Hall opens some eyes with career game
COLUMBUS – Jordan Hall tossed and turned before he sprinted and spun his way through Buffalo’s defense on Saturday.
The senior running back had a hard time sleeping the night before Ohio State’s 40-20 win over Buffalo in its opener.
“I woke up every hour on the hour and finally just stayed up at 5:30,” Hall said.
Maybe all of OSU’s running backs should consider sleeping less the night before games. Hall rushed for a career-best 159 yards and scored touchdowns on runs of 49 yards and 37 yards. The 49-yard TD was also a career best.
It was the opening chapter Hall was looking for 12 months ago when he was expected to be one of Ohio State’s top ball carriers, but missed most of the season because of two injuries.
Before the season began, he stepped on broken glass and suffered damage severe enough to keep him out of the first two games. Then, after rushing for 87 yards against California and 105 yard against Alabama-Birmingham, he injured a knee in the Michigan State game and was done for the year.
His role was magnified against Buffalo because Ohio State’s two power runners, Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith, were suspended. Hyde will also miss the next two games to finish a three-game suspension, but Smith will return this Saturday against San Diego State.
It remains to be seen what role Hall will play and how often he will get the ball when Hyde and Smith get back.
Also, even though freshman Dontre Wilson was not spectacular on Saturday, he made it clear he is going to touch the football on a weekly basis.
Wilson got five touches against Buffalo – an 18-yard pass reception, a 51-yard kickoff return and 3 runs for 11 yards. The 18-yard catch nearly turned into a touchdown when he was brought down by a diving tackle around the ankles. And the kickoff return was a nice make-up play for his fumble that Buffalo turned into its first touchdown.
Ohio State played a nearly flawless first quarter against Buffalo, but things got a little messy at times after that. The Buckeyes got more than half of their points and 47 percent of their total yards in the game’s first 15 minutes.
Part of that might have come from some issues with the offensive line, where first-year starter at right tackle, Taylor Decker, was beaten several times by a defender and from the absence of starting center Corey Linsley for much of the game.
Linsley was limited to fewer than 20 plays because of a foot injury that has bothered him since spring practice. Offensive coordinator Tom Herman said that was by plan and “hopefully we can get a whole game out of him next week.”
Any problems Ohio State had seem small compared to those San Diego State had in losing 40-19 to Eastern Illinois.
San Diego State is the defending Mountain West champion, but it didn’t defend much of anything against Eastern Illinois, an FCS school (the division formerly known as I-AA).
And the Aztecs’ quarterback Adam Dingwell threw four interceptions, fumbled three times and was sacked three times.
San Diego State coach Rocky Long called it “as bad a performance as I’ve ever been around” in his postgame press conference and said, “We played poorly and made every mistake in the book.”