COLUMBUS – Nobody at Ohio State was happy after Michigan State’s 17-14 win over the Buckeyes on Saturday.
But probably no one was as angry as running back Ezekiel Elliott. At least no one was more vocal in expressing their anger.
In pre-game warm-ups, it was noticeable that Elliott was wearing a wrap on his leg. Afterward, he revealed that he had a scratch on his leg which turned into a skin infection that put him in the hospital last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
“I had a 103-degree fever. I couldn’t walk, it was so painful. Early last week on Monday and Tuesday, I didn’t think I was going to play. I was depressed in the hospital and crying like a baby,” he said.
Elliott was limited to 33 yards on 12 carries on a day when Ohio State had only five first downs and produced only 132 yards total offense. That ended a streak of 15 straight games of more than 100 yards rushing by OSU’s junior tailback.
But that wasn’t what had him fired up, either.
“Honestly, that’s not what I’m thinking about right now. I don’t care if I would have had 100 yards, I just wanted to win the game and keep our playoff hopes alive. I don’t know how it will all work out.”
What he was unhappy with was how he was used in the game.
“What happened today was kind of a bad dream. I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed in the play calling and the situation we were put in. I wish it had all played out differently,” Elliott said.
Elliott rushed for 33 yards on 12 carries. In the second half, he had two carries for three yards.
“Honestly, I go into every game planning to dominate. That hurts so bad. I honestly don’t know how to react right now. My grandpa was here from overseas. My grandpa lives in Finland. He came to this game and it hurt he has to see me go out like this. I just wish I was given an opportunity to do more,” Elliott said.
“I think I do deserve more than 12 carries. I think I really do. Honestly I can’t speak for the play-calling. I don’t know what was going on. I don’t know what they were seeing. Obviously it didn’t work out. It wasn’t working,” he said.
Both he and coach Urban Meyer insisted he was healthy and ready to carry the ball.
“He was fine. That was earlier in the week and he practiced Thursday. He’s a warrior. There were just so many people at the line of scrimmage we couldn’t control it,” Meyer said.
Elliott said he was lobbying for more carries “all game.”
“We’ll have some momentum, calling plays that work and we’ll kind of get away from it and try to get cute,” he said.
After expressing his displeasure and saying he will enter the NFL draft, Elliott promised to do better this Saturday against Michigan.
“Honestly, this is my last game in the Shoe. There’s no chance of me coming back next year. I have to make the most of my time left. I want to thank Buckeye Nation for making this place so special. I’m sorry about tonight. We’re going to come out a different team next week,” he said.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.