Ohio State running back Master Teague III happy with improvement, hungry for more.

Bill Rabinowitz
Buckeye Xtra
Master Teague III rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown against Penn State.

Even though it had been less than eight months since he suffered a torn Achilles tendon, Master Teague III expected more of himself in Ohio State’s opener.

The redshirt sophomore scored two touchdowns but gained only 41 yards in 12 carries against Nebraska. Given his injury, which was sustained on the first day of spring practice in March, it would have been more of a surprise if Teague had looked ultra-sharp.

Last week against Penn State, Teague looked more like himself. In 23 carries, he gained 110 yards – 1 short of his career high – with a touchdown.

“The first week, I wasn't too fond of my performance,” Teague said as the Buckeyes prepared for Rutgers on Saturday. “I'm more proud of what I did this past week, but still hungry to do even more.”

Teague isn’t the flashiest back and lacks the elusiveness and lateral quickness of predecessor J.K. Dobbins. But he is fast and strong, the type to wear down a defense and break a long run if there’s a big hole.“I think the way he ran on Saturday night is really his style – downhill, powerful, (to) keep us on schedule,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “You don't see a lot of negative plays, and that allows you to control the game. He did a good job of that, turning 4-yard runs into 5-yard runs and 6-yard runs.

“That's really good for us. I also think that has an effect on the defense.”

Teague has shared time with Oklahoma graduate transfer Trey Sermon, who also drew praise from Day. Sermon gained 56 yards in 13 carries against Penn State.

“I thought Trey ran better as well,” Day said. “I think it was an improvement, and we're always looking to get better. That's the mantra for everybody this week -- find a way to get better.”

Kicker situation up in air

Ohio State’s placekicker situation remains unsettled for the Rutgers game.

Day said that senior Blake Haubeil is day-to-day after injuring his groin during pregame warmups against Penn State. Day indicated that it could be close to game time before a decision is made about Haubeil or his replacement.

Haubeil made the extra points after the Buckeyes’ early two touchdowns but then missed a 20-yard field goal.

Walk-on Dominic DiMaccio, who handled kickoffs Saturday, kicked the other extra points and a field goal but also missed a chip-shot field goal.

If Haubeil isn’t healthy, another possibility could be freshman Jake Seibert, a highly touted freshman kicker who on Wednesday earned the removal of his black helmet stripe, signifying full-fledged status on the team.

“We’ll kind of look at everybody and see what gives us the best options when we get to Saturday night,” Day said.

Tight end commits for 2022 

Ohio State got the seventh commitment for its 2022 recruiting class Wednesday night when four-star tight end Benji Gosnell pledged to sign with the Buckeyes.

Gosnell, a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder from East Surry High School in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, ranks 265th overall nationally in the 247Sports composite rankings. He’s the 11th-ranked tight end.

“His skill set is so wide,’’ East Surry coach Trent Lowman told the Fayetteville Observer. “There were plays last year where he caught a ball on a vertical route down field and just outran the defense for a 70-yard touchdown. There were times he caught a screen pass, broke tackles at the line of scrimmage and outran people 50 yards for a touchdown. He caught balls in traffic. He’s not just one type of player. It’s just exciting to think about what he’ll become as he continues to develop.’’

According to 247Sports, Gosnell also had offers from Georgia, Florida, Notre Dame and Penn State, among others.

Gosnell’s commitment pushes the Buckeyes atop the early national rankings for the 2022 class.

'Big Noon Kickoff' crew sidelined 

Former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and the rest of the on-air crew of Fox Sports’ pregame “Big Noon Kickoff” won’t participate in this week’s show due to COVID-19 protocol, the New York Post reported.

A substitute crew that incudes analysts Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long and host Charissa Thompson will do a one-hour show instead of the usual two-hour show. It will be broadcast from Los Angeles, where Southern California opens the Pac-12 season against Arizona State. USC is the alma mater for Big Noon Kickoff members Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush.

According to the Post, it is not known whether any of the show’s members has contracted the coronavirus. Citing Fox’s policy, Meyer declined to comment to The Dispatch.