Football Hayes & Cannon

Dwayne Haskins Should Win the Heisman Trophy But He Won’t

Ohio State football quarterback Dwayne Haskins

Let’s just fast-forward to Saturday night.

We’ve spent the last 17 hours of the pre-show with the focus on how Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa are the front-runners for the Heisman Trophy.

Every now and then, ESPN will cut to Dwayne Haskins. Not because they are talking about his historic season. They simply want to turn their discussion to Urban Meyer. Stories about him retiring and where they think he will go next after his “medical” condition clears.

The show ends as Dwayne Haskins finishes in a distant third place with maybe one first-place vote.

Most of America will eat this up. They don’t consider Haskins a REAL Heisman Trophy contender and they love to hear people slander Urban Meyer. It’s the world we live in. I’ve got a problem with this though because Dwayne Haskins should be the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner.

Any average quarterback can eat below-average defenses alive. This does not make you a good quarterback.

Heck, even Alex Hornibrook was able to break the 250 yard barrier against the 97th-ranked pass defense of Western Kentucky. This doesn’t magically make him serviceable.

There is so much information available at our finger tips but voters don’t care. This is why we fans need to pay close attention to the details. Don’t worry about what the national media is feeding you. Don’t worry about Oklahoma fans jumping down your throat because their Heisman Trophy contender has to get back to the Wonka factory.

Stats tell you everything you need to know and the stats tell you Dwayne Haskins should be the Heisman winner.

The average pass defenses Murray faced this year were ranked 86th.

To put that in perspective, the other two contenders faced only four teams all season who were ranked 86th or lower. Murray faced two Top 50 defenses the entire season, and only one of those teams were Power 5. Neither of those teams were ranked inside the Top 25 for pass defense.

As you will later see, Murray’s stats against these two teams were way lower than his normal season output. I’ll even include his rushing stats in an attempt to help him out. It won’t.

Tua on the other hand faced quite a few good pass defenses. The average pass defense he faced was ranked 58th but there is a little asterisk with him. One of his games was against the Citadel, who is FCS, so they don’t show up on the rankings. With that said, even if the Citadel was the 129th-ranked pass defense in FBS (they wouldn’t be) he would still have an average pass defense faced of 64, which is more than respectable and on par with Haskins. During the season, Tagovailoa faced three Top-25 pass defenses (two power 5) and five Top-50 pass defenses (four power 5).

So where does Haskins fit into this? Much like Tua, Haskins faced three Top-25 pass defenses and five Top-50 pass defenses. Unlike Tua though, all of his were power 5 opponents. Overall, the average pass defense he faced was 66th.

Now that we know the level of competition each quarterback faced, let’s jump into how well each player did against them.


TAGOVAILOA36, 12, 1555663
TUA vs POWER 526,1532823
HASKINS32, 21, 22899131



MURRAY230, 40378 (122 rush)7 (1 rush)1
TAGOVAILOA56, 12, 15, 41, 441,078104
TUA vs POWER 546, 15, 41, 4485064
HASKINS52, 21, 22, 40, 431,648182

As you can see, it shouldn’t even be a competition for the Heisman Trophy.

Both Murray and Tagovailoa feasted on the subpar competition they faced and struggled against the good teams. Murray only faced two respectable pass defenses the entire season and averaged 250 yards of total offense against them with only 189 per game coming through the air.

As big of a fan of Tua as I am, he struggled big time against his tough competition. He faced two Power 5 Top 25 pass defenses and only averaged 164 yards passing per game while throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. Against Power 5 Top 50 pass defenses, he only averaged 213 passing yards with a 6/4 TD/INT ratio.

Haskins, on the other hand, looked into a stiff pass defense and completely annihilated these defenses game after game. Against three Power 5 Top 25 pass defenses, Haskins averaged 300 passing yards per game with an impressive 13-1 TD/INT ratio. Lowering the competition level a little, he averaged 330 passing yards a game with an 18/2 TD/INT ratio when you look at the Top 50 pass defense competition he faced.

Saturday night, it should not be close.

This season, time and time again, Dwayne Haskins showed he was the best player in college football. Unfortunately for him, he is being punished for the unsubstantiated actions of his former head coach by the voters and national media. He has been blackballed, along with the entire team, and it is a damn shame.

39 Responses

  1. Brandon – great article. Any chance you can add the QBR to each line? That was the only stat the other two had over Dwayne, but maybe they were worse when facing good pass defenses.


    1. Hi Joe! Thanks! Below are the QBRs for each during these games:

      TT: Top 50 Pass Defenses (235.43, 129.47)
      Top 25 Pass Defenses (238.69 (non-power 5), 138.46, 92.30)

      KM: Top 50 Pass Defenses (218.40, 208.72)
      Top 25 Pass Defenses (None)

      DH: Top 50 Pass Defenses (156.58, 184.0)
      Top 25 Pass Defenses (229.44, 134.81, 235.69)

  2. Please do a followup article after the Rose Bowl. Washington has a great pass defense with guys in the secondary who will play on Sundays. Take a look at their stats this year. I am hopeful that Meyer and Day turn Haskins loose and he throws for at least 420 yards and 3 touchdowns. That would give him 5000 yards for the season and 50 touchdowns. Only a couple guys have done it and they did it against weak defenses or non power 5 teams and/or in air raid type offenses. You can then make a case that Haskins had the best year ever statistically.

