Ohio State running back Mike Weber had considered surgery in August for a partially torn hamstring. That would have meant missing this season.
Weber, the standout from Detroit Cass Tech, did not spend much time on that prospect and instead opted to rest and hoped the injury would heal on its own. As he rested, J.K. Dobbins emerged as the Buckeyes best running back threat, starting all five games and averaging 114.6 rushing yards per game.
In a 56-0 rout of Rutgers last Saturday, Weber, playing in his third game of the season, had 10 carries for 44 yards and scored three touchdowns. In two other games, he had seven carries for 42 yards and no scores.
“I wanted to come back and help my team play this year,” Weber told Cleveland.com. “That’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to sit out this year.”
The Buckeyes have a full backfield, and Weber’s return to the rotation makes it even more impressive.
“(Weber) ran hard and we’ve got to knock the rust off him a little bit,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “He’s finally cleared, pain-free. For a while there, he had to fight through the scar tissue, because it was a significant tear right before training camp. Now it’s a go, and it’s going to be enjoyable to have those two checkers to work with.”
If Weber regains his form and if Dobbins maintains his, defenses will have their hands full.
“It’s going to be really scary if we get things going the way we want it to,” Weber told Landof10.com. “The one-two punch is what we see in the future. I think if we get everything together, it can be really scary.”
Rolling to the Heisman?
It was just another ho-hum day for Penn State running back Saquon Barkley in the Nittany Lions’ 45-14 win over Indiana. The junior opened the game with a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and to tie a nice bow on his game, he threw for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Barkley became the first Big Ten player since 1996 to throw for a touchdown and score on a kick return in the same game. He had 205 all-purpose yards against the Hoosiers.
“My mindset was just, your team did its job, you got to find a way in the end zone,” Barkley told the Centre Daily Times about his kick return. “I got to thank (offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead) for trusting me to make that pass and DaeSean (Hamilton) for making that catch.”
While his teammates keep describing Barkley’s on-field feats as those that mere mortals could not achieve, his name keeps popping up on the early Heisman Trophy lists.
Because he stays up-to-date via social media, he hasn’t missed the Heisman talk.
“You can’t hide, you can’t run away from it,” Barkley said. “But the best thing you can do as a person is not to get caught up in it. Obviously, I care about it because I’m competitive, and I want to be the best and I would love to try to win. But that’s not my focus. My focus is on my team. My focus is on the game.”
Northwestern entered its game against Wisconsin having given up seven sacks in three games. The Wildcats left Camp Randall Stadium allowing eight sacks, which equaled Wisconsin’s total through the three previous games.
Wisconsin senior linebacker Garret Dooley led the team with three sacks. The Badgers last had eight sacks in a game in 2001 against Penn State.
“It’s just something that we’ve emphasized over the last two weeks, getting after the quarterback,” Dooley told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Our coaches did a really good job of dialing up new pressures we haven’t done and those hit home, and everybody just did their job well and we were able to get after the quarterback.”
The Badgers are fourth nationally in total defense, yielding an average 247 yards per game, and are tied for fourth in team sacks with four per game.
Terps needed a break
Maryland has lost quarterbacks Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill to torn ligaments, and Max Bortenschlager took over to lead the Terps to a 31-24 victory against Minnesota. The Terps are 3-1 and each quarterback has led the team to a victory.
Bortenschlager was 18 of 28 for 154 yards and two touchdowns, and he also ran for a score.
“It was huge knowing that I was the guy,” Bortenschlager told the Baltimore Sun. “Going through the week, everyone around the facility just instilled a bunch of confidence in me. They always told me they had my back.”