COLUMBUS - The game was never in doubt for Ohio State Saturday against Youngstown State, but the season might be.
With the Buckeyes leading 26-0 in the third quarter, star tailback Chris Wells took a handoff at the YSU two yard line and fell to the ground in pain without even being hit. He coughed up the ball and clutched at his right leg as the OSU trainers sprinted from the sideline.
He was helped to the sideline, where the trainers examined his foot and ankle before carting him off to the locker room. He returned at the start of the fourth quarter under his own power, but with his foot in a boot and a serious limp. He was consoled on the sideline by a number of teammates, including Wilson and wideout Brian Robiskie, both of whom had rushed on to the field earlier when he went down.
There were fears he could be lost for the season, but coach Jim Tressel said in his post-game press conference that X-rays came back negative on what is now being ruled as a foot injury. The exact nature of the injury remains unknown, and Tressel did not rule out the possibility that Wells could be ready to play in time for next week's game against Ohio University.
The junior from Akron had racked up 111 yards on 13 carries in the game; including a 43-yard jaunt up the middle of the Penguin' defense for a touchdown in the first quarter to give the Buckeyes a 7-0 lead in the game.
Assuming he scored on that play, it likely would have been the last carry of the game for Beanie anyways. Instead he was helped off the field by a trainer and teammate Lawrence Wilson - who suffered a season-ending injury in this game a year ago when he broke his right leg in the second quarter against Youngstown State.
Wells is coming off a sophomore season in which he rushed for 1,609 yards and 15 touchdowns while battling an injured ankle and two injured wrists. He had surgery in the off-season to repair one of the wrists and was said to be 100 percent healthy entering the 2008 season by the OSU coaching staff.
Brandon Castel is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.