Transfer running back Trey Sermon has breakout game in Ohio State's win at Michigan State

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State running back Trey Sermon streaks down the right sideline on a 64-yard scoring run against Michigan State on Saturday.

Ohio State running back Trey Sermon saw steady improvement over the first few weeks of the football season.

His per-carry average increased over his first four games, then took a big jump on Saturday.

In a 52-12 win at Michigan State, Sermon had a breakout game, rushing for 112 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, an average of 11.2 yards, nearly doubling his previous effort. His total included a 64-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Afterward, Sermon said he felt like he was poised for the big step forward.

“I definitely felt like it was it was going to happen,” the Oklahoma transfer said. “Each week, I just felt like I was gradually getting better, getting more in sync with the offensive line and just getting used to playing with those guys.”

His emergence provided some additional explosiveness out of the backfield, a complement to Master Teague III, who similarly took a step forward in the Buckeyes’ previous victory, against Indiana.

Teague had a career-high 169 rushing yards and two touchdowns against the Hoosiers, including a 41-yard burst into the end zone.

Sermon, who joined the Ohio State program in the summer, was recovering from an injury early in the season, as was Teague, who was out for several months due to an Achilles injury. Sermon underwent knee surgery after his last season with the Sooners, prompting him to spend a significant portion of the offseason going through rehabilitation.

Sermon said he feels great and has put the injury behind him. But he added that it was a hurdle for him to overcome as he returned to the field, getting back into full health while adjusting to new teammates.

Along with establishing better chemistry with the Buckeyes’ offensive line, even with a handful of new starters in place against the Spartans, Sermon feels he has benefited from more snaps in games and reps in practices, getting him in a rhythm and shaking off any rust.

That made the biggest difference in his breakthrough.

“It was really just trusting my coaching and trusting my ability,” he said. “It was kind of slow the first few games, but I was just practicing hard, continuing to get reps. Just kind of get a good feel for it. I was able to make the most of my opportunities.”

It was his first 100-yard rushing performance since he was a sophomore at Oklahoma. He reached the century mark four times in 2018, including rushing for 206 yards and three touchdowns in a shootout at Texas Tech.