It says something about the quality of a game when one team can trot out its backups to start the third quarter.
Ohio State got the chance to do just that against Miami (Ohio) Saturday, as its 49-5 halftime lead allowed the chance for a number of second-teamers to shine.
Here’s five of the top performers listed as backups on Ohio State’s depth chart from Saturday.
Freshman wide receiver Garrett Wilson is currently listed as a backup at X-receiver for the Buckeyes, but is making a move toward an “OR” classification with senior Binjimen Victor, meaning that both are considered a starter.
Wilson flashed the talent that earned him a five-star recruiting ranking before the season, hauling in four receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown.
Most impressive among Wilson’s grabs was a 38-yard touchdown snag he won by climbing over a defender, then snatching the ball from the air after it was knocked loose on his landing.
Wilson made appearances on special teams too, evading a couple tacklers for a 52-yard third quarter punt return.
Alongside Wilson, freshman receiver Jameson Williams put on his first showcase of potential, finishing with 74 receiving yards against Miami.
Sixty-one came on one completion from redshirt junior quarterback Gunnar Hoak, a ball Williams caught 12 yards downfield. He turned outside and burned Miami sophomore defensive back Ja’don Rucker-Furlow, who had a four-yard head start, the rest of the way.
“Both of those guys have practiced harder,” head coach Ryan Day said of Wilson and Williams. “I thought their approach to the game has been better and their attitude has been better. And lo and behold, here we go. Now we start to see some things happening.”
Williams’ two receptions were career firsts, along with his touchdown. He also entered at kick returner for Ohio State, but all his attempts resulted in touchbacks.
Sophomore linebacker Dallas Gant led Ohio State in tackles Saturday, nearly tripling his season total with five takedowns.
That comes with 1.5 sacks, both in the third quarter after the second-team defense entered the game.
Gant’s first career sack came on an A-gap blitz, blindsiding Miami sophomore quarterback Jackson Williams.
Gant and redshirt freshman Javontae Jean-Baptiste combined for the half-sack later on.
Freshman running back Steele Chambers quietly led Ohio State in rushing Saturday, finishing with eight carries for 63 yards and his first career touchdown.
His gains on the ground were steady behind the Buckeyes’ second-team offensive line, with gains of seven, eight, nine, 13 and 15.
Chambers’ touchdown plunge was his shortest run, a two-yarder near the goal line that gave Ohio State its 11th and final touchdown.
Three starting Ohio State defensive linemen were injured prior to Saturday’s game, including redshirt senior defensive tackle Robert Landers. Junior Haskell Garrett, who plays defensive tackle with Landers, received more reps as a result.
Early in the second quarter with Miami still within a handful of points, Garrett delivered a shot to Miami redshirt freshman running back Tyre Shelton that set the Redhawks back three yards and went down as his first career tackle for loss.
Garrett finished with four tackles and 1.5 TFL Saturday, after entering the game with 11 on his career.
“I really love our defensive scheme,” Garrett said. “We get to go play ball instead of going side-to-side.”