With sophomore TreVeyon Henderson sidelined by a lingering foot issue, redshirt sophomore running back Miyan Williams rushed for a career-high 189 yards and five touchdowns in Ohio State’s 49-10 win over Rutgers on Saturday afternoon.
The five scores tied him with former running backs Pete Johnson and Keith Byars for the most rushing touchdowns in a game in school history, as Johnson set the mark in a 32-7 victory over North Carolina in 1975 and Byars later matched it in a 45-38 win over Illinois in 1984.
“They didn’t tell me until after I scored the last one. That’s when I found out (about the record),” Williams said after the game. “It’s just a blessing just to be up there with those names. Those (guys) are legends here, so it’s definitely a blessing.”
Williams also didn’t find out he was starting until right before kickoff, but made the most of the opportunity nonetheless. His 32-yard run on the Buckeyes’ first possession set up his two-yard score just two plays later to tie the game at 7 apiece, while his one-yard run on the following drive put them ahead for good.
Later, Ohio State took a 28-7 lead into halftime when Williams finished off a 10-play, 39-yard drive with another one-yard run. He then scored his fourth touchdown of the afternoon on the Buckeyes’ second play of the third quarter, as he raced 70 yards untouched up the middle to make it 35-10.
Williams finally powered his way into the end zone for the fifth time just 10 seconds into the fourth quarter, following his offensive line from two yards out to reach the final score. That’s when freshman Dallan Hayden came on in relief, though fans in attendance were hoping he'd have one more drive in him to break the record.
“It says a lot about the way he was running, especially in the red zone,” head coach Ryan Day said. “I think our red zone numbers are really good right now, and a big part of that is our offensive line and the way we’re running the football.
“Miyan was running really hard today and finished a bunch of runs. He turns a three-yard run into five, keeps us on schedule and it was tough down there in the red zone. They kind of dug in a few times, but Miyan had a really good day for us.”
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That said, this wasn’t the first time that Williams found this much success on the ground, as he rushed for 430 yards and six touchdowns in Cincinnati Winton Woods’ 49-42 playoff win over Lewis Center (Ohio) Olentangy during his junior year of high school in 2018.
But for him to do it at this level – something Williams said he never would have imagined – and when Ohio State was missing its other start running back, it should give Williams and his teammates confidence in his ability to carry the Buckeyes when called upon.
“It’s really inspiring to see him have a good game like that,” redshirt sophomore quarterback C.J. Stroud said. “All the stuff he’s been through, all the stuff he’s still going through to this day, all the work he puts in and just how focused he remains, so it’s kind of cool to see his hard work pay off.”
Williams has now rushed for 290 yards and seven touchdowns in the last two games, which followed the death of his grandmother, who he said played a huge role in his success, both on and off the field.
“I just felt like she was with me today,” said Williams, who blows a kiss and points to the sky in her honor after each touchdown. “She’s just up there yelling and working with me.”
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