Buck­eyes seek more from ground game

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - SPORTS - By Mitch Stacy

Tail­backs J.K. Dob­bins and Mike We­ber com­bined for just 3.2 yards per carry in the last two games. Buck­eyes’ fo­cus will in­volve more push from the of­fen­sive line when they host the Go­phers on Oct. 13.

Ohio State quar­ter­back Dwayne Hask­ins Jr. has been light­ing up the score­board with touch­down passes. Next up is Min­nesota, and the No. 3 Buck­eyes will try to get their run­ning game back on track.

Star tail­backs J.K. Dob­bins and Mike We­ber com­bined for just 3.2 yards per carry in the last two games. The fo­cus will in­volve more push from the of­fen­sive line when the Buck­eyes host the Go­phers on Satur­day.

Short-yardage sit­u­a­tions have trig­gered some stress on the Ohio State side­line.

Hask­ins leads the na­tion with 25 touch­down passes and is on track to break school records this sea­son. He’s also a drop-back guy and less likely to grind it out in short-yardage sit­u­a­tions for the Buck­eyes (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten).

Meyer liked hav­ing the “Q run” in his back pocket when dual-threat quar­ter­back J.T. Bar­rett was there. The coach ac­knowl­edged some talk among coaches about hav­ing shifty backup quar­ter­back Tate Martell come in the game on short­yardage sit­u­a­tions.

“Third-and-1 is tough right now,” Meyer said.

Min­nesota (3-2, 0-2) has deeper prob­lems, hav­ing ab­sorbed sea­son-end­ing in­juries to two of its best play­ers — run­ning back Rod­ney Smith and safety An­toine Winfield Jr. The Go­phers start true fresh­man walkon quar­ter­back Zack An­nexs­tad , who has thrown five in­ter­cep­tions in the past two games. Fresh­men and sopho­mores are car­ry­ing the load on of­fense.

But ever-op­ti­mistic coach P.J. Fleck likes his team’s growth, de­spite the Go­phers drop­ping the first two con­fer­ence games.

“I hope every­one can see what we’re be­com­ing, be­cause I can,” he said.

Other things to watch in Satur­day’s game: touch­downs against In­di­ana. One more of those awards and he’ll tie Troy Smith for the school record. Smith did it in 2006 on his way to win­ning the Heis­man Tro­phy.

Ohio State ranks third na­tion­ally in pass­ing of­fense. Over the past three games alone, H-back Par­ris Camp­bell has caught 24 passes for 349 yards and four touch­downs.

If Hask­ins has an­other big game, look for the Heis­man chat­ter to get even louder.

Meyer talked more this week about the se­vere headache that dropped him to one knee briefly on the side­line dur­ing last week’s game. He gets them be­cause of a cyst in his head but in­sists it doesn’t af­fect his abil­ity to coach.

“I’ve been deal­ing with that cyst for many years, and we had the surgery (to drain it) sev­eral years ago,” he said. “And when it does take place, it’s just, you know, they give me some medicine and I feel fine now. Just some­thing I’ve got to mon­i­tor.”

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