As first starts go, things couldn’t have gone much better for running back Miyan Williams.
The Ohio State redshirt freshman got the nod for the Buckeyes Thursday night in Minnesota and ran for 125 yards and a touchdown, and he did it in just nine carries.
His first touch on OSU’s first drive went for eight yards. On the next play, he went around the right side for a 71-yard touchdown. He got the corner and never gave it back.
“It felt like a dream at first, then I was like ‘I just gotta keep going.’ It felt amazing though,” Williams said after the Buckeyes’ 45-31 win.
Williams then sat for more than a quarter, watching fellow running backs Master Teague, Marcus Crowley, and TreVeyon Henderson get the call before he was inserted back into the game.
After two carries in which he gained 79 total yards, he then waited on the sidelines until it would be his turn again. Did he want to go back in sooner than that? Of course, but he also understood the bigger picture.
“I feel like that’s everybody, if you get a big play you would want to go back in,” Williams said. “But I was really just wanting to see everybody else play and see how they played. I was just trying to get the win.”
Some running backs view themselves as workhorses who aren’t at their best until they’ve got a good sweat going.
Some can’t find a rhythm until they’re halfway through the tune.
Williams, however, was belting out the chorus from his very first carry. His nine carries gained 8, 71, 5, 2, 6, 15, 6, -2, and 14 yards. He was delivering the hits.
And then came the sound of silence.
How did he view his lack of touches given his production on the night?
“I’m actually fine with how it went tonight,” he said. “As long as we got the win, I’m good.”
That’s an incredibly mature answer for a second-year player, but there is still plenty of work to do according to Williams. He is far from a finished product, which he sheepishly admitted when asked about his 71-yard touchdown run.
“To be honest, it was actually the wrong play,” he said. “It was the wrong play. I was supposed to go the other way.
“I was just in a rush trying to get the ball snapped. I was supposed to go to the left and I ended up going the opposite side and there wasn’t anybody over there.”
It was the biggest play of Miyan Williams’ career and when the coaches grade his film, he’ll get dinged for it. But even though he went the wrong way, it was easy to see why the coaches made the right choice. Williams was consistent and productive and pretty darn dangerous.
This was just one game, but it was a good one. Williams is only going to get better from here on out, provided he cleans up his mistakes.
Or, given how his 71-yard scamper went, provided he doesn’t.