Ohio State notebook: Wells 'fine' despite leaving game with injury

Josh Weir

Buckeye Nation let out slight gasp early in the third quarter of Ohio State's 58-7 thumping of Northwestern on Saturday.

Beanie Wells limped off the field and didn't return. The bruising sophomore running back had his left ankle wrapped in ice on the sideline.

According to Wells, those in scarlet and gray can exhale.

"It is fine," he said after rushing for 100 yards, including a 36-yard TD, on 12 carries. "I'll be back in full swing."

"If it's a close game, Beanie would have been in there," senior right tackle Kirk Barton said. "Why take a chance when you're up like that?"

Still, the Buckeyes seem to have some issues in the backfield.

Impact freshman Brandon Saine missed Saturday after knee surgery this week.

Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel expects Saine to probably miss next week's game at Minnesota as well.

Junior Maurice Wells got some extended time Saturday. He carried 15 times for 44 yards and two touchdowns.

"We'll be all right. We're deep," Barton said. "We've got a lot of guys that have played a lot in the backfield, so we'll be prepared for whatever comes our way."

Tressel played Marcus Williams late in the game at tailback rather than heralded freshman Dan Herron. Tressel wants to save Herron's redshirt.

"But we think, if there ever comes that moment where the situation calls for it, that Danny Herron can be a contributor as well," Tressel added.

Wells ran for 135 yards last week against Washington but left that game with a stiff back.

No Tyrell

Former Ohio Mr. Football Tyrell Sutton was unavailable for Northwestern. The junior running back from Akron Hoban missed his second-straight game with an ankle injury.

"Tyrell Sutton really is an important cog in what they do, both emotionally and practically," Tressel said. "But still, you can't take away the fact that we had our responsibilities, and we were beating blockers and attacking them and putting pressure on the quarterback."

Home, sweet home

The Buckeyes are 376-104-20 (.772) all-time at the Horseshoe, which opened in 1922. Ohio State has won 19 of the last 20 and 15 consecutive in Columbus. ... Ohio State has hosted 37 consecutive crowds of 100,000 or more. Saturday's crowd of 105,178 was the 12th largest.

Wildcats or kittens?

OSU is 58-14-1 all-time vs. Northwestern, including 28-8 at the Horseshoe. The Wildcats haven't won in Columbus since 1971. The Buckeyes have won 27 of the last 28 games against Northwestern. As an aside, OSU has an enrollment of 51,818. Northwestern's is 7,800.

QB assessment

Todd Boeckman had another strong day at quarterback. Boeckman completed 11-of-14 passes for 179 yards, four touchdowns and one pick. He looked especially good throwing the deep ball.

"I thought Todd had another day where he could grow," Tressel said. "We'll have to study the film to watch his footwork and watch his decision making and so forth, but he seemed in command of what we were trying to do, and that's a step. And everyone knows that his biggest tests are ahead of him."

Past glory

Ohio State's 1942 national championship team was honored at halftime. Paul Brown guided the Buckeyes to a 9-1 record and their first national title. ... Also honored at the half were former Buckeye basketball stars Michael Redd and Scoonie Penn.

Buckeyes

Saturday's win pushed the Buckeyes' regular-season win streak to a school-record 22. Their last loss came at Penn State, 17-10, on Oct. 8, 2005. Overall, they've won 23 of their last 24 games. ... The Buckeyes have won 15 straight Big Ten games and are 68-23-4 in Big Ten openers. They are 117-10-4 in September home games. ... The Buckeyes' 45 first-half points were the most since scoring 52 against Pitt on Sept. 21, 1996. ... Brian Robiskie's three touchdowns mark the first time a Buckeye receiver has done that since Joey Galloway against Purdue in 1994. Robiskie has caught a pass in 16-consecutive regular season games. ... Stephen Simmons' kickoff return for a TD was the first against Ohio State since Michigan State's DeAndra Cobb in 2003. ... Malcolm Jenkins was OSU's fourth captain Saturday.

Reach Repository sports writer Josh Weir at (330) 580-8426 or e-mail josh.weir@cantonrep.com