Heading into Saturday night’s game at Indiana, Ohio State senior tight end Jeremy Ruckert had just 11 catches for 139 yards and one touchdown on the season. But rather than get frustrated with his lack of involvement in the Buckeyes’ explosive passing game, Ruckert kept his head down and made his presence felt as a blocker.
“We have so many weapons, and that’s a great thing to have. But at the same time, guys have to be unselfish,” head coach Ryan Day said after the game. “That’s part of the game, and he’s done a lot of the dirty work blocking inside.
“There’s times where the ball hasn’t come his way, but when you stay positive and stay at it, things work out. We talked this week about, ‘What are you willing to sacrifice to be great and make this run?’ Sometimes, it means sacrificing touches. But eventually it’s going to come back to you, and it did for Jeremy tonight.”
Ruckert caught five passes for 47 yards and two touchdowns in the 54-7 win over the Hoosiers, showing just how diverse the Buckeyes’ passing attack can be – especially when he lines up alongside wide receivers Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
“Like I’ve always said since I’ve been here, some days it’s in the run game and some days it’s in the pass game,” Ruckert said. “Whatever it is, just being able to make plays when your name is called (is key).
“Some days the game plan is different than others. I think that’s the biggest thing going forward is just being able to rely on each other and play after play just knowing that whoever is the play is going to, we have confidence that they’re going to make the play.”
The two scores tied Ruckert’s career high for a single game, set in the 2019 season opener against Florida Atlantic and since matched in last year's win at Penn State and the Sugar Bowl victory over Clemson.
“He’s a great tight end,” quarterback C.J. Stroud said of Ruckert. “(He has) great body language and great routes, and today was his day to ball. I’m happy for him.”
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