Football Hayes & Cannon

The Best Season No One Outside of Columbus Saw

Parris Campbell Ohio State Football Buckeyes

This season was not a mirage. Like the Michigan game, it was real and it was awesome.

The Ohio State offense was the most impressive thing we have seen in school history. We knew it would be like this coming into the year. The Buckeyes had a very experienced wide receiver room, a dynamic 1-2 punch at running back, and a young quarterback with more throwing ability than we have ever seen at Ohio State.

Whatever we thought about the offense coming into the season, we still grossly underestimated it.

In the preseason, I predicted Haskins would break every Ohio State passing record and I was still underselling things by 1,200 passing yards and over 10 touchdowns.

None of us could have predicted what was going to happen offensively (or defensively for that matter). We all watched it with our own eyes, but do we really understand what we just witnessed?


In my preseason prediction article, I was obviously pretty high on Haskins.

“The redshirt sophomore out of Maryland is probably the most NFL-type QB the Buckeyes have had in a very long time. At 6’3” and 218 pounds, Haskins has the combination of size, smarts, intelligence, and arm strength every team dreams of. The question with Haskins will be if he can put it all together in his first season as starter.”

Haskins answered all of this question and then laughed his way to New York. A mere 13 starts to his credit as a collegiate quarterback, Haskins has catapulted his way to the top (or near the top) of the record books.

Within the Big Ten single-season record book, Haskins is:

  • 3rd in Pass Completions (14 away from the record)
  • 9th in Pass Attempts (70 away)
  • 5th in Pass Completion Percentage
  • 1st in Pass Yards (595 ahead of previous record holder)
  • 1st in Pass TDs (8 ahead of previous record holder)
  • 2nd in Pass Efficiency Rating

In all, the Ohio State quarterback room led by Haskins combined for the type of numbers your created quarterback did in NCAA Football.



The perception was that the running game struggled this season, which was hard to deny at times. Even sitting here today, most of us feel a little disappointed by the running game this year. With that said, it wasn’t that bad at all compared to most other teams.

I think we all struggle with our scarlet lenses and what we have seen in the past. This combined with the dynamic passing output causes the running back stats to fall a little.

At the end of the season, Ohio State finished seventh in the Big Ten in rushing offense per game at a little under 176 yards per game.

In the preseason, I predicted the running back duo to dominate. Having them combine for over 2,700 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns may have been a tad overzealous, but whatevs. Even with the whiff, the running back duo of Weber and Dobbins stepped up big time this year when needed. For the season, the co-starters combined for:


With over 2,200 total yards and 17 touchdowns from the “starting” running back, we really don’t have room to complain about their production too much.


Dwayne Haskins was able to dominate the way he did because of the experience, skill, and leadership that came from the wide receiver room. Just think, seven seasons ago the leading receiver for Ohio State was a three-way tie between Devin Smith, Corey Brown, and Jake Stoneburner. Each of these three had 14 receptions on the season.

This season there were nine players who had over 14 receptions and two more right outside of that window. Just like at running back, I like to keep the wide receivers in groups of two (three at WR1) and count them as one receiver to showcase the production from the position due to Ohio State rotating out personnel more than most.

Ohio State quit using x and y designations on their depth chart so I will too. We will simply break it down to WR1, WR2, and H-Back.

WR 1 (Mack, Victor, Olave)578488
WR 2 (McLaurin, Dixon)741,31118
H-Back (Campbell, Hill)1441,80317

With approximately 47 seniors in the wide receiver room, many people expected a breakout year, but no one could have expected the dominance here. The four main upperclassmen of the group (McLaurin, Dixon, Campbell, and Hill) combined for an amazing 218 catches, 3,114 yards, and 35 touchdowns.

There are no adequate words to express how good those four were this season. They will be missed next season. It’s amazing what competent coaching can do.


I’ll be the first to admit there were times I wanted to throw things at my television. As explosive as this offense was, I/we still always wanted more.

Sitting back and looking at the big picture, this was a season we may never see again.

Just think to yourself how you would respond if some fan of another team came up to you in the preseason and told you this:

We’re going to have a quarterback throw for almost 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. Then we’re going to have a running back that runs for almost 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns. Finally, we will have one wide receiver catch almost 150 balls and two receivers have over 1,300 yards receiving. Oh, by the way, both of those receivers will catch at least 17 touchdowns.

You would look that Michigan fan square in the eyes and laugh. This season was amazing. Don’t let the media, the pollsters, or the playoff committee take that away from you.  You may never see it again.

12 Responses

  1. What all did see was an O and team that struggled with teams we should have blown out. The D kept us in many of those games and inside the twenty it was a dead zone and an O that cou look dnt run against poor running Ds.

  2. Paris went from inconsistent to reliable, explosive burner. All receiver did very well. They all came back and made us proud. I wish them all the success in their NFL careers and in their lives.

  3. I am really pulling for Haskins to join that very elite 5000/50 club so it is easy for me to remember just how good his year was.

  4. Yep, the offense was fantastic. Sadly the defense was lower than a sleeping rabbit in their hole.

  5. Remember after the spring game how some fans were calling for Joe Burrow because he had a better spring game? Boy how silly of those fans now. I guess the coaching staff knew who was better and it showed for both players this season.
    Haskins will likely be a top 10 pick this spring and Burrow will be chugging it out in Baton Rogue again.

    1. Not a valid comparison. Burrow had an average OL and a bunch of stiffs to throw to in Baton Rouge. Not saying he’d’ve had the season Dwayne had but there isn’t any way to know what he could’ve done here.

      1. Andrew is right Don. There is no way to really know how Burrow would of performed had he got the starting position.

  6. “This season was not a mirage. Like the Michigan game, it was real and it was awesome.”
    Nice lede. Best thing I’ve seen you write.

  7. What I forgot to add still a great year overall. 12-1 a big championship and kicking scUMs teeth in was an absolute thing of beauty. Did everyone see Winovich’s interview where he called the game a “mirage”. Really? Looked pretty real to me. Lets go win the Rose Bowl against a Washington team which looks like a good match up for our defense and send Urban out 13-1 in his final season.

  8. I wasn’t upset that we didn’t make the playoffs. As good as our offense was our defense was just nowhere close to a final four unit. Last in the country in explosive plays given up??? We may have been able to hang 30 on Alabama but they probably score 50 against this defense. Its too bad we didn’t have a typical Buckeye defense this year given Haskins and our receiving corp. Oklahoma is going to find out what happens in the playoff with a defense that gives up 40 plus a game. They’re going to get embarrassed but I’m sure the national talking heads won’t say a word about it ever again kind of like the Buckeyes in the 2016 playoff or the 2006 national championship game. We never heard another word about it for the next 5 years or so did we?

  9. What your article demonstrates is that this year’s Buckeye team was dominant at times. The problem was we lost by a bundle of points to an UNRANKED team. We just can’t do that and expect to be in the playoffs for the National Championship. I am certainly not smart enough to figure out what happened at Purdue and how we can avoid it this year. I sure hope Coach Day is.

  10. Agree, the offense was awesome! However, the defense was horrible and Schiano needs to go. I hope he gets the Temple job and he can take his crappy defense with him!

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