Buckeye running game in solid hands
5 on 1. No problem. (Adam Cairns, Dispatch)
There isn’t much to take out of Saturday’s 56-0 thrashing in West Lafayette. Forget about calling that one at halftime, that one could’ve been called at the end of the first quarter. Ohio State won the game before the offense even stepped on the field. And it was all down hill from there.
One of the few things you can gather in games like this is a team’s mental makeup. Urban Meyer apparently had to give his team a kick-in-the-pants pre-game speech after seeing a disinterested look in his players’ eyes. And you saw how OSU took care of business against an inferior opponent. Another thing is getting a solid look at guys who don’t play a whole lot.
And of those guys that don’t play a lot, there’s no one I like watching more than freshman Ezekiel Elliot.
The kid from St. Louis hasn’t gotten a lot of game time. But in his biggest opportunity against FCS opponent Florida A&M he dominated for 162 yards and 2 TDs while averaging over 11 per carry. And after carrying the ball just three times in the previous four games, he was ready to go against Purdue.
I understand he hasn’t gotten his time against stifling teams, but how can we fault him for that? When he’s gotten out there he’s made the most of it. And my little prediction machine that lives way down inside tells me that I should be going nuts about what this guy will be next year.
I’ll say it.
Ezekiel Elliot. 1,000 yard rusher in 2014.
Remember how many running backs we were talking about coming into this season? Carlos Hyde, Jordan Hall, Rod Smith, Dontre Wilson, Warren Ball, Bri’onte Dunn and Elliot were all in the mix.
Not only does he have track speed (he starred in it in HS) but he’s not afraid of fierce contact either. He gladly went head-on with a Boilermaker at the goal line on his TD reception. He shows the ability to run inside or out, he’s built like Adrian Peterson (6-0, 218) and is a reliable pass catcher out of the back field. I think the attention he’s getting is a clear sign of his workload to come once Hyde and Hall are gone. And I have no fear that the rushing attack will be as strong as ever when this guy takes over.
Throw in Dontre Wilson and his unique skill set and you could have two outstanding sophomore backs next year.
I can’t wait to see it unfold. But in the meantime I'm having a hell of a time watching Carlos Hyde truck through the Big Ten.