OSU’s Herron hits first 100-yard mark of his career

Josh Katzenstein

Entering SaturdayâÄôs game, Ohio State junior running back Dan âÄúBoomâÄù Herron had never reached 100 rushing yards in a game. He had eclipsed 90 yards five times and reached a career high of 97 yards at Iowa last season. Herron needed just 17 carries and one half to set a new career high of 114 yards in the then-No. 10 BuckeyesâÄô 52-10 victory at TCF Bank Stadium. Ohio State coach Jim Tressel opted to reward Herron with a nice, warm spot on the bench with the Buckeyes leading 31-7 at halftime. âÄúIt was very meaningful for me. I kind of didnâÄôt know until after the game,âÄù Herron said of his career day. âÄúOf course I wanted to go back in, but at the same time we had a pretty good lead.âÄù Herron missed last seasonâÄôs game against Minnesota with an injury, and with 17 touches in the first half, Tressel didnâÄôt want to risk the health of his starter. Herron missed two other games with a knee injury last season as well. After the game, Herron modestly said he just tried to play his âÄúAâÄù game, but finally midway through his third season, heâÄôs joined quarterback Terrelle Pryor and fellow running back Brandon Saine in the century club. Herron said heâÄôs not one to brag, but itâÄôs hard to gloat in the locker room since Pryor has run for more than 100 yards six times and Saine has done it three times. HerronâÄôs 100-plus yards are nothing new this season for the Gophers, who have allowed six rushers to reach the mark. Entering SaturdayâÄôs game, Minnesota allowed 194.1 rushing yards per game, worst in the Big Ten. But all the film and stats didnâÄôt change HerronâÄôs preparation or expectations for what became a career day. âÄúAny team we play, theyâÄôre going to bring their âÄòAâÄô game,âÄù Herron said. âÄúTheyâÄôre going to play to the best of their ability when we play them, so I was ready to just come in focused like weâÄôre playing the No. 1 team in the nation.âÄù Nobody would confuse the Gophers with the No. 1 team in the nation, but the mindset has worked for Herron this season. HeâÄôs scored a touchdown in each of the last eight games and has 12 scores on the season. Pryor, who ran for 104 yards against the Gophers last season, has the best view of HerronâÄôs playmaking and said heâÄôs seen Herron attack the hole differently in recent weeks. âÄúI just see how patient and how much heâÄôs grown from a running back standpoint and thatâÄôs great,âÄù Pryor said. âÄúHim, Jordan [Hall] and B. Saine especially, but I think he made a very big stride this year on being patient.âÄù Herron feels his patience improving as well, a trait that paid dividends when he waited for his offensive line to open gaping holes. He ran for at least 10 yards four times. âÄúJust be patient and when the big play comes to you, you make it,âÄù Herron said. âÄúThatâÄôs been my big thing: Just be patient and hit it when itâÄôs there.âÄù SaturdayâÄôs performance certainly helps HerronâÄôs confidence because, week in and week out, he knows Hall and Saine could steal some of his touches. Hall had 30 yards on seven carries, Saine had 23 yards on five carries and freshman Carlos Hyde added 23 yards on his three carries. All but three of those 15 carries came in the second half when Herron already had his career high in hand. âÄúJordan and B. Saine and those other guys are good backs,âÄù Tressel said. âÄúBut thereâÄôs no doubt Boom is special.âÄù