USA Today Sports Images
COLUMBUS, Ohio- Running back J.K. Dobbins has been one of the main storylines coming out of the Ohio State football program in 2017. Three games into his college career; he is already one of the more dynamic runners in football, averaging 141.7 yards per game this season.
Dobbins’ success on the ground is not only on him as the runner. It is also about the five offensive linemen in front of him creating the holes to run through. With the ability up front, Ohio State is currently heading into the fourth game of the season with the 19th best rushing offense in the country, averaging 243 rushing yards per game.
The success of Dobbins and the rest of the Buckeye rushing attack is something that the offensive line takes great pride in.
“Seeing him break a run is one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life,” guard Branden Bowen said. “It is a result of what you did and a result of what the 10 other guys on the field did.”
However, the offensive line realizes that the running back that they are blocking for is not a normal one.
“He’s been having some explosive plays and he is fun to watch out there,” tackle Jamarco Jones said. “He’s a guy that can go to the house at any time and you love blocking for guys like that.”
Dobbins had some explosive plays in his last start against Army West Point. Averaging 13.2 yards per rush, the freshman back rushed for 172 yards on only 13 carries, scoring two touchdowns in the Buckeyes 31-point win.
The second of his two touchdowns came very quickly. With 8:45 left in the third quarter, Dobbins rushed for 74 yards on two carries, capped off with a 52-yard touchdown run to give Ohio State the 24-7 lead over the Black Knights.
Jones was even joking with Dobbins on the sideline prior to those two runs, calling for him to shorten the next drive. He did just that, rushing for those 74 yards in just 27 seconds.
According to Jones, this had to do with Dobbins’ ability to make defenders miss in the hole. Jones says that cuts like that make the jobs of the offensive linemen a whole lot easier.
“Sometimes, stuff happens and there might be one guy free, but he has the ability to make that guy miss,” Jones said. “It is just great to have him back there.”
Through the three games that Dobbins has been the featured runner, Bowen feels as though he is much improved. The hard the to believe, though, is that he is getting better everyday according to the starting right guard.
“He is getting more used to seeing the holes and his cuts,” Bowen said. “I’m sure you guys have seen, his cuts are getting ridiculous. His vision is getting a lot better and he’s starting to get a feel for where the holes are and how the line is going to break and where he needs to go.”
In his first game of the season against Indiana, Dobbins rushed for 181 yards on 29 carries, but did not cross the goal line once.
When he scored his first collegiate touchdown in the third quarter of Ohio State’s 31-16 loss to Oklahoma, his mentality never shifted.
“When I scored, I told myself to get back to the sideline and go do it again,” Dobbins said.
This is the mentality that the line and the rest of the offensive unit have seen since Dobbins started to practice as a Buckeye and that will continue to bring him success down the road.
“We have seen it the whole time,” Jones said. “It’s just that you guys are finally getting to see some of those plays out there on the field.”