COLLEGE PARK, Md. – To hear Curtis Samuel tell it, he’s just a guy doing his job.
But the Ohio State H-back is a guy who does that job better than most people who play a similar role in college football.
He is electric and efficient. Nine touches – five pass receptions and four running plays – produced three touchdowns in Ohio State’s 62-3 win over Maryland on Saturday afternoon.
Samuel scored on a 36-yard throw from quarterback J.T. Barrett and sprinted untouched into the end zone on short runs of five yards and four yards.
This is the first season the 5-11, 197-pound junior has had both good health and opportunities to show what he can do. And what he has shown is that he is a very tough match-up for any defense.
“There are not many guys like that who can do it all,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said on Saturday. We’ve had tight ends before who were dual purpose guys but he is a tough one to defend.
“He can run inside zone, he can run outside stretch plays, he can go vertical (in the passing game) and he can run outside option,” Meyer said.
And he can run the same play twice in a row against the same defender and beat him both times.
In the first quarter on Saturday, he beat a Maryland defensive back, who held him and was called for pass interference on one play, then came back and ran the same deep pattern for a 36-yard touchdown catch that put OSU up 21-3 on the next play.
“When we saw they pressed him (in defensive coverage), we felt real confident in him and his ability to punch the ticket deep,” Meyer said.
Samuel said, “I was just taking advantage of what the defense was giving me. We knew what they were going to do. Just put me out there one on one with one of their guys and see who comes down with the play.”
He has scored six touchdowns in the last two games but says OSU’s offensive resurgence is about more than his production.
“Coach just felt he had to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers, not just me. And when he does give me the ball, I do go out there and make plays. He sees me making plays and that gives him the sense he wants to just keep feeding me,” Samuel said.
Samuel added punt returner to his duties on Saturday, returning one for 11 yards and fair catching another.
He came into the weekend as the only player in major college football with more than 500 yards rushing and more than 500 yards receiving.
After Saturday’s game he has 57 catches for 750 yards and six touchdowns and 637 yards rushing and seven touchdowns.
Some people think those numbers mixed with his versatility could put him into the Heisman Trophy conversation, but Samuel says that hasn’t crossed his mind.
“I don’t really pay attention to that. I really don’t,” Samuel said.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.
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