Trey Sermon is heading into this week’s matchup against Rutgers with 115 total yards and 4.3 yards per carry in two games with the Buckeyes. He had 24 carries in Ohio State’s wins over Nebraska and Penn State, and with the Scarlet Knights on deck, the senior running back is primed for a big outing.
Before the season began, former Ohio State safety Tyvis Powell told me the team planned to “split the carries 50/50.” And that reigned true in the season-opening win versus Nebraska, as Sermon had 11 carries and Master Teague finished with 12. However, OSU leaned a lot more heavily on Teague in last Saturday’s 38-25 win at Penn State.
Teague totaled 110 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries against the Nittany Lions, while Sermon ran for 56 yards on 13 rushing attempts. Teague, a sophomore, has separated himself as the top running back option but if the Buckeyes want to compete for a national title, then Sermon will undoubtedly play a key role moving forward.
Ryan Day and the coaching staff should use the Rutgers game as an opportunity to get guys like Jaxson Smith-Njigba, Luke Farrell, and Sermon going. They will play a factor in big games later in the year and matchups like this can not only get them more experience and preparation, but also a confidence boost.
“I’m really a dynamic running back. I can catch out of the backfield, I can block, and I have pretty good vision as well,” Sermon told the Big Ten Network last month. “We know that the running back tradition here is extremely high. We have really big shoes to fill but we’re confident in each other and we know we can get the job done.”
Sermon transferred to Ohio State after three seasons at Oklahoma, where he averaged 6.1 yards per carry, 10.9 yards per reception, and scored 25 total touchdowns in 37 games. The team doesn’t expect that kind of output from Sermon but he has shown a tendency to perform well in big games, something the Buckeyes might need.
Sermon also touched on what it’s like being in the Ohio State running back room: “It’s been great with guys like Master Teague, Xavier Johnson, Steele Chambers. Just being with those guys and competing every day, it’s fun and I enjoy it. I’m just happy to be in the room as well.”
The 6’1 running back should be able to get to the outside and use his breakaway speed against Rutgers, as well as giving Justin Fields another passing target out of the backfield. According to Vegas Insider, the Buckeyes are 38-point favorites this weekend as they look to improve to 3-0. The game will kick off at 7:30 PM on Saturday in Columbus.
Make sure to keep an eye on Sermon.