Smith-Njigba’s big game helps OSU avoid upset


By Jim Naveau - jnaveau@limanews.com



LINCOLN, Neb. — When wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba got to Ohio State he knew that he might have to be satisfied.

Satisfied with fewer targets and fewer catches than he had as a 5-star recruit and an all-state player in Texas when he caught 109 passes for 2,132 yards and 34 touchdowns as a senior. He had one game where he caught 15 passes and scored six touchdowns.

Saturday during Ohio State’s 26-17 win over Nebraska he got an opportunity to turn the clock back when caught an OSU-record 15 passes for 240 yards and scored on a 75-yard pass play.

The previous record of 14 catches in a game belonged to David Boston. Smith-Njigba also came close to Terry Glenn’s record of 253 yards receiving in a game.

That gives the sophomore receiver 50 catches for 688 yards and four touchdowns this season.

He was the go-to player in the Buckeyes’ offense when the running game struggled for much of the afternoon.

“It felt good. I’m just a little piece of this offense. I got to see a lot of opportunities like back in the day,” Smith-Njigba said. “I just try to cherish every one of them. I just try to be there when they need me. C.J. And I have a nice little chemistry going.”

Stroud said, “He was amazing, he’s always been amazing. It doesn’t surprise me.”

Smith-Njigba became an even bigger part of OSU’s passing game when Garrett Wilson was unavailable because of an unspecified injury.

“A player like Garrett, of course we miss him. I definitely hope he comes back as soon as possible,” Smith-Njigba said.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day said the hope is that Wilson will be able to play against Purdue this week.

“We’ll probably go to day to day tomorrow and hopefully we’ll get him back next week,” he said.

The centerpiece of Smith-Njigba’s big day was the 75-yard touchdown play which gave Ohio State a 17-3 lead late in the first half.

A block by fellow wide receiver Chris Olave helped open a path to the end zone for Smith-Njigba.

“Chris did a great job. I just tried to pick my knees up and go,” Smith-Njigba said.

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By Jim Naveau

jnaveau@limanews.com

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau