Century mark an important number for Ohio State’s Elliott


Ohio State at Illinois, noon or 3:30 p.m. Saturday, TV TBA, 1410

Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott took pride in a pigskin-free Saturday during the bye week.

“I didn’t watch any college football,” he wrote last Sunday on Twitter.

Elliott doesn’t seem to have much interest in football outside of the games he and his teammates play. Earlier this season, he showed no interest in questions about some of the other great running backs in college football.

Maybe that’s Elliott’s secret. Focusing on his craft alone has worked well for him. He put his 13-game streak of rushing for at least 100 yards on the line Saturday night at Ohio State against Minnesota. It’s the longest active streak in college football.

During the 13-game streak, Elliott rushed 273 times for 2,054 yards with 24 touchdowns. He has gained as few as 101 yards (against Hawaii on Sept. 12) and as many as 274 (against Indiana on Oct. 3).

Elliott has rushed for at least one touchdown in every game during the streak except the Northern Illinois game Sept. 19. The streak has pushed his career rushing total to 3,270 yards, which ranks fourth among active players and fifth in Ohio State history.

Entering Saturday, Elliott was nearing the marks of Chris Wells (3,382 yards, 2006-08) with Tim Spencer (3,553, 1979-82) and Eddie George (3,768, 1992-95) within reach this season. Braxton Miller (3,261) is right on Elliott’s tail. Unless Elliott stays at Ohio State for his senior season, he won’t catch Archie Griffin (5,589, 1972-75).

Typically, players won’t acknowledge streaks like this, and rarely do they admit to making it a point of extending them. But Elliott wasn’t shy. He said he begged coach Urban Meyer to let him play in the fourth quarter in Ohio State’s last game before the bye week at Rutgers.

The Buckeyes led 42-0 after three quarters, but Elliott didn’t have 100 yards.

“I knew I didn’t have 100,” Elliott said after the game. “It was something I was trying to get before they pulled me.”

On his only carry of the fourth quarter, Elliott rushed 55 yards for a touchdown. It was his fifth run of 50 or more yards this season. He finished with 144 yards.

“Coach Meyer didn’t want to put me in,” Elliott said. “He was ready to bench me. He said, ‘You better get it early. I’m only going to give you a couple plays.’ ”