A year after an end to the season that had him win a major national award for best amateur athlete, Ezekiel Elliott's junior year hasn't culminated quite the way any of us -- including him -- had hoped.
Though he had an impressive streak of 100-yard rushing games that ended in Saturday's 17-14 loss to Michigan State, Elliott, who was one of the preseason Heisman favorites, has seemed to stay a steady distant second or third in recent weeks.
Even after Trevone Boykin and Leonard Fournette seemingly dropped back from the college football top award's collective spotlight after disappointing shows, Zeke never quite catapulted to the top of the straw polls.
After a performance that saw him only touch the ball 12 times for 33 yards, Elliott unloaded his frustration on the offensive brain trust of offensive coordinator Ed Warinner, co-offensive coordinator/QB coach Tim Beck, and head coach Urban Meyer:
#Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott:"coaching staff didn't put us in position to win. That's a team (Michigan State) we should beat." WOW— Rick Pizzo (@BTNRickPizzo) November 22, 2015
More #Buckeyes Elliott:"We should have run more power. We stopped calling plays that worked Disappointed by lack of effort from coaches."— Rick Pizzo (@BTNRickPizzo) November 22, 2015
Those sentiments don't seem a ton different from those of Ohio State faithful, but to hear it from a star player, particularly in the aftermath of a tough loss, is rather surprising to say the least.
Elliott: "I deserve more than 11 carries. I really do. I can't speak for the playcaller. I don't know what was going on."— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 22, 2015
Elliott: "We weren't put in position to win this game." Said he lobbied Meyer on sideline for calls and did not get them.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) November 22, 2015
Elliott strangely also admitted to having been hospitalized earlier in the week with a leg infection, something unknown prior to today's contest and also didn't exactly mince words about his future at Ohio State:
Ezekiel Elliott: "Honestly, that was my last game at the Shoe. There's no chance I'm coming back next year."— Austin Ward (@AWardESPN) November 22, 2015
It'll be interesting to see how the coaches handle some harsh public criticism from their star player, particularly with a big rivalry game still to come the weekend ahead.