  3. the trouble is that the talking heads of the national media do not base their comments in any substance, facts, stats or data. They just spew their opinions by trying to say it the loudest and the most often. Then all the other sheep in the national media just nod their heads in agreement. None of them bother to study the players before casting their ballots.

  4. The title of the article neatly sums it up, and the body is wonderful and thorough work. One candidate (Tua) played against a non rlelevant opponent and STUNK IT UP his final game. The other played in an Arena football league and Dwayne’s stats were STILL as impressive. The voters won’t let actual facts get in the way, though- we’ll get the “Can you imagine what Tua’s stats would have been if he played in more 4th quarters” argument, or the folks who ignore the utterly provable reality that NO ONE in the Big 12 even tips a cap toward playing defense. Remember, this is the same crowd that voted Eric Crouch the best football player in America at one time…

  5. Didn’t even mention Murray’s 207.5 QB rating.

    Tua: 202.3

    Haskins 175.8

    1. Fred- you are losing the stat argument there, pal. The stats clearly favor Dwayne. He’s not going to win, but you’re trying REALLY hard on an OSU site to ignore a magnificent season by a QB who shouldered more burden than the other 2 and routinely delivered AT LEAST as well. Slink back to your UM blog and wait for another stomping next November…

    2. Fred- whoops, forgot to call you a clown in my haste to shut you up.

      1. I agree with Longtime Fan—who cares about that 1 particular stat Fred when the competition–or lack thereof–Murray had was significantly less?!! those are skewed #’s when you look at ALL the facts, which apparently you like to ignore…

  6. This sums up the whole problems with College football it is a beauty contest. I will say this till the end there is no way a one loss B1G champ should be left out of any playoff if the goal is to get the best teams on the field. And obviously DH is the best quarterback in the country.

  7. The B1G had 2 passing QBs this year, Haskins and Blough. No other QB in the conference averaged over 250 ypg. none. Only 3 others averaged over 200 ypg….200 whole yardss per game. The B1G as a whole doesn’t throw the ball, and throw it very well, and this is baked into all the conference teams passing defense stats. pretty simple.

  8. Haskins threw more than 3-4 games worth of passes than the other two. Didn’t take that into consideration there did you?

    1. False. He threw roughly 8 more passes a game than Tua and had 7 more touches than Murray during this period. Those extra 7-8 attempts/touches a game should not equate to an extra 798 passing yards and 12 TDs over one “favorite” and an extra 1,148 yards and 10 touchdowns over the other.

      Passing Atts vs Power 5 Top 50 Defenses
      TT- 26 atts per game (104 total, high 42 vs LSU)
      KM- 19.5 atts per game (27.5 touches w/ rush)
      DH- 34 atts per game (169 total, high 39 vs PSU)

      1. Haskins threw 496 passes, Murray 340(496-340=156 fewer), and Tua 294(496-294=202 fewer). Haskins threw 2/3+ more passes than Tua did. Where are you getting 8 pases/game? What kind of math is this? Dwayne averaged 38 passes/game(498/13=38.3), so Murray threw 156/38.3 = 4.1 games worth fewer than Haskins, and Tua threw 202/38,3 = 5.3 games worth fewer passes than Haskins.

        Totally changes things.

        Where did you get 8 passes/game? WTH?

        1. Fred, at no point in this article do I discuss season stats. As every stat is labeled, I’m focused on stats against Top 25 and Top 50 competition. Nothing else. Any schmuck can put up numbers against subpar competition. I’m focused on the tough matchups. Since you asked, I’m no math teacher but I’ll take a stab at it. Tua has 104 pass attempts against four power 5 teams ranked in the top 50. So I simply took 104 and divided that number by 4. This came out to 26. I then proceeded to do this with Murray and Haskins.

          1. You stress “top 25 defenses’ but how you think they got to be top 25? By playing against inferior QBs and running offenses in the B1G. Know how a rising tide lifts all boats, that works in reverse as well.

            The B1G’s passing defense stats are so screwed up Rutgers is actually #17 in the country in passing defense. Think about it. Why are they #17 pasing defense? Because eveyone ran the ball down their throat, got out to a 42 pt lead, and ran the ball some more. If you don’t put the stats into context you can make all kinds of hideous conclusions.

            Bowling Green, 3-9, had the 9th best pass defense this year.. You really think they had the 9th best pass def or did everyone they played run the ball down their throats?

            Why are you focused on top 25 defense and not top 25 pass defenses? Then you could use Haskins’ stats against Rutgers.


