COLUMBUS, Ohio — Prior to getting the ball for the first time in the second half, things hadn’t been going very well for Ohio State. Two handoffs to J.K. Dobbins changed that, though.
Dobbins and the Buckeyes had ended the first half with a punt and a field goal, and thanks to Army’s ball-control offense, they’d had just four possessions and held a precarious 17-7 lead. The Black Knights then ate away nearly half of the third quarter on their first drive, which ended with a missed field goal.
In need of a score to keep Army at bay, Ohio State turned to the player who’s steadily growing into a sure thing at the ripe old age of 18. His big-play ability adds another dimension to the Buckeyes’ offense, and his vision and cutting ability certainly don’t look like that of a freshman. If he’s not facing multiple defenders, there’s a good chance that play is destined for the highlight reel.
“He’s a perfect tailback” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “He’s a space player that we need.”
“He’s that home-run hitter that you want back there,” added Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin. “If you do your job [blocking] on the perimeter, he’s going to make one guy miss. He’s going to turn on the jets and do what he does.”
On the Buckeyes’ first offensive snap of the third quarter, Dobbins took a handoff and burst upfield for 22 yards. He followed that with an outstanding 52-yard touchdown run where he headed to the left, briefly cut back inside to make a would-be tackler miss and then outraced three outmatched pursuers to the end zone.
We thought Army was going to catch him….JK!
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) September 16, 2017
“I saw that my teammates were blocking very well for me, and I just had to beat one person,” Dobbins said. “I kind of pride myself on beating the first person who gets there to me, and so it was off to the races after that.”
In addition to putting points on the board, it also helped open up the Ohio State offense a bit. The Buckeyes scored three touchdowns on four full drives in the second half. The series after Dobbins’ touchdown covered 64 yards in four plays, with three of those gains coming through the air.
“Personally, you get to see everything working,” Ohio State wide receiver Austin Mack said. “We were throwing the bubbles, the defense started to spread out and then we hit them right up the middle. J.K. breaks it, and you can start to see our offense clicking and clicking. We’re starting to get that chemistry.”