COLUMBUS — Ohio State redshirt freshman linebacker Tuf Borland woke up Saturday morning expecting to play against Army but never dreamed he would play a big role in OSU’s 38-7 win over the Black Knights.
Borland led Ohio State with 10.5 tackles, including a tackle for a loss, after he became a part of the first-team defense after starting middle linebacker Chris Worley suffered a sprained foot in the second quarter.
“I knew I was going to rotated in but I didn’t know it would be to that extent. I’m just thankful for the opportunity,” Borland said. “It was great. I am just so excited to be part of this team. It’s just a great experience.
“We pride ourselves on being ready when our number is called and I got the opportunity tonight. I’m definitely going to enjoy it but you hate to see Chris go down. It’s kind of surreal right now,” he said.
OSU coach Urban Meyer said, “Tuf Borland came in and eid a heck of a job. Tuf played fantastic.”
Defensive end Sam Hubbard said, “He got his opportunity and made the most of it.”
Dobbins impressive again: Freshman running back J.K. Dobbins rushed for 172 yards on 13 carries, including a run of 52 yards and another of 36 yards.
In his first three games, Dobbins has gained 181 yards, 72 yards and 172 yards. In Ezekiel Elliott’s first three games as a starter when he was a sophomore in 2014 after playing behind Carlos Hyde in 2013, he gained 44 yards, 32 yards and 65 yards.
“My O-line, my tight end, my receivers did a great job of blocking. That’s all I can say,” Dobbins said. “I knew I would get a good start but I didn’t think it would be anything like this.”
Wide receiver Terry McLaurin said Dobbins himself had quite a bit to do with those long gains.
“He’s an exciting player. He’s going to turn on the jets and do what he does,” McLaurin said.
Schiano on the sideline: Defensive coordinator Greg Schiano worked from the sideline on Saturday instead of the press box, where he had been for the first two games of the season.
Meyer explained the change this way: “He’s an energy guy. He provides a lot of energy. He’s coached against this offense (a triple option) for many, many years. I wanted him on the sideline to make adjustments. We’ll evaluate whether he will stay there.”
Smith emerges: Safety Erick Smith had a career-best nine tackles. He also had a pass break-up on what looked like it might be a touchdown catch and stopped the return man when he was one of the last lines of defense when Army got a big kickoff return.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.