Freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson came to Ohio State with a handwritten list of goals he wants to accomplish during his Buckeye career.
Henderson accomplished one against Tulsa Saturday, breaking former running back and two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin’s 49-year-old record for most rushing yards during a single-game in Buckeyes history, amassing 277 yards.
“It’s a blessing,” Henderson said. “I’m excited right now, but at the same time I got to keep this going. I can’t just let this be a one-time thing. I got to stay hungry.”
He didn’t find out he would be the Buckeyes’ featured back until before the game Saturday, but Henderson averaged over 11 yards per carry and punched in three touchdowns in his first-career start. He alone surpassed Ohio State’s team rushing total against then-No. 12 Oregon just one week prior.
Henderson broke off runs of 54, 52, 48 and 31 yards while navigating through space and demonstrating elusiveness, particularly on his 48-yard score when junior wide receiver Garrett Wilson opened a lane with a block early in the third quarter.
Ohio State never trailed once Henderson trotted five yards into the end zone for his first touchdown midway through the second quarter. He also bursted 52 yards for his final score to end the third quarter.
Head coach Ryan Day said he notices how seriously Henderson takes working on improvement, noting that it’s paid off particularly in his skill set.
“ He’s somebody that can hit home runs. That’s special, and he has that special talent,” Day said. “When you give it to him and he gets to the second level and he makes a guy miss, it could be a home run. That’s a whole different dynamic.”
Redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud said it was amazing to watch the freshman run wild, and even feels Henderson could do even better. Junior offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere, who said he couldn’t be more proud of Henderson, had even higher praise for the running back.
“He’s probably one of the best players we have here,” Petit-Frere said. “He’s worked so hard from the beginning when he got here to now. It’s just everything’s kind of going for him and it’s showing.”
Henderson largely did the heavy lifting within Ohio State’s offense as just 185 yards came through the air.
But, there was a moment when Henderson said he came seconds away from catastrophe. In the second half, several of Tulsa’s defenders tackled Henderson, but one landed on his leg, and the weight of it all nearly caused an injury.
“I felt like it almost snapped. It was just like a reaction,” Henderson said. “I’m trying to pull and hurry up to get my knee out, but luckily I still came out healthy and everything was straight.”
Henderson walked to the sidelines and got back to exploding from behind the line of scrimmage, something he’s flashed over his first two games in which he’s scored touchdowns in each.
Even on the first reception of his career against Minnesota Sept. 2, Henderson erupted for a 70-touchdown, signaling big-play potential early. He rotated with redshirt freshman running back Miyan Williams — who didn’t play against the Golden Hurricane — against the Ducks before receiving a game-high 24 carries Saturday.
Although Henderson said getting as many carries as he did was a surprise, checking one box from his list of goals wasn’t. He’ll have plenty of time to work at the rest of them.
“I wasn’t expecting something like this,” Henderson said. “I have a lot of big goals for myself, and I reached one of my goals today. But I got plenty more, so I got to keep working.”