Sore-footed Wells ready for big game against PSU

Published 1:20 am Friday, October 24, 2008

Chris ‘‘Beanie’’ Wells is sore all over. His foot still hurts from an injury that sidelined him three games, and aches and pains still linger from last week’s season-high 31 carries.

And especially when he’s black and blue, Wells relishes the thrill of a big game.

That comes Saturday when No. 10 Ohio State hosts No. 3 Penn State in a game that could decide the Big Ten championship.

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‘‘All my life I’ve loved big games,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s something that I guess you could say that I’m made for. I like to think that I’m made to play on the big stage.’’

Last weekend, Wells rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-7 rout of No. 20 Michigan State. It was the first time he carried more than 22 times in a game all season.

‘‘Beanie was sorer after 31 carries than he was after 20, which is understandable,’’ coach Jim Tressel said. ‘‘You get hit 11 times by a truck, it hurts more.’’

Wells, one of 11 kids who grew up in a scarlet and gray house in Akron, Ohio, is used to taking and inflicting hits. And that worries his Penn State counterpart.

‘‘He’s a great back,’’ said Penn State’s Evan Royster. ‘‘He’s got speed and power. He’s the whole package. It’s going to be tough to stop him.’’

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound junior is averaging 124 yards rushing a game — just like a year ago when he had 1,609 yards despite playing with a twisted ankle and a broken bone in his hand for most of the season.

Ohio State’s offense has rebounded since Wells returned for the start of Big Ten play.

‘‘Even that little bit of time when he was hurt, I could definitely see that he was still into it, that he was still involved,’’ wide receiver Brian Robiskie said. ‘‘Just these past couple of weeks watching him get back out there, you can really see he’s getting comfortable. It’s exciting.’’

Wells is wearing a pair of ‘‘lineman’s cleats’’ with a special steel insert that is supposed to help protect the foot he injured in the season-opener against Youngstown State. They’re heavier than his pre-injury pair, which were similar to track shoes.

No problem. Any lingering aches and pains don’t worry Tressel.

‘‘He seemed a little sore on Sunday because he’d carried it 31 times. That’s a bunch,’’ Tressel said Thursday. ‘‘I’m sure that (two-time Heisman Trophy winner) Archie Griffin could tell you that on Sundays and Mondays and Tuesday, sometimes it’s ’I don’t know if I’m going to be ready.’ Then Wednesday comes around, and you get that little burst of adrenalin and your body has quieted down from those hits. (Beanie) looked to me like he was ready to go.’’