Miyan Williams continues to validate status as lead Buckeyes tailback

Miyan Williams 3 by Birm-Lettermen Row
Miyan Williams earned his first career start for Ohio State on Thursday night. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

MINNEAPOLIS — Miyan Williams found a crease in the middle of the Ohio State offensive line. He made a cut and seemed to break through the offensive line.

In a scoreless game Thursday night, Williams nearly had his first touchdown of his Buckeyes career, but he was brought down after a powerful 8-yard gain.

On the next play, Williams took another handoff, put his foot in the turf and squirted around the right side, outrunning everyone for a 71-yard touchdown to open the scoring in the 45-31 win over Minnesota.

The two-play set, including the touchdown that wasn’t even ran the correct way, was the first proof of what Williams can bring to the Buckeyes offense. Williams has a chance to be another special, explosive option for an Ohio State roster already full of them.

“I was just in a rush trying to get the ball,” Williams said with a laugh about running the wrong play but still scoring.

Williams didn’t completely stuff the stat sheet. He only had nine carries for 125 yards, 71 of those coming from the one long touchdown run. In the Buckeyes crowded backfield that features four capable backs, those nine carries led the team.

Miyan Williams-Ohio State-Ohio State football-Buckeyes
Ohio State running back Miyan Williams logged his first-career 100-yard rushing game against Minnesota. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

He could complain about his lack of usage. After the impressive first drive of the game, Williams next carry came 21 game-minutes later after a long time spent on the bench. But he won’t worry about the carries he didn’t get. Ohio State won, so he’s content with his season-opening workload, which is almost certainly set to expand in the coming weeks.

“I’m actually fine with how it went tonight,” he said. “As long as we got the win, I’m good.”

Williams wasn’t the only one of those four backs to find open field and light up the Minnesota defense. TreVeyon Henderson, the five-star freshman with high expectations, took a screen pass 70 yards for a touchdown and flashed his burst into open space in the process.

Both of them seemed to separate themselves from Master Teague and Marcus Crowley in the battle for more carries as the season progresses.

“He definitely has some more crazy plays in camp,” Williams said of Henderson.

Miyan Williams-Ohio State-Ohio State football-Buckeyes
Miyan Williams should see an expanded workload in the coming weeks. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Henderson was also special in his debut for the Buckeyes. But with three runs of more than 14 yards — and, of course, the 71-yard home-run score, Williams solidified himself at the top of the Ohio State running back depth chart.

He validated the coaching staff’s decision to give him the first carry of the season in his first career start.

And he showed what kind of layer he can add to an explosive Ohio State offense that didn’t need another weapon — but now has one.

“It felt like a dream at first,” Williams said. “And then I was like, ‘just gotta keep going.’ It felt amazing, though.”

After a special debut, he is only getting better. Just imagine what Miyan Williams can do if he runs the play the correct way.