Midway through the third quarter of Saturday’s showdown between #9 Ohio State and archrival Michigan, the Buckeyes looked like they might be in serious trouble.
Already trailing the Wolverines 20-14, starting quarterback J.T. Barrett went down with a knee injury, and it was quickly apparent that he would not return to the game.
That put not only the outcome of the season’s biggest game, but also Ohio State’s playoff hopes, squarely in the hands of redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins.
He entered the game with the Bucks facing a 3rd-and-1 at their own 31 yard line and immediately helped engineer a drive that turned the game around.
“It was really unreal, honestly,” said Haskins. “You would think that I would be nervous, but honestly I wasn’t.”
Part of not feeling the pressure was all the other things he had to worry about when he stepped into the huddle.
“The first thing I got told by Billy (Price) was ‘clap loud’ (to signal the snap). So I just forgot we were down by anything,” Haskins said.
His first play was a handoff to J.K. Dobbins, who converted the 3rd-and-1 to give the Buckeyes and their new quarterback a fresh set of downs.
“After that first handoff, I think it was J.K. that got the first down. It was like alright, we’ve got the ball rolling now. It’s first down, I can actually start the drive. After that play it was like let’s keep moving this, let’s go score,” Haskins said.
The crucial play of both that drive and also the game, came on 3rd-and-13 from the OSU 47. The Buckeyes had just suffered back-to-back false start penalties, turning a very manageable 3rd-and-3 into a much uglier situation.
Haskins found his roommate, Austin Mack, down the right sideline for a 27-yard gain. Mack absorbed a vicious shot and held onto the ball to pick up a huge first down.
“It’s 3rd-and-long and we needed a big play. Somebody had to make a play,” said Mack. “They called an isolation pass to me, a fade route, and I went up and made a play.”
Haskins said it wasn’t a coincidence that he turned to Mack in a crucial spot.
“I love all my receivers, but I definitely have a special connection with Austin,” Haskins said. “We had to make a play and it was one-on-one and I’ll take my boy any time.”
After a short gain by J.K. Dobbins, Haskins scrambled 22 yards down to the Michigan 1. The Buckeyes scored on the next snap to take the lead for good. The young quarterback’s play left his veteran center very impressed.
“He’s very calm and cool when he’s back there,” Price said. “The kid’s a gifted freak athlete. You see what he did (on 3rd-and-13) and he’s able to convert on that as a 19, 20 year old young man, that’s incredible. I just told him, trust the offensive line, trust us, we’re getting the job done up front. You just make good decisions and don’t turn the ball over and we’ll be in good shape.”
Urban Meyer said the key was to keep things simple to let Haskins get into the rhythm of the game.
“We didn’t want to put him in harm’s way. You saw, we were somewhat conservative at the beginning to let him settle in,” said Meyer.
“We had two or three first downs and then he hit that one play which was phenomenal to Austin Mack and did a heck of a job. And then he scrambled for a big hit. And he took care of the ball, that was the number one thing. He took care of the ball.”
Haskins finished 6-for-7 passing for 93 yards, and added three rushes for 24 yards, and after the 31-20 win was complete, the magnitude of that performance was still sinking in.
“It’s crazy to go win the biggest rivalry in sports,” Haskins said. “I never thought it would be a reality.”
Haskins saved the day in spite of our play calling which made his job a lot harder than it had to be. Would not let the kid pass unless everyone knew it was a passing down and he still succeeded in spite of his coaching attack.
I will help Tony on the 10 things we learned from The Game.
1. Kevin Wilson has been abducted by aliens. I do not know who called our plays this game but it definitely was not the cat calling plays for Indiana in the past.
2. Apparently there is a law not a rule but a law that we are not allowed to have Dobbins and Weber in the backfield at the same time.
3. Once again with JT we had zero vertical passing game, and if you play a strong team with no vertical passing game we will be embarrassed once again.
