buckeyes offense, whether he gets the chance again or not. Details of Henderson’s injury weren’t disclosed.
Tempers flared in the fourth quarter when Ohio State punter Jesse Mirco pulled the ball and ran for a first down with the Buckeyes up 39 points.
Mirco scurried out of bounds and was nailed late by Aron Cruickshank in front of the Ohio State bench. That riled up both teams, with Schiano coming clear across the field to jaw at Day, who jawed right back. After order was restored, Cruickshank was ejected, and Schiano and Day got off-setting unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.
After the game, Day insisted that he didn’t call the fake. Mirco decided to run on his own.
Both coaches downplayed the confrontation.
“One coach defending their side, one coach defending their (side). No hard feelings,” Day said. “I told him that after the game.”
The Buckeyes did what they were supposed to do against a weaker conference team. They likely will stay where they are.
LOTS OF POINTS
Ohio State has scored 49 or more points in nine straight games against Rutgers. That is the longest streak by any team against a single opponent since the Associated Press poll era began in 1936, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Rutgers: Hosts Nebraska next Saturday.
Ohio St: At Michigan State, the first road game of the season, next Saturday.