Williams’ return provides an integral spark to the Ohio State run game, as he is the Buckeyes’ leading rusher (783 yards). His 6.7 yards per carry is best among the team’s tailbacks and ranks No. 5 in the country.
The 5-foot-9, 225-pound tailback, who has emerged as one of the country’s most rugged runners this season, is expected to be relied on for a heavier load against Michigan, as sophomore TreVeyon Henderson will not play because of a lingering foot issue. Ohio State will also again be without star wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who has been out since Oct. 22 with a hamstring issue that has limited him to three games this year.
Williams missed last week’s game at Maryland with a lower body injury after being carted off the field against Indiana on Nov. 12. Sources told ESPN that he has looked sharp in practice this week, building up to taking full reps and running strong by the end of the week.
This will mark the fourth game that Henderson has missed this season with his foot injury, and he appeared hampered by it in an 11-carry performance for 19 yards against Maryland. He watched the second half from the sideline with his left foot in a walking boot.
In Henderson’s absence last week, freshman tailback Dallan Hayden authored his second straight 100-yard game. After running for 102 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries against Indiana, Hayden carried the load for Ohio State in the Maryland win with 146 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries.
Ohio State starting right guard Matt Jones is also a game-time decision. Jones suffered an injury late in last week’s win over Maryland and was on crutches after the game.