BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Urban Meyer kept trying to lower the expectations surrounding freshman running back J.K. Dobbins before No. 2 Ohio State’s season opener.

He has no chance of keeping his newest offensive weapon a secret anymore.

After rushing for 181 yards and breaking Maurice Clarett’s 15-year-old school record for a freshman debut, the Buckeyes will try to figure out how best to deploy their newest star and last season’s top runner, Mike Weber, together.

“J.K. Weber,” Meyer cracked when asked who would start next weekend against No. 7 Oklahoma .

Funny, yes. But it’s no joke.

While Ohio State players and coaches were thrilled Dobbins got the Buckeyes’ offense in sync and on track, Weber, the Big Ten’s 2016 freshman of the year, sat out with a hamstring injury. The result: He’s fighting to keep the starting job and at the very least appears headed to a timeshare.

Weber could have played in Thursday night’s 49-21 victory at Indiana. Meyer said the sophomore was 80 percent and “on call.”

But rather than risk injury, Meyer opted to give Weber a few more days off so he could be closer to 100 percent for next weekend’s even more daunting challenge against the Sooners.

Weber rushed for 1,093 yards last season as the Buckeyes reached the College Football Playoff.

And now, with quarterback J.T. Barrett still behind center, Meyer could have a knockout combination in his backfield.

“We get Mike back next week and that is going to be a nice one-two punch,” Meyer said after the game. “J.K. has even more in the tank. I don’t think he had a big hit tonight. His long was only 35 yards, and he has breakaway speed. He was close a few times.”

That’s scary stuff for the rest of the Big Ten.

OFFICIALLY, THE College Football Playoff is still four months away.No matter. This feels like a postseason game.

No. 1 vs. No. 3. At a neutral site. In a brand new stadium, no less.

Top-ranked Alabama, getting started on its annual quest for a national title after having the last one snatched away with 1 second to go, faces Florida State on Saturday night in a season-opening throwdown. It’s the first matchup ever between two top-three teams in the Associated Press preseason rankings – that could have an impact all the way through to the day they hand out those coveted playoff invitations.

Alabama’s Nick Saban did his best to pooh-pooh the significance of the game.

“Look, it’s a long season,” Saban said. “We’re going to have 12, 13, 14 games, maybe 15, I don’t know. What happens in the first game is certainly important, but we’re going to have lots of press conferences in this room and you’re going to ask me the same question when we play the next big game. The only difference is that the next game that we play is going to be the biggest game for me.”

As if a matchup between national championship contenders wasn’t enough to turn the hype to full blast, this will be the first game that actually counts in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the $1.5 billion marvel in Atlanta.

TENNESSEE LINEBACKER Darrin Kirkland Jr.’s knee injury will prevent him from playing this season, leaving the No. 25 Volunteers without one of their projected top defenders.

Vols Coach Butch Jones announced the severity of Kirkland’s injury Friday. Jones said Wednesday that Kirkland had undergone meniscus surgery earlier that day but said at the time there wasn’t yet a timetable for the junior’s potential return.