No. 9 Buckeyes struggle with Tulsa, pull away for 41-20 win

Sep 18, 2021, 4:50 AM | Updated: 6:19 pm
Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson, left, cuts upfield against Tulsa defensive back LJ Wall...

Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson, left, cuts upfield against Tulsa defensive back LJ Wallace during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson’s big day put him amid elite company in the Ohio State record book, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for his decidedly off-kilter team.

Henderson, in his third game, broke Archie Griffin’s 49-year-old freshman rushing record, romping for 277 yards and three touchdowns as No. 9 Ohio State struggled with Tulsa and then managed to pull away late for a 41-20 win on Saturday.

Henderson ran for scores of 5, 48 and 52 yards, which managed to paper over some of the same weaknesses Ohio State showed in the 32-25 upset by Oregon last week that sent the Buckeyes tumbling in the AP Top 25 poll.

Ohio State was supposed to be getting a break in the schedule, the first of two games against lesser opponents that would allow the ironing out of some glaring issues, particularly with the defense. Instead, it got a good tussle.

The Buckeyes (2-1) were not sharp, but Tulsa (0-3) just couldn’t match them blow for blow and Henderson, who ran for 69 yards in the first two games combined, broke through with huge plays at critical times. A late interception that Cameron Martinez returned for a 61-yard touchdown made the score look worse than it was for the persistent Golden Hurricane.

Henderson broke a freshman rushing record that has stood since Griffin ran for 239 yards on Sept. 30, 1972, in an Ohio State win over North Carolina. Griffin went on to win the Heisman Trophy in 1974 and ’75, the only two-time winner in history.

“I wasn’t expecting something like this, but I have some big goals for myself,” Henderson said. “I got plenty more, so I got to keep working.”

The Ohio State defense, while holding Tulsa to 73 yards on the ground, allowed quarterback Davis Brin to throw for a career-high 428 yards and the team’s first two touchdown passes this season. Josh Johnson caught eight passes for a career-high 149 yards.

“We just went toe-to-toe with an exceptional type of team that’s explosive on both sides of the ball,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said.


Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane took advantage of a still-disheveled Ohio State squad and went at the Buckeyes hard. They put up 501 yards of offense and stopped nearly everybody except Henderson.

“I thought our receivers did a nice job at trying to find separation and find holes to sit in and work in, and our offensive line again giving (Brin) time,” Montgomery said. “We were getting a ton of pressure. I thought those guys did a nice job with everything they were getting.”

Ohio State: Defensive issues are still prominent. The offensive line was better, and coach Ryan Day may have found a bell cow after splitting carries among Henderson and a couple others in the first two games.


Henderson’s first big run came in the third quarter with Ohio State hanging on to a 13-6 lead. He bounced right and blew past defensive backs for the 48-yard touchdown. Then at the end of the quarter, after Tulsa had pulled to 20-13, he broke through a hole in the middle and headed for the left sideline and the 52-yard score.

“He’s somebody that can hit home runs, and that’s special,” Day said. “He has that special talent. You give it to him, he gets to the second level and makes a guy miss, and it could be a home run. And that’s a whole different dynamic. What an exciting start to his freshman year.”


Freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud, starting his third game, missed some receivers, tossed an interception and lost a fumble. He threw for 185 yards and a late touchdown to Garrett Wilson that gave the Buckeyes some breathing room. He revealed after the game that he’s been dealing with a sore arm.

“Winning isn’t easy, especially when everybody has a big target on their backs,” Stroud said. “Definitely have to get better.”


Ohio State G Thayer Munford left the game with an injury to his right leg late in the first quarter. S Josh Proctor, the most experienced player on the defense, was out after suffering a leg injury suffered in last week’s game. DE Zach Harrison also was out with an unspecified ailment.


Struggling with a 25 1/2-point underdog at home likely won’t get the Buckeyes many extra votes, especially with last week’s loss still fresh.


Tulsa: Hosts Arkansas State next Saturday. Ohio State: Hosts Akron next Saturday in a prime-time contest.


More AP college football: and Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter:


Follow Mitch Stacy at

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Texas A&M-Commerce routs NAIA’s North American U. 63-3

COMMERCE, Texas (AP) — Zadock Dinkelmann threw three touchdown passes to Andrew Armstrong and Texas A&M-Commerce staked NAIA-member North American University to a 3-0 lead before scoring 63 unanswered points for a 63-3 non-conference win on Saturday night. Texas A&M-Commerce (2-2) held the Stallions to just 18 total yards, allowing just 13 yards rushing on […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Big plays help Troy defeat Marshall 16-7

TROY, Ala. (AP) — Buddha Jones returned a fumble 23 yards for Troy’s only touchdown, Brooks Buce kicked three field goals and Troy defeated Marshall 16-7 on Saturday night. Troy’s Gunnar Watson threw for 321 yards to go over 5,000 for his career. Tez Johnson and Jabre Barber both had over 100 yards receiving with […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Hatcher’s 4TDs carry Texas St. past Houston Christian

SAN MARCOS, Texas (AP) — Layne Hatcher threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns and Texas State controlled from the outset in a 34-0 win over Houston Christian on Saturday. Previously named Houston Baptist University, the school announced the name change to Houston Christian University on Wednesday. Hatcher completed 27 of 41 passes in the […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Moussa leads Florida A&M comeback, beats Alabama A&M, 38-25

TALLAHASSEE,Fla. (AP) — Jeremy Moussa threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns, all to Xavier Smith, as Florida A&M won its 12th straight at home, scoring 24 straight points in the second half to beat Alabama A&M, 38-25 on Saturday night. Alabama A&M took a 10-0 lead after the first quarter and, after stopping Jah’Marae […]
20 hours ago
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7) throws a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football...
Associated Press

Levis’ 4 TDs help No. 8 Kentucky hold off Northern Illinois

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Will Levis tied a career best with four touchdown passes, including critical scores of 70 and 40 yards to Barion Brown and Tayvion Robinson, respectively, after halftime, and No. 8 Kentucky held off Northern Illinois 31-23 on Saturday night. After allowing the pesky Huskies a tying touchdown seconds before halftime, Levis […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Old Dominion wins first conference game as Sun Belt member

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Hayden Wolff passed for 279 yards with two touchdowns and led a second-half rally as Old Dominion defeated Arkansas State 29-26 on Saturday for its first Sun Belt Conference victory. The Monarchs (2-2, 1-0) trailed 12-0 at halftime and 19-7 early in the third quarter. After Wolff hit Ali Jennings with […]
20 hours ago
No. 9 Buckeyes struggle with Tulsa, pull away for 41-20 win