Fields says sore back won't hold him back

Bill Rabinowitz
Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) scores a rushing touchdown against Wisconsin Badgers safety Eric Burrell (25) during the 3rd quarter of their game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on October 26, 2019. [Kyle Robertson/Dispatch]

Like most quarterbacks, Justin Fields would prefer to throw than run.

But Fields is gifted as a runner and passer, and sometimes Ohio State needs him to do both. That was the case against Wisconsin.

Last week during game preparations, coach Ryan Day told the sophomore he would probably need to run more than usual against the Badgers’ top-ranked defense.

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Fields ran 13 times, including a 10-yard touchdown that answered Wisconsin’s only score in the third quarter. Fields took a big hit on that score and had to go into the medical tent.

“My back's kind of sore,” Fields said Tuesday, “but I think I should be good in a few days so nothing really major.”

He said he had no issue with being used as a runner. The Buckeyes used Fields carefully in the run game because of the lack of depth at quarterback.

“My attitude for every game really is just to do whatever I need to help the team win,” Fields said. “So whether it's run 100 times a game, throw the ball 100 times a game — whatever the team needs me to do to win.”

Day said he checked in with Fields during the game to make sure his back was OK.

“He said, ‘I’ll be fine. I’m hurting, but I’ll be all right,’” Day said.

Day is still learning about Fields, who arrived only in January. He continues to be more and more impressed.

“As you start to have more experience with a quarterback, you have to be able to trust him, and he's tough,” Day said. “He's gritty. … The more I'm around him, the more I really respect how tough he is.

Fuller finalist for

national award

Safety Jordan Fuller was named Wednesday one of 12 finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is awarded to the top scholar-athlete based on academics, football performance and “exemplary leadership.”

Fuller has a 3.6 grade-point average as a business major. He and the other finalists will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and will go to New York for the National Football Foundation awards dinner on Dec. 10. The winner’s scholarship will be upgraded to $25,000.

Fuller is Ohio State’s 22nd finalist for the Campbell Trophy. Bobby Hoying won it in 1995, as did Craig Krenzel in 2003.

Fuller is a two-time captain and was a first-team Academic All-American last year. He also serves on the executive board of Redefining Athletic Standards, a campus organization that connects African American athletes and students on campus.

“The entire Ohio State football program is extremely proud of Jordan and for his family,” Day said. “He is a young man who has distinguished himself athletically, academically and leadership-wise.”

Wilson makes push for punt returns

Ohio State has used Demario McCall, K.J. Hill and Garrett Wilson as punt returners this season. Wilson, a freshman receiver, had a nifty 23-yard return against Wisconsin. He also had a 52-yarder against Miami University.

Look for him to get more chances.

“I think when you look at what he's done and the last few returns, he's making a strong move to be the starter,” Day said.


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