Ezekiel Elliott has accomplished something few other Ohio State running backs have, a group so exclusive that two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin isn't even a member.

Ezekiel Elliott has accomplished something few other Ohio State running backs have, a group so exclusive that two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin isn't even a member.

When Elliott gained 274 yards on Saturday at Indiana, he tied Keith Byars for the second-best rushing game at Ohio State. Those two trail only Eddie George, who gained 314 yards against Illinois during his Heisman Trophy-winning season of 1995. By the way, Byars, who gained 274 against Illinois in 1984, was second in Heisman voting that year.

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"It's kind of unreal just thinking about it," Elliott said. "But I am just honored to be able to continue this running-back legacy at the Ohio State."

Elliott did set one Ohio State record against Indiana by gaining 243 yards just in the second half. That included touchdown runs of 75, 65 and 55 yards.

It continued a strong run that began during the 2014 postseason. He gained 220 yards against Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game, 230 against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and 246 against Oregon in the national championship game to finish the season with 1,878 yards.

His sophomore season put him short of George's 1,927 in 1995 but ahead of Byars' 1,764 in 1984. Plus, he has four 200-yard games, one short of George's OSU record.

In other words, Elliott is continuing the program's tradition of great running backs.

"Oh, no question about it," Byars said. "I like the way he plays. He runs hard every time he gets the ball, and that's what you want to see. He runs low to the ground, and when he breaks free, if he's even with a guy, he's leaving him. You never see him get run down. He catches the ball out of the backfield, he's more than willing to block. He has all the tools you're looking for in a great player."

The club Elliott is joining does have its dues, though, in the form of bumps and bruises.

"It hurts a lot, a lot of pain, just about everywhere," Elliott said of his Sundays and Mondays after a game, typical for a running back. "The biggest thing to get over the soreness is to get up and moving. That's the reason we practice every Sunday after a game, to get our body moving, get that (lactic) acid out, sit in an ice bath and get those treatments every day."

Coach Urban Meyer and football performance director Mickey Marotti have a system to monitor and protect those who endure more of an on-field grind than others. Elliott is all but hands-off on the practice field during the week.

"That's the most important thing, just recovering when you can during the week because on Saturday, there's going to be no holding back," Elliott said. "I'm going to give it my all. So I've just got to do what I can through the week to get back in tip-top shape."

What has set Elliott apart has been spectacular long runs during which he's seldom hit. That describes his three touchdown runs at Indiana, as well as an 85-yard run against Alabama.

Elliott has 10 runs of at least 54 yards, with nine coming in the past 10 games. He also had 10 straight games of at least 100 yards.

Leading the Big Ten with 729 yards rushing this season, Elliott often pays homage "to the guys that make it happen, the slobs," referring to the preferred nickname of the offensive line. But past the scrum, it's usually just him with maybe one defender to juke.

That raised the question: What's that feeling like once he finds the seam and bursts through?

"It's kind of being anxious - who's coming behind me, not getting caught," Elliott said, smiling. "Because you know if you get caught, once you get back to the sideline, you're going to hear from Coach Meyer."

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports

Elliott over 50

Ezekiel Elliott's 10 career runs of more than 50 yards:

57 vs. Florida A&M, 2013

65 for TD vs. Indiana, 2014

60 vs. Wisconsin, 2014

81 for TD vs. Wisconsin, 2014

54 vs. Alabama, 2015

85 for TD vs. Alabama, 2015

80 for TD vs. Virginia Tech, 2015

55 for TD vs. Indiana, 2015

65 for TD vs. Indiana, 2015

75 for TD vs. Indiana, 2015