With 4:38 left in the third quarter on Saturday, Denzel Burke forced Western Kentucky running back Davion Ervin-Poindexter to fumble, sending the ball bouncing into the endzone. After a dog pile and a few seconds of questioning who would come up with the ball, Tyleik Williams made his way out of the bottom of the pile with the football for Ohio State’s first defensive touchdown of the season.
“It was just sitting under Ja’Had (Carter) and I had to just yank it a little bit, then I had it,” he said. “I don’t even know how to explain it. I haven’t felt that since little league, but it’s amazing.”
It put the Buckeyes up 49-10, and was Williams first time scoring at Ohio State, but even without that play he would have already been one of the Buckeyes top performers in the 53-point win over the Hilltoppers. He finished with seven tackles (two solo), his first sack of the season and the fumble recovery.
Out of all defensive tackles for the Buckeyes, Williams played the most snaps with 50 in that game even though he said he’s still dealing with a knee injury that kept him out of practice in the preseason.
Williams said that he is learning to be a leader for the defensive tackle group by finding his voice, and by working hard in practice and staying conditioned well enough to stay on the field for as much as he has. He also credits that to his willingness to dive deeper into the film recently.
“I always watched film – everybody watches film – but I would just watch it here and there, a couple minutes every day,” he said. “Now I’m really into it. You can’t even get me off the film. I think it helps tremendously.”
Western Kentucky’s quarterback Austin Reed has NFL talent according to Ryan Day, but the defensive line was able to keep him in check by keeping pressure on him throughout the game. He wasn’t able to go through his reads and had to get rid of the ball quickly so he wouldn’t be taken down in the pocket, which is the reason Williams gave for the lack of sacks for the defensive ends.
“People know what we’re capable of so they game plan against that, quick passes and stuff,” he said. “You can’t expect (the defensive ends) to get there, he’s throwing the ball in like two seconds. It’s impossible.”
This week against Notre Dame is going to be a tougher matchup with its offensive line. The Fighting Irish starting running back Audric Estime is averaging 8.3 yards per carry through four games. Quarterback Sam Hartman has also been able to take his time in the pocket and has had a lot of success throwing the deep ball.
It’s going to be a test for the Ohio State front four. Williams thinks they’re ready for it, but he did give them credit for how good they have been.
“They’re definitely a bigger line,” he said. “They work together really well. They do a lot of eye candy, so you have to really focus on what they’re actually doing. They’re really physical.
“I think we’re ready for it. We’ve played teams like this before. Very good O-line, good running back, good scheme, a lot of counter, a lot of inside zone. When we get on the field it will be a good game.”