4. Any win against Michigan is so sweet.
Can I add point 5 for tony? The law also states that J.T. must have more carries every tight game than Weber and Dobbins combined. Had J.T. not left the game I guarantee he would’ve had more carries than the running backs combined AND he never makes that third and thirteen throw to Mack which extended that TD drive. One of the reasons he had such a great game against psu was because he pulled the trigger and trusted his throws. Then he throws six picks in the next two games and puckers up again.
Great win. I’ll take an 11 point victory over fraudbaugh any day. However the play calling most of the game drove me nuts. When J.T. is in the game and it’s tight here comes the designed qb runs. Everyone knows it. When he leaves, we start to give the ball to our two very good tailbacks and let the O line start to do their thing. And 3 for 8 passing for 30 yards through almost 3 quarters? The shallow crossing routes that Haskins was hitting weren’t there against their man coverage the entire game? The entire offense looked slow and confused most of the game. No tempo whatsoever. Defensively lucky for us O’Korn can’t pass. They had open receivers especially TEs over the middle many times that were missed. We will see more of this Saturday guaranteed. And can we please tackle? Their long punt return was just ridiculous. Five missed tackles?
Barrett is one of the best QB Ohio State has had, but when he is the qb against Clemson, Oklahoma, Iowa and forces things, they struggle . QB makes a huge difference Michigan and Green Bay are great examples. Do not believe we would won without Haskins, my only complaint is why do we have to run on 1st and 2nd down so we are always 3rd on long with Haskins, seemed the flat and crossing pattern were working
Agree totally. The Play calling dysfunction ended when Haskins came in. Crazy.
Ya, they probably averages 2 yards on first down with Haskins in the game, but they probably managed -5 with Barrett in. Second and 8 ions the playbook, second and 15 lets the other team pin their was back and just get after you.
With J.T. Barrett in the game for 36 ,omits 14 points and a lot of east /west. Haskins in the game for 24 minutes, more north south and 17 points. The big question against Wisconsin will they go with what works. North south on first and second pass or QB run of something on 3rd.
I don’t care if it looks pedestrian, it’s good football. -6 yards in the first quarter. A true testament to how bad the coaching would be if they were never losing. They play solid football because they have to. It’s too bad they don’t realize they have to at the start of the game, not after they are down 14-0. If they give Wisconsin 14-0 there’s a good chance they never catch up. Sometimes you get behind by 14 and you win, because someone throws 16 straightt completions. Sometimes you get down 14 and you lose 31-0.
The coaches need to wake up for game time for Wisconsin. and Kevin Wilson’s suggestion that the failures going east/west set up the inside running game is nonsense. Getting the O-line in the game with some north south running sets the tone for the whole game. All the east/west thing does is help you to -6 yards for quarter, when you probably could have had over 100, just doing what everyone else does.
I agree. If Haskins doesn’t play next week, we will lose. We need a vertical passing game and J.T. just doesn’t have it in him. Dull, boring, run the Qb offense doesn’t get it done nowadays. Go Bucks. Beat wisky! 59-0
The best part of this weekend is reading the whinerines fans’ postgame laments.
Hey Duane- if you want a guilty pleasure, go to the Detroit Free Press sports page and click the icon for “Wolverines”. Then, read the stories about the game. You will be amazed by their deluded writing. You will find numerous excuses about UM having a “young” team, their hurt QBs (nobody ever has a hurt QB, right OSU fans), how Hairball is a wonderful coach who just hasn’t reached his potential yet, and of course how good UM was 100 years ago. (Its like looking at a train wreck, you know you shouldn’t look but you keep on doing it anyway.) They think they are respected and feared because of the helmet they wear, but the truth is they are merely despised because their belief is empty and misguided. Next to Ped State, they are most delusional fan base in the country. All OSU fans should try very hard NOT to be like them. GO BUCKS!!
Yes, Haskins was phenomenal under pressure, especially. the throw to Mack. However, let’s not forget Mike Weber’s touchdown run to seal the deal.
