Ohio State redshirt sophomore running back Miyan Williams rushed for a career-high 189 yards Saturday in the Buckeyes’ 49-10 win over Rutgers. His five rushing touchdowns tied the school record, previously only held by Pete Johnson in 1974 and Keith Byars in 1984.
Williams did his damage in a variety of ways, staying between the tackles at times, and following a convoy of blockers outside the hashmarks at other times.
When it was all said and done, Williams posted career numbers and added his name to the Ohio State record books.
“I never would have thought I would have had a game like this,” Williams said after the game. “I mean, it’s a blessing just to be up there with those names. Those are legends here, so yeah, it’s definitely a blessing.”
Miyan Williams carried the ball 21 times, scoring on runs of 2, 1, 1, 70, and 2 yards.
The 70-yarder wasn’t the longest of Williams’ career. That came last year in the season opener against Minnesota when he went 71 yards on the Buckeyes’ fifth play of the season. That play went to the right side and didn’t exactly go as designed. This time, however, everything went according to plan.
“When I got the ball, I knew the safety blitzed. So, when I made him miss, I knew there was nobody behind him,” Williams said. “When I broke, I was just seeing green grass and telling myself, ‘Don’t get caught.’ Once I was running, I didn’t feel like I was going to get caught, but it was just a thought in the back of my head.”
Before the season started, Williams revealed that part of his role on this Ohio State team would include being the team’s short-yardage back. After all, of OSU’s top two running backs, Williams isn’t “the fast one.” He’s simply the one who gets most of the yards available to him — and then a few more.
(Just imagine how long that 70-yarder would have been if Williams was faster.)
Currently, 26.6% of Williams’ rushes go for at least 10 yards. While it’s still early, that number would be the best for an Ohio State starting running back in over a decade. In 2013, the two-headed monster of Braxton Miller (25.7%) and Carlos Hyde (21.6%) churned out first downs like an assembly line.
Ohio State’s “fast running back” was a game-time scratch, as starter TreVeyon Henderson wasn’t quite healthy enough to play after a surprising tweak prior to the game.
Williams didn’t find out until the last minute that he was starting. When asked if the news gave him a jolt of energy, he revealed that he was more focused on what this meant for Henderson.
“It wasn’t a jolt of energy,” Williams said. “I looked him in his eyes and I told Trey, ‘I got you. I got you today.'”
The Buckeyes have been playing without their top receiver in Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and on Saturday without their top rusher, they got the best that Miyan Williams had to offer.
And this isn’t new news, but Williams’ best is plenty good enough for Ohio State.
“Twenty-one carries, 191 yards, five touchdowns, and the big one for 70 yards; that says a lot about the way he was running, especially in the red zone. I think our red zone numbers right now are really good and it’s a big part of the offensive line and the way we’re running the football,” head coach Ryan Day said after the game.
“I just think overall the tight ends, the wide receivers, everybody’s involved with this run game. But Miyan was running hard today and finished a bunch of runs in positive. He turns a three-yard run into five and keeps us on schedule. It was tough down there in the red zone. They kind of dug in a few times and we had to go for on the fourth down. But Miyan had a really good day for us.”