Ohio State's Miyan Williams records first career touchdown while running the wrong way
MINNEAPOLIS – In front of a room of reporters and TV cameras following Ohio State’s season-opening 45-31 win at Minnesota, Miyan Williams laughed.
He had an admission to make.
Revisiting a 71-yard run that led to the first touchdown of his career on the Buckeyes’ opening drive, he revealed that he had gone the wrong direction.
“It was just crazy,” Williams said. “I was supposed to go the other way.”
The play call was designed to have Williams dart toward the left side of the line of scrimmage. Both right tackle Dawand Jones and right guard Paris Johnson moved to their left, as did the other offensive linemen.
But once Williams took a handoff from quarterback C.J. Stroud, he instead sprang to the right.
“I was just in a rush,” he said. “Trying to get a play.”
The mistake worked because it fooled Minnesota’s defenders because it seemed like a safe bet to them that Williams would follow his blockers.
Instead, Williams reached the perimeter of the field at Huntington Bank Stadium with little trouble.
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By the time he approached Ohio State’s 35-yard line, only Tyler Nubin, a junior cornerback for the Golden Gophers, stood in his path before Williams stiff-armed him. Nubin fell to the turf, Williams kept running and teammates on the sideline waved their arms in frenzied excitement in anticipation of the score.
After Williams crossed the goal line, he raised his arms in the air to form an O-H sign in the direction of visiting fans.
“It felt like a dream at first,” Williams said. “Then I was like, ‘I gotta keep going.’ It felt amazing though.”
With a depth chart stacked with running back talent, including a returning starter in Master Teague and a five-star freshman TreVeyon Henderson, the redshirt freshman from Cincinnati, who had only 10 career carries prior to Thursday night, moved to the top of the pecking order this offseason.
Edging out five other scholarship running backs in a preseason competition, Williams got the start for the Buckeyes in the opener and took the first carry of the season, one in which he gained eight yards. Then he took off for 71.
In his debut as a starter, he ran nine times for 125 yards and a touchdown, leading the Buckeyes in rush attempts as he split time with Marcus Crowley and Teague, who logged six carries apiece for a combined 48 yards. Henderson, the much-hyped running back prospect, also ran twice for 15 yards.
Due to the running back rotation, Williams had long intervals in which he remained on the sideline, watching teammates have their opportunities in the backfield.
Following his 71-yard touchdown run, he waited until late in the second quarter before seeing another carry.
“That's like everybody, you get a big play, you'll want to go back in,” he said. “But I was really just wanting to see how everybody else played.”
After three carries on the Buckeyes’ first series of the second half that picked up 27 yards, he then saw only two more.
Following the victory, Williams handled questions about sharing carries with three other running backs.
Reporters wondered if he would have liked a chance to establish a rhythm instead of seeing sporadic playing time.
It didn’t seem to weigh on his mind, though. A starting spot was a big step forward in a budding career, and his touchdown was another milestone. Plus, the Buckeyes prevailed in a game that once threatened
“I'm actually fine with how it went,” he said. “As long as we got the win, I'm good.”