Skull Session: Ohio State Dominates Rutgers Again, A Fake Punt Fiasco Goes Viral and Miyan Williams Joins Two Buckeye Greats in the Record Books

Jesse Mirco

Happy Michigan State week, Eleven Warriors readers.

Ohio State is 5-0 and on the go after defeating Rutgers, and I’m sure you all know what the best part about being 5-0 is…

Let’s have a good Monday, shall we?

Wait. One more quick thing. Check out this monster block from Cade Stover.

OK, have a good Monday. See you in the comment section.

CONSIST OF DOMINANCE. When Rutgers became a member institution in the Big Ten in 2014, then-commissioner Jim Delany cited the Scarlet Knights’ “athletic excellence” as one of his driving factors for adding the school.

Eight years later, the only thing I consider excellent about Rutgers is its ability to be a doormat for Ohio State every season. According to ESPN, the Buckeyes’ nine straight performances of at least 49 points against the Scarlet Knights represent the longest streak of any team against a single opponent since 1936.

Quite frankly, I don’t see a time in the near or distant future when Rutgers won’t be exactly what it is currently in the Big Ten. The school feels like it doesn’t belong in the conference, and that becomes clear when Ohio State bullies them around like a Group of Five team the Buckeyes would face in the non-conference schedule.

Even on Saturday, when many would say Ohio State’s offense – which was without TreVeyon Henderson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba – looked sluggish outside of Miyan Williams, the Buckeyes still won by 39 points. So, yeah, maybe Rutgers doesn’t belong, but the Scarlet Knights are here anyway. Have fun with a free win against them for the rest of time, Buckeye Nation.

FAKE PUNT FIASCO. I can’t bring up Ohio State’s 49-10 win over Rutgers without mentioning the Buckeyes’ fake punt that went viral on Saturday. There’s just too much that happened on and after this play not to talk about it.

With a little over 10 minutes remaining and Ohio State up 39 points, Jesse Mirco was set to punt the football to Rutgers. Instead, the rugby-style punter saw a lane open up in front of him and took off for a 22-yard gain. At the end of the run, Rutgers wide receiver Aaron Cruickshank delivered a late hit. That’s when all hell broke loose.

To be clear, it wasn’t a designed fake. The Scarlet Knights had eight players at the line of scrimmage and sent the house to block the punt. After Ohio State successfully defended the rush, Mirco recognized nobody stood between him and the first-down marker, so he tucked the ball under his shoulder and ran. That’s how his teammate, Noah Ruggles, sees it, at least.

After Cruickshank’s hit and the ensuing scrums, Greg Schiano sprinted across the field to confront Ryan Day and break up the scuffle. The coaches shared some choice words as things got heated in Columbus.

In his postgame press conference, Day said he has “no hard feelings” for Schiano and added that he has “unbelievable respect” for the former Buckeye assistant. Whether or not you believe that is up to you, as is what to make of the fake punt by Mirco.

I won’t go as far as to say that the Ohio State coaches approved of Mirco’s decision to fake the punt, but he must have done something right to earn the program’s special teams player of the week award.

FEED. MIYAN. How about Miyan Williams’ performance against Rutgers? The third-year running back took his 21 carries for 189 yards and five touchdowns on Saturday. His five scores tied him with Pete Johnson (vs. North Carolina, 1975) and Keith Byars (vs. Illinois, 1984) for Ohio State’s single-game rushing touchdown record.

“It’s a blessing to be up there with them names,” Williams said after the game. “Those are legends here, so it’s definitely a blessing.”

Williams is right about Johnson and Byars being Buckeye legends. Their names are read throughout the program record book on the football website. While they’re not Archie Griffin – who played with Johnson – or Eddie George, both running backs deserve a seat at the table of the greatest ball carriers in Ohio State history.

Let’s look at how those legends played in their five-touchdown games, starting first with Johnson’s performance against the Tar Heels:

Sept. 27, 1975: Ohio State 32 – North Carolina 7

Pete Johnson: 26 carries, 148 yards, 5 TDs

  • 2Q, 3:20 – Johnson 2-yard TD run
  • 2Q, 0:31 – Johnson 5-yard TD run
  • 3Q, 8:32 Johnson 1-yard TD run
  • 4Q, 13:01 – Johnson 2-yard TD run
  • 4Q, 8:48 Johnson 3-yard TD run

Fun fact: Griffin had 22 carries for 157 yards in this game and won his second Heisman Trophy at the end of the year.

Oct. 13, 1984: Ohio State 45 – Illinois 38

Keith Byars: 39 carries, 274 yards, 5 TDs

  • 2Q, 4:13 – Byars 16-yard TD run
  • 2Q, 0:23 – Byars 4-yard TD run
  • 3Q, 13:40 – Byars 1-yard TD run
  • 3Q, 8:57 – Byars 67-yard TD run
  • 4Q, 0:36 – Byars 3-yard TD run

Fun fact: Byars lost his shoe about halfway through his 67-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Despite that, he still sped past the Illinois defense and ran all the way to the end zone. As you can imagine, Ohio Stadium went crazy.

Williams was right. Johnson and Byars are Ohio State legends, and these two games from them are only a small part of their stories as Buckeyes. May Williams’ five-touchdown performance against Rutgers be only a small part of his (possibly legendary) story here, too.

A WISH GRANTED (KIND OF). If Ohio State’s season ended after the Rutgers game, Ryan Day would have his preseason expectations of a top-10 defense met by Jim Knowles and the Silver Bullets.

The Buckeyes have the No. 10 total defense (263.8 YPG) and No. 14 scoring defense (14.80 PPG) in the country through five games. Additionally, Ohio State has the No. 7 passing defense (153.4 YPG) in the NCAA this season.

When using conference-only statistics, Knowles’ unit ranks No. 2 in scoring defense, No. 1 passing defense and No. 8 rushing defense in the Big Ten after Ohio State’s wins over Wisconsin and Rutgers in the last two games.

The Buckeyes will face a spiraling Michigan State team this weekend, which should only improve their defensive standing nationally and in the Big Ten, as the Spartans’ offense has struggled to consistently produce in three consecutive losses.

With that said, Ohio State’s defense is well on its way to meeting Day’s expectations for a top-10 defense. However, it still has some work to do if it wants to meet Knowles’ expectations of a top-five unit. As for Andy Vance, we expected the Buckeye defense to suck 30% less than they did last season, so they’re doing fine in his book.

It’s time for Knowles, Tommy Eichenberg, Steele Chambers and the rest of the Buckeyes to keep this thing moving.

SONG OF THE DAY. Cigarette Daydreams by Cage the Elephant.

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