COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State won big on Saturday but may have lost another star running back to an injury.
Miyan Williams has been carrying the running game with TreVeyon Henderson injured and already had 147 yards and a touchdown when he had to be carted to the locker room after being tackled late in the first half of No. 2 Ohio State’s 56-14 rout of Indiana.
He returned to the sideline in the second half in street clothes with crutches.
“We’ll have to see, but it didn’t look like, based on what we saw here in the locker room, that it was going to be something that was going to be really long term,” coach Ryan Day said. “We’ll see how he feels overnight, and then you’re hoping to get (Henderson) back for next week.”
Freshman Dallan Hayden stepped into the No. 1 back role in the second half and carried 19 times for 102 yards and touchdown. Receiver Xavier Johnson lined up as a back and ripped off a 71-yard touchdown on his only carry.
Day said both are possibilities if Henderson and Williams can’t go next week, but the Buckeyes will be at a disadvantage if both experienced backs are still on the shelf for the showdown with No. 3 Michigan in two weeks.
C.J. Stroud threw five touchdown passes as the Buckeyes (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten, No. 2 CFP) got back on track after struggling to beat Northwestern on a windy day the previous week. They’d already piled up 377 yards by the time Williams left the game and finished with 662.
Stroud, who passed for a season-low 76 yards against Northwestern, was 17 for 28 for 297 yards against the Hoosiers (3-7, 1-6), throwing two touchdown passes to tight end Cade Stover and one each to Emeka Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Kamryn Babb.
Indiana’s starting quarterback Connor Bazelak, who returned after sitting out last week’s loss to Penn State with an injury, didn’t last long. After the Hoosiers went three-and-out on their first three possessions, Bazelak was benched in favor of Dexter Williams II, who threw for two touchdowns, their only scores of the day.
“I didn’t think we fit into what’s close to being acceptable,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said.
Indiana: The Hoosiers’ disappointing season continues with another rout. Allen committed to Bazelak as the starting QB early in the week, but Williams might be his No. 1 guy now.
Ohio State: The health of the two star running backs will be the big issue going forward as the Buckeyes travel to Maryland next week and host Michigan on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Given how little the program will disclose about injuries, it may remain murky. On the bright side, there’s nothing wrong with the Buckeyes’ passing game.
BIG ONE FOR BABB
The biggest celebration of the afternoon for the Buckeyes came in the fourth quarter when Stroud hooked up with Babb for an 8-yard touchdown, the first in the collegiate career of the fifth-year receiver.
Babb has endured four knee surgeries since 2017. He was so respected that his teammates voted him a captain in 2021 even though he was unable to play.
It was Stroud who went to Day late in the game and suggested they try to get Babb his first TD.
“I didn’t want to mess it up. I was nervous,” Stroud said. “I saw the coverage that we got, and I saw the leverage that we had on the corner, and I was like, ‘Oh man, I better not mess this up for my guy.”
Babb said: “I don’t know if words can really describe it, but if I had to say a word it’s ‘thankful.”
The Buckeyes should stay put.
Indiana: At Michigan State on Saturday.
Ohio State: At Maryland on Saturday.