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Buckeyes wide receivers help spark successful run game

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Ohio State wide receivers have been key for the success of the run game for the Buckeyes. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

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Buckeyes wide receivers help spark successful run game

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Ohio State seems to be doing everything right as it takes Saturday off and prepares to begin the back half of its schedule.

And that’s not exclusive to just the big plays, the stout defense and the touchdown-happy quarterback in the first six starts of his career. The Buckeyes are playing as well as any team in the country, and it’s on the back of doing the little things correctly. Example: Wide-receiver blocking for a potent rushing attack.

“Right now, we’re running the ball well,” offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said. “And we’re trying to get the flow with our quarterback and our receivers in place. But to have those guys to sell out and block is the sign of a selflessness that a great team has. And that’s tough.”

It might be tough, but it’s a necessity for the receivers and tight ends. Block now, stay on the field and catch passes later. So far, the guys on the outside have bought in and are blocking, springing runs such as the 67-yard scamper J.K. Dobbins had in Ohio State’s win over Michigan State.

The run game sets up passing plays in Ryan Day’s offense. And blocking is paying off for those receivers who are patiently waiting to catch passes after blocking for the run game.

Binjimen Victor learned that in last week’s win over Michigan State. On what looked like a designed zone-read that Justin Fields kept, Victor acted like he was blocking, then slipped away for a pass. He caught the ball and ran 60 yards for a score. The brilliant play design was mastered because the wide receivers do a good job of blocking when they are supposed to, so it’s easy to sell a block.

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Ohio State wide receiver Binjimen Victor caught a 60-yard touchdown against Michigan State. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

The other receivers have been rewarded for their blocking, too. And the Ohio State coaches love that, especially when a guy that makes such a huge effort to block makes a play on the receiving end.

“To see Austin Mack have the great competitive Nebraska touchdown catch is awesome,” Wilson said. “But to sell out for your brothers is part of our brotherhood, and I appreciate the way our perimeter guys are, because they want the ball. Bin Vic wants more of those touchdowns. So does Garrett Wilson.”

Those three aren’t alone in their blocking ability. Sure, the four tight ends and all six receivers in the rotation can block. But Wilson mentioned three names. Two seniors and a true freshman. What Kevin Wilson has seen from Wilson in just a few short months has caught his eye.

The ultra-talented young receiver for Ohio State has shown his ability to leap over defenders and make tough touchdown catches already. But he is also beginning to prove to the offensive coaching staff that he’s an able and willing blocker on the perimeter.

“I thought Garrett Wilson did a tremendous job for a freshman blocking the other night,” Kevin Wilson said. “Part of him is that you didn’t sign up for that, technically, when you signed here. But really, once you get here, that’s what you buy into.”

And that might be what Garrett Wilson needs to continue to work on to become an elite receiver for the Buckeyes. Right now, the Ohio State wide receivers are playing a huge role in the run game, and they’re being rewarded handsomely in the pass game.

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Jack bergin

So excited about this team! Looking forward to the second half and a run to the college football playoffs.

Spencer Holbrook

Spencer Holbrook covers Ohio State football and basketball for Lettermen Row. A recent graduate of Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism, he's in his first year covering the Buckeyes. He was previously the sports editor at Ohio's student newspaper, The Post, where he covered Ohio University football and men's basketball.

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