Ohio State running back Mike Weber is expected to be available when No. 4 Ohio State plays at No. 10 Penn State on Saturday night.
But Weber sure didn’t look the part as he left the field, limping slightly, after a 49-6 victory over Tulane on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. Coach Urban Meyer provided an updated afterward.
Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
“Mike Weber has a little strain on his foot, and he should be fine for next week,” Meyer said.
It appeared to be a little more serious than that, though, after the running back’s right foot was rolled up on by a Tulane defender just as he crossed out of bounds at the end of a 5-yard run during the second quarter.
Weber was administered to in the Tulane bench area, then limped slightly back across the field, and was the last Buckeye to leave the field at halftime, a towel over his head, carrying his helmet.
It was not a day for running anyway for the Buckeyes, who were limited to 151 yards rushing on 38 carries. Starter J.K. Dobbins led with just 55 yards on 11 carries. The Green Wave loaded the tackle box, daring the Buckeyes to throw against a lot of man-to-man coverage, and Dwayne Haskins Jr. responded, hitting 21 of 24 passes for 304 yards and five touchdowns, all in the first half.
The pick that wasn’t
Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah made a running interception down the right sideline in the second quarter, only to have it nullified by an offsides call against the Buckeyes. It turned out to be a drive-sustaining penalty that the Green Wave converted for their only touchdown.
“I just like, ‘Dang,’" Okudah said. “But there will be more opportunities to get interceptions if I keep doing my job.”
What turned out to be a double-edge cut for Okudah was that five plays later he gave up a 38-yard catch to Terren Encalade that gave Tulane a first down at the 1-yard line.
“That’s the series I wished we had back,” Okudah said, “because I feel like after the interception (that was nullified), I followed up by giving them a catch. As cornerbacks, you don’t want to allow any catches.”
After a mostly nightmarish game last week against TCU, Austin Mack was determined to bounce back this week.
“Obviously, I was very shocked,” Mack said about dropping four passes against the Horned Frogs. “I don’t even know how to explain it. I was very disappointed with myself. (I asked myself), how could I move forward? How could I be a better player and make sure it doesn’t happen again, especially in big games?”
Tulane wasn’t exactly a big game, but it did serve as a confidence boost for Mack. The junior caught three passes for 32 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown pass from Dwayne Haskins Jr. late in the first half.
“I literally just watched film on Sunday, put it behind me and said it’s time to take the next step,” Mack said. “I know I’m a great player, and I know I can do better than I performed.
“There’s a lot of football left this season. It was only Game 3. There are a lot more big games to come.”
Victor gets involved
It’s a belief around Ohio State that no Buckeye receiver has more potential than Binjimen Victor. But the lanky junior had gotten off to a slow start statistically this season, even it hasn’t been all his fault. Last weekend, he had a sure touchdown if Dwayne Haskins Jr. hadn’t underthrown him.
He entered the game with only three catches for 31 yards, all against Rutgers. On Saturday, he scored his first touchdown of the season on a 31-yard pass to make it 28-6 midway through the second quarter.
“I owed Ben one from last week,” Haskins said. “I had to get a ball to Ben today, and I’m glad he got that catch. It’s a confidence-booster.
“He makes a lot of plays in practice. So to be able to have him make a play today and be ready for Penn State … we definitely need Ben.”
From the other sideline
Tulane coach Willie Fritz took some consolation that his starters were able to play Ohio State’s backups to a near stalemate in the second half. Neither team scored in the final two quarters until Buckeye quarterback Tate Martell scored with a minute left.
“I told our guys we played with their twos,” Fritz said. “Their ones was another matter. That’s a good football team, without any question.
“They’re a very well-coached football team, and they have great, great, great athletes. They’re tuned up and ready to go. I’m sure having coach (Meyer) back might have motivated them. I know they were on fire early.”
Fritz was particularly impressed with Haskins.
“He’s a very poised quarterback,” he said. “Watching him on tape, you would have thought he was a third-year starter. He handles himself very well out there. He’s got a big arm and good touch. He’s hard to bring down. He’s a big guy.”