Ohio State will lean on running back Master Teague III for production Monday night against Alabama after losing starter Trey Sermon to an apparent shoulder injury after just one carry.
Sermon, one of the Buckeyes’ most important offensive players, headed straight to the locker room holding his left shoulder during his team’s opening series in the College Football Playoff championship game. He was later taken to a local hospital for further evaluation, ESPN reported.
Teague, a redshirt sophomore, stepped up the next possession by beating Tide defenders to the edge for an 8-yard touchdown run. He’s a dynamic player in his own right who has been efficient on the ground in his opportunities as a supplementary ball carrier. He entered the contest with 449 rushing yards on 89 attempts this year — an average of 5 yards per tote.
Teague’s first-quarter score earned the approval of Ezekiel Elliott, one of the best running backs in modern Ohio State history.
Coach Ryan Day has asked Teague for patience as it pertains to the depth chart: After playing second-fiddle to J.K. Dobbins in 2019, he was usurped by Sermon this year.
Sermon, a transfer who was excellent in the Big Ten championship and national semifinal, is about to go pro, so Teague is expected to take over the starting running back role next season.
Teague was a consensus four-star prospect in the 2018 recruiting class, per 247Sports, and was considered the 11th-best incoming freshman running back at the time. He’s totaled 1,344 rushing yards since arriving in Columbus, including 789 last year playing behind Dobbins.