Some folks might not have noticed, but Mike Weber is off and running as Ohio State’s starting running back.
Weber has been solid but also has been overshadowed by several teammates who have had eye-opening performances in the first three games: quarterback J.T. Barrett, hybrid back Curtis Samuel, receiver Noah Brown and defensive backs Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore.
Also, Weber hasn’t had a long romp to the end zone that his predecessor,
Ezekiel Elliott, made a habit of doing seemingly at least once a game.
“I’m going to continue to work the game, continue to work the second level, and it’s going to happen for me,
” Weber said. “I’m still getting comfortable, still getting used to playing the (college) game. I feel like I can make things happen.”
Weber has had good production. Through three games, the redshirt freshman has rushed 54 times for 351 yards and one touchdown,
with 100-yard games against Bowling Green (136) and at Oklahoma (123). He’s averaging 117 yards per game, second in the Big Ten behind Indiana’s Devine Redding (122.5).
In comparison, Elliott totaled 141 yards on 27 carries in his first three games as a starter, in 2014.
Further, Weber’s 6.5-yard average per carry is second in the league among backs with 32 rushes or more,
topped by Samuel’s 8.1-yard average (32 carries for 260 yards).
“I did what I could when they gave me the ball,” said Weber,
who had a long run of 35 yards against Oklahoma. “That’s all that matters at the end of the day, as long as we get that W.”
Weber had a big chunk of the Buckeyes’ 291 rushing yards against an Oklahoma defense that was supposed to be tough to run against.
“I credit my offensive line,” he said.
“I played my hardest and every time I got the ball I tried to read my keys and do everything I can to help this team win.”
Weber, a Detroit native who was in a recruiting tug of war between Urban Meyer and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh on national signing day in 2015,
did not shy away from the glare of a nationally televised game at Oklahoma.
“I just felt like it was prime time,” he said. “Really, the whole nation was watching. I’m pretty proud of my teammates. …
“I feel like we got a lot of confidence after this game. I don’t think a lot of people thought of us as young anymore. We’re playing very well, I don’t believe we lost a step, and we’re going to continue to get better and go from there.”