COLUMBUS — Urban Meyer wanted to put a restrictor plate on his offense late in Ohio State’s 76-0 rout of Florida A&M on Saturday.
But how could the Buckeyes coach tell his starved freshman running back to slow down? And would Ezekiel Elliott listen?
"I’ve been on the other end of [blowouts], so I tried to do the best we could," Meyer said. "You just run the ball every snap. Thing is, if you have depth, you tell a [player like] Ezekiel not to run hard, he’ll look at you like, ’I’m running hard. I have to get more carries.’"
Elliott did just that, knifing through the Rattlers time and again until he had compiled 162 rushing yards — 121 of which came in the third quarter. The St. Louis native pushed OSU ahead 62-0 with his first career touchdown run — a 16-yard dash — then added a 13-yard TD minutes later.
"It’s a different experience scoring touchdowns in high school," Elliott said. "There’s nothing like scoring a touchdown in the ’Shoe, getting across that pylon and seeing everyone jumping out of their seats screaming."
Elliott is vying to add his name to a deep rotation of running backs that grew even more crowded with the return of senior Carlos Hyde from a three-game suspension. Hyde, whose punishment stemmed from an alleged assault that did not result in charges, ran for 41 yards on five carries — including a pile-moving first-down push on fourth-and-1 — and caught a shovel pass from Kenny Guiton for a one-yard touchdown.
Hyde and senior Jordan Hall will likely get the bulk of the carries this season. But Elliott appears squarely in the fray among the second tier of backs, along with redshirt freshman Warren Ball and junior Rod Smith.
"We all came here for a reason," Elliott said. "That’s to play and win championships. We’re getting better every day by competing against each other."
WAIT CONTINUES: The Buckeyes continued to hold out heralded freshman receiver Jalin Marshall, sophomore wideout Michael Thomas, sophomore running back Bri’onte Dunn, and junior receiver Corey Smith.
"They’re on call," Meyer said. "They’re ready to go, but they won’t be used in mop-up time. We don’t really redshirt, but there are some guys that could be fine players down the road that I just didn’t want to burn a year to get them five or 10 plays."
RETURN TO FORM: Cornerback Bradley Roby appeared back to his old self after he was burned a handful of times at California.
Roby, who was suspended for the opener, had his first interception of the season — a dagger he returned 42 yards to the Rattlers’ 5-yard line that set up an OSU TD.
"I wouldn't call them struggles last week," he said. "[Cal] was a good team and made plays. I tried to do too much. I should have just stayed with fundamentals. It's part of the beginning of the season. Stuff like that happens early. It's all about what happens after that."
EXTRA POINTS: Ohio State freshman wideout James Clark was carted off with a leg injury early in the second half. No update was immediately available. ... OSU honored its 1973 Big Ten champion team which included Woodward graduate Jim Kregel, Central Catholic’s Mike Scannell, and Perrysburg's Dan Cutillo. It spent most of the season as No. 1, played to the famed 10-10 tie at Michigan, and throttled Southern California 42-21 in the Rose Bowl. OSU finished second to Notre Dame in the final rankings. "The memory that sticks with me the most is being in the locker room right after the Rose Bowl," defensive tackle Pete Cusick said. "I can still feel the elation and just sheer euphoria. That is why you go to Ohio State. Undefeated, a case for being national champions."
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