Indiana Quotebook: Kamryn Babb’s Touchdown Was “Magical,” C.J. Stroud is “Willing to Die For This Team” And Ohio State is “Hoping” To Get Several Injured Running Backs Healthy

By Griffin Strom on November 13, 2022 at 8:35 am
Kam Babb, C.J. Stroud
Adam Cairns, Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State’s 56-14 win featured multiple plays that are sure to show up on an end-of-year highlight reel for the Buckeyes.

But Kamryn Babb’s first career touchdown catch (and first reception in general) may top the list. After undergoing recoveries for four separate ACL tears since his final year of high school, the Buckeye captain finally got his moment in his fifth season as a Buckeye. Babb hauled in an eight-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Hoosiers, his first in-game action in two years, and the moment was emotional for all parties involved.

After the game, Ryan Day called it “one of the great accomplishments” during his tenure at Ohio State.

“What happened today in this stadium was magical. That’s what college football means to a lot of people. Not everybody, but to a lot of people. That’s one of the reasons why college football is special. It’s one of the reasons why you coach – to see something like that happen. Hopefully there’s somebody else out there that’s going through tough times that can see that as a motivation to overcome. Because it’s one thing to see that little bit right there but it’s all the morning workouts he had with (trainer) Adam Stewart. It’s all the mornings waking up on crutches. It’s the disappointment because that’s not what you picture when you graduate high school and sign with Ohio State. It was something special that went on on the field out there and you can see it with our team and I’m just really happy for him. Just really selfishly proud to be part of a moment like that, to see someone overcome such great obstacles in life. 

“I just can’t say enough about it, because there will be great wins and there’ll be great accomplishments here at Ohio State, but what he’s overcome is one of the great accomplishments and it’s not something that people will see. But at least they were able to be a part of that right there. And you know, those who are in the stadium were able to be a part of it because that’s as special (a moment) as I’ve been around.”

Babb said he dreamt of the moment for five years, and the deeply religious wideout got to celebrate his touchdown in exactly the manner he always hoped to; honoring his faith.

“The past five years, that’s always what’s been a dream of mine: that whenever I catch a touchdown, whatever it is, to get on my knees, and give it to Him; to Jesus Christ. That’s the only hope that I truly have. I love football, I love what you can do for so many people that you know. It is a world with a whole bunch of stuff going on and so many people need hope. So if I could give in shine, the light that Jesus had given me, give that to others. I think that was my responsibility. So that moment has kind of been in my mind for the past five years.”

Babb, this season’s Block O jersey recipient, said his faith got him through his repeated injury setbacks more than anything.

“I would say I love football, but it’s been mostly faith. Knowing that when I truly surrendered my life to Jesus and he showed me his love and who he is, I just wanted to share that with the world. It’s such a big platform in Ohio State. I just thought, you know, if it doesn’t work out, then he’s still good. He’s still King, still Lord, and my Savior, it doesn’t really matter if it works out in a way that I think it can. There’s so many people that I can turn to him, you know, and I think there’s a lot of sadness and stuff going on in the world and I just wanted to be able to tell people about what Jesus has done in my life.”

C.J. Stroud said he’s bonded with Babb over religion and football since his first year on campus and was thrilled to help make the moment happen, even if he was nervous he’d mess it up.

“When I saw the coverage that we got and seeing that leverage that we had a corner, I was like “Oh no, I better not screw this up for my guy.” So, I’m happy to have made the throw. Honestly, words can’t describe it. I really honestly don’t care if I threw eight picks in the game. When you see someone like that who has been through all that he has been through, and still helps the team and pushes Christ. He has inspired me. We were just happy for my guy.”

Stroud threw five touchdowns Saturday to bounce back from his career-worst passing performance against Northwestern, but for the second straight week, he also showed off an increased willingness to use his legs to pick up yardage. Stroud lowered his shoulder to finish off one run on the game-opening drive, and might have broken off a huge touchdown run in the second half if he hadn’t stepped out of bounds on the sideline.

“I feel like I’m pretty decent at running the ball. I am willing to do anything we need. I’m willing to die for this team, so whatever we need I am ready to do. I’m ready to fight for my brothers.”

Ohio State had a season-best day on the ground, racking up 340 yards and three scores, but Miyan Williams’ suffered an injury in the second quarter that caused him to be carted off the field. Given that TreVeyon Henderson and Chip Trayanum were already unavailable coming into the game, Ohio State was shorthanded at running back in the final half, to say the least.

But the Buckeyes made due, and Day didn’t seem to be panicking about the number of injuries at the position after the game.

“I think it’s pretty remarkable that we have that many guys who are capable. But whether it’s Trey (Henderson), Miyan (Williams) or Chip (Trayanum), you’re hoping to get all these guys back up as soon as we can. It’s been frustrating. Obviously not having a full-strength room there. I guess the positive spin on that is we’ve been able to keep it going. But yeah, I think Dallan (Hayden) had some really nice runs today. I thought he got into a rhythm. He had a nice run early on, got the first touchdown run, bounced around – nice job with the vision on that, overall ran hard. Even a couple of those runs there in the fourth quarter – I thought he finished those runs. If it was a three-yard run, he was finishing at six.”

On defense, Jack Sawyer had a standout performance, finishing with 1.5 sacks and three total tackles. The Buckeyes held Indiana under 275 yards of total offense and limited the Hoosiers to just two scores on the day. Sawyer said the Ohio State defense is coming together at the perfect time, and it’s hard to argue with the results.

“I think there is a lot of stuff to work on, but we’re starting to beat to the same tune and make plays. We’re all figuring out the defense as we’re going and we’re playing good football at the best time – in November. I feel like we’re clicking at the right time.”

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