An apt title, Tom. I am a huge OSU fan and strive for objectivity. To anyone out there who would care to remember this game accurately, OSU’s offense progressed only because JT’s injury forced Ohio State into playing like a REAL offense under Haskins, not the gimmicky side show act we so often see. The first two and a half quarters were vomitous copycat editions of the Iowa, OU, and Penn State games, nothing more. The coaches know this to be the case but ignore it and hope for different results. Don’t be surprised if Urban Meyer bends over backward to downplay Haskin’s GREAT effort because it interferes with his outdated agenda- after all, he doesn’t look like a coaching legend when the team obviously wins IN SPITE OF his coaching. Next week’s game will likely be against the best coached and effective team OSU has played all season. Can we PLEASE eliminate the parallel passes and empty backfield QB runs for Wisky? It seems to work pretty well when we lose those pages in the playbook.
And before some chucklehead has the chance to write it, NO- I did not want JT to get hurt or “like” it when he was hurt. I have consistently defended JT in my comments, so I’ll crush that thought process before it starts. My mind is just boggled that these coaches- or, more accurately, the head coach- seem stuck in rewind as far as offensive planning against the better teams OSU faces. The nonsense “plan” simply does NOT work when the other team has a pulse. OSU has flatly been bailed out twice this year by teams who weren’t good enough to take what was being handed to them- UM and PSU. It has been bitten twice by teams that did take it when offered- Iowa and OU. None of these squads have the talent that OSU does, but it sure doesn’t look that way on the field. Glad OSU won, just think its important to point out that they won because their offensive staff was utterly forced to play honest football.
I understand your dismay, but the players have to execute. That “empty backfield QB run” worked quite effectively even when everyone knew because of the players EXECUTING THE PLAY. The armchair is quite cozy when perched on a high horse.
Hey C Stanley- are prescriptions really pricey for those rose colored glasses?
Longtime, think about it. When the “Trilogy” started, that’s when the staff were forced into doing things that otherwise may not have produced a NC. I’m with you. Both of your posts have taken the words straight off my keyboard, if I were to write these same sentiments. In fact, I’ll go one step further. For the Wisky game, I would be COMPLETELY COMFORTABLE for Haskins to be the QB. I realize the potential trade-offs involved with that and I am perfectly willing to accept that. But, we have to trust the coaches for now to get us to victory. I’m just hoping beyond hope that we fans don’t end up feeling that knot-in-the-stomach frustration to start games that has become a pattern this season…and for the previous 2. I love Urban Meyer as much as any coach who’s ever been at OSU. But, if there’s one knock on him, it is that he is frequently his own worst enemy. I am already looking forward to next season and a fresh, new start at QB and, hopefully, with the offense.
Hi Bluegrass- good to read some RATIONAL commentary. Koolaid drinkers mistakenly take these kinds of criticisms as a sign of dislike for the team, when in fact its the exact opposite. The pattern you mentioned is very real, its not a figment of the imagination. The funny thing is, OSU is well known for producing NFL caliber talent on a routine basis at every position except one- the QB. Yet our head coach insists on focusing on that player almost, quite literally, to the exclusion of other outstanding players on the offense. Hyde complained about it, so did Zeke- and if that’s not good enough, the cock eyed optimists can just look at the game results against good teams. We can beat UNLV 5 million to 0, but when the opponent is good, the winning percentage drops like a brick. Love JT, don’t love “the plan”. Good news is we have the talent to fix it, bad news is the guys in charge somehow can’t see the problem.
Good point on 2014. Since cardale really wasn’t a running threat other than scrambling all of that empty set totally predictable quarterback run crap went out the door. Forced us to change and just give the damn ball to Zeke and the slobs. What happened? A good running back blossomed into a superstar in three games on our way to the title. We’ve got the backs now to do the same thing and dominate if our play calling would just get the hell out of the way. Love Meyer and wouldn’t want anyone else but his stubbornness with respect to running J.T. drives me nuts. Same stubbornness with his kickoff team which almost cost us the psu game. Can anyone say at least one kickoff out of bounds almost every game?
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