Saine Has Crazy Day For Buckeyes

Freshman Brandon Saine didn't reach paydirt against Kent State Saturday, but that is about all he didn't do. The tailback was OSU's main offensive threat, leading the Buckeyes in rushing and receiving while becoming the first player to do since in six years. Saine discussed his day and his health situation with

In having the best game of his young Ohio State career, a Buckeye tailback not named Wells did his best impression of a former Buckeye with that surname.

Brandon Saine had an excellent day for the Buckeyes Saturday during their 48-3 thumping of Kent State, leading the Buckeyes with 69 yards on nine carries and 76 yards on five catches.

In leading OSU in both categories, he became the first Buckeye to do so since Jonathon Wells on Sept. 22, 2001, when he paced Ohio State with 47 rushing yards on 14 carries and added 16 yards on two catches during UCLA's 13-6 win in the Rose Bowl.

While Wells' day was one of the more forgettable offensive performances from Ohio State during its history, Saine instead helped his team to a win that was rarely, if ever, in doubt.

"It felt really good, and it was really fun because everybody was working together, and I got the chance to move the ball downfield," Saine said.

The game continued a string of impressive performances from Ohio's 2006 Mr. Football from Piqua, Ohio. Arriving in Columbus with a ton of hype thanks to his state-record 100-meter dash, Saine has shown he's more than just a burner.

Those who had not seen the tailback at Piqua might be surprised by his ability to break simple arm tackles and move the pile, the result of excellent lower-body strength from the 6-1, 220-pounder. He also has shown deft hands, first on a touchdown catch against Akron on Sept. 8 and again Saturday in Ohio Stadium.

His most impressive catch might have come midway through the first quarter when he lined up as the fullback in an offset I-formation with Maurice Wells. From there Saine zipped by helpless linebacker Jameson Konz and ran a wheel route down the left sideline that he hauled in for a 35-yard gain, freeing OSU from tight field position at its own 15-yard line.

"We put that in for him because if you get him on a linebacker, good luck," said offensive tackle Kirk Barton. "There aren't many linebackers in the country who can fly with that kid."

The excellent day as a receiver perhaps took Saine back to his days at Piqua, where he often lined up as a wideout, sometimes taking the ball on end-arounds but often successfully running pass patterns that got him into the open field, during the Indians' run to the Ohio Division II state title in '06.

"I like catching the ball out of the backfield," Saine said. "If the coaches feel that I can do that, then that's what I'll do. In Piqua, I had a lot of receptions so it was fun to get back doing that."

Saine's performance came in his first extended action after missing the games against Northwestern Sept. 22 and Minnesota a week later because of arthroscopic knee surgery. He returned a week ago at Purdue but was used only when the game was in hand, piling up 20 yards on six carries.

This week, with starter Chris Wells fighting a ankle injury that limited him to just four carries, Saine took on a more expanded role in the Buckeye attack and said he felt no lingering effects from the surgical procedure.

"I feel really good," he said. "Somebody asked me today how me knee was and I forgot about it until they asked me that."

With Beanie's ankle injury expected to linger throughout the rest of the season, the health of Saine and fellow reserve Maurice Wells will not only provide the Buckeye offensive braintrust with numerous options out of the backfield but a bit of an insurance policy as well.

"It's always nice to have a young man of that caliber with us," offensive coordinator Jim Bollman said. "Now we have three guys to carry the ball back there and catch it. He did a great job of catching it today, too. I think that's a big factor to get him back in the act as much as he is now."

Through seven games, Saine leads the tailbacks with a 5.6-yards-per-carry average, having accumulated 242 yards on 43 carries.

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