Brad Bournival

Columbus: The glitch is back and the Ohio State football team is rolling because of it.

Curtis Samuel, whose high school coaches called him “faster than a glitch in a video game,” has taken over the role of H-back in Urban Meyer’s offense and is reaping the benefits.

Meyer has always loved the hybrid position, dating back to his days at Florida with Percy Harvin.

While that name gets thrown around all the time in comparisons, Meyer believes he’s found the perfect fit to his offense in Samuel.

“He’s the first true hybrid I’ve had in a while where he’s big enough,” Meyer said. “Dontre [Wilson] is close, too, he’s up to 197, 198 pounds. Both those guys give us a little bit of a 1-2 punch back there.”

That punch has been more Samuel than anything else. A 5-foot-11, 197-pound junior, Samuel has caused countless matchup problems.

Add his incredible speed and it’s almost an injustice to match Samuel up against a linebacker on a Buckeyes offense that is geared to exploit mismatches.

“I think that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for really since we got here,” Meyer said. “We did it with Philly Brown, but Brown wasn’t the inside threat that he was. Dontre Wilson certainly wasn’t.

“With Dontre, he’s actually a threat inside. Like I said earlier, that’s a magical position. A little bit like one of those tight ends that can also run like the wind but also block. Those are those hybrid positions that defenses have a hard time matching up with.”

Samuel enters Saturday’s game with Rutgers ranked sixth in the nation in yards from scrimmage with 519.

It’s a statistic that comes with an asterisk, as his versatility as both a receiver and running back are so close just one yard separates his receiving numbers (259) from his rushing numbers (260).

Of those ahead of him, Syracuse’s Amba Etta-Tawo has all his yards receiving.

Only Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey (436 yards rushing, 119 receiving) and Middle Tennessee State’s I’Tavius Mathers (447, 260) really compare to Samuel.

Mathers is one of three players ahead of Samuel who has played one more game than the Buckeyes.

Samuel has likened his enhanced role to riding a bike and getting back to the days when he starred at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“He can run our whole offense,” Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford said. “If that’s the analogy he used, that makes sense to me. You just have to get back on the horse and you go. He’s done a nice job and hopefully those things will continue.

“He’s a faster Theo Riddick [who starred at Notre Dame] and I’ve said that from the first day I got here. If I had to compare someone that I’ve been associated with, that would be the guy. But he’s a faster Theo.”

Samuel holds the longest play from scrimmage for Ohio State this season, a 79-yard touchdown against Bowling Green, and five of the top nine longest catches. He also owns the second-longest run, making him the perfect complement in the rushing game to Mike Weber.

“We like that part of our offense being that they’re both very talented,” Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett said. “They can catch it out of the backfield and do different things. We don’t want to get away from that by any means. It opens up more things in our offense in terms of mismatch problems with Curtis on a linebacker. It presents problems for defenses and is something we look forward to executing and exploiting.”