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Player of the Week: Big Ten

The questions keep popping up, and Jordan Hall keeps shooting them down with emphatic answers.

Could the senior handle a full load and be an everydown back a year after being forced to redshirt due to a couple of injuries? Is he capable of finishing in the red zone? Is he even still a running back for Ohio State?

The Buckeyes handed him the football 30 times on the road against Cal, and he looked as fresh at the end of the game as he did at the start and added a few more explosive plays to a highlight reel that is well stocked through three weeks. Hall might not be the prototypical short-yardage back given his relatively small statute, but he punched in three more touchdowns in the easy win on Saturday evening. And at this point, it's pretty clear the Buckeyes are sold on Hall's ability in the backfield and can continue to feature him there as long as they'd like, though there's another question looming soon with projected starter Carlos Hyde returning from suspension.

But with Hall running as aggressively as he ever has in his career and coming off one of the best performances of his career in the 52-34 win over Cal, he hasn't given the Buckeyes much reason to shuffle their personnel in a deep, talented stable of rushers.

Another expected backup to Hyde in the preseason already returned from his own early suspension, and Rod Smith has barely been able to chip away at Hall's workload. In fact, with all those carries over the weekend and five more touches as a receiver, Hall's influence actually expanded as he accounted for 188 yards of total offense and those three scores. And now with 402 yards with two more games still to play in September, it's Hall who is ahead of the pace to finally give coach Urban Meyer the first 1,000-yard running back of his career.

Much of the attention thus far has focused on the quarterbacks, and with Braxton Miller injured with a knee sprain, Kenny Guiton deserved the limelight after breaking out with a record-setting effort leading the spread offense as a starter. But the Buckeyes proved late in the season a year ago that the attack needed more than one threat to truly become dangerous, and back then it was Hyde taking the pressure off and thriving as the top option at running back.

But the first three weeks have belonged to Hall, and after his latest eye-catching outing, there might be no need for the Buckeyes to take the ball out of his hands.