            1. Fred, I encourage you to go back and read the article and look at the supplied charts. Every stat, every comparison, everything is in regards to “pass defenses” not “total defense”.

            2. Speaking of boats, Fred, yours has more than a few holes in it. Better motor back to Ann Arbor, or whatever hellpit you call home, and patch it…

        2. Fred…….you’ve been schooled throughout this thread. I’d lay odds that my deceased mother would rip the Citadel to shreds. Hell she would probably fair better than Tua did in getting his ass kicked against a decent but not great opponent in their “so-called” CCG.

  9. excellent article and totally agree–the edia (espn esp) is to blame for all the sec/alabama love and bias ..all 3 are great qbs but it’s been obvious oklahoma hasnt played anyone decent on defense all year…Haskins SHOULD be the easy winner but sadly won’t because too many people are lazy and/or stupid to look at facts…

  10. This sums up well the problem with the Heisman. I mean, there are many other problems – the fact that defensive players aren’t given real consideration, for example. But what we saw with Tua for most of the year is that it’s not actually a measure of the current year. It’s a measure of the players overall body of work. When Tua came on in the second half of the title game, he immediately became the front-runner – for an award given out for a season of football that he had yet to see a snap in. His remaining in contention, to me, suggests that a lot of people stopped paying attention sometime in October. Tua came back down to earth weeks ago, but the narrative continued that he was leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else. And Murray, well, the name “Big 12” is synonymous with soft defenses. It’s a conference where every team can put up 50 points, any given week.

  11. While we all agree Dwayne should win based on the stats and not our Buckeye bias unfortunately I don’t think he will given the attitude and coverage by the national media. He is getting absolutely no press anywhere. Its Tua vs Kyler and oh yeah Dwayne too. But Haskins will get the last laugh when he is cashing his first round NFL contract worth millions while these other two will be carrying a clipboard at the next level. He is clearly the only NFL QB of the three.

    1. Excellent point, Tim. QBs do not last long (if they ever take the field for an extended period of time) if their weaponry relies heavily upon the ability to run around defenders rather than running rapidly through receiver progressions to nail the open man. In regards to thorough reading and rapid release, Haskins has the greater pro upside. The scouts know better than anyone that a Heisman guarantees nothing at the next level. Dwayne’s stage on draft day will be much sweeter than the one made up for the Heisman.

  12. Thank you for a great article!!! These were my thoughts as well. It’s a shame that a dislike for a coach can affect the players.

  13. Spot on and its fitting just like OSU should have been in the playoffs if one followed basic raw data. Without DH. OSU would of lost at least 2 or more games. His addition of adding the run and scrambling would have made him scary good and you can bet that AL was glad that they didnt have to face him. The award is for the nations best player, not the best player on the best team. But now the Heis. is for the MVP of the best team.

  14. THANK YOU!! This is truly the first time I can actually say that an accurate article and statement about this Heisman political garbage is published, and sadly the first time that I am reading something which reflects the reality of Dwayne Haskins deserving the Heisman trophy award…. this award (along with many others) has sadly become to reflect the political bias and favoritism which has come to plague college football, and will only get worst unless us fans (like you guys) put forth our passion in the form of numbers, fact, and reality, and not in a teacher’s pet sort of way which our voters, so called football analysts, and the media have irresponsible resorted to…. GREAT ARTICLE AND THANK YOU!!

  15. pretty sad…… i live in oklahoma and listening to radio here you would never even know haskins is even invited. and look at espn’s front page and their article of the “historic battle” between tua and murray. its just pathetic how haskins is just not part of anyone’s discussion.

    1. THANK YOU!! This is truly the first time I can actually say that an accurate article and statement about this Heisman political garbage is published, and sadly the first time that I am reading something which reflects the reality of Dwayne Haskins deserving the Heisman trophy award…. this award (along with many others) has sadly become to reflect the political bias and favoritism which has come to plague college football, and will only get worst unless us fans (like you guys) put forth our passion in the form of numbers, fact, and reality, and not in a teacher’s pet sort of way which our voters, so called football analysts, and the media have irresponsible resorted to…. GREAT ARTICLE AND THANK YOU!!

  16. This is very sad that Dwayne will not win this award. Hopefully we will all be wrong.

  17. Yep, Dwayne Haskins was head, shoulders and waist above the closest 2 competitors for the award. Nope he won’t win it and it’s criminal that he won’t. This is what you get with politics………ESPECIALLY the politics of far left media.

  18. I just made a comment, but don’t see it here! What’s going on! Am I not allowed to make comments? I filled in my name and email address, then hit submit Comment. Don’t understand this as it has happened to me before! Please respond!

  19. I too think Haskins should win. I saw both Tua and Dwayne in person and Haskins seemed superior to me although for sure I am not a neutral observer. However this is a place where stats don’t tell the entire story. While both Murray and Haskins played almost the entire game, Tua hardly played into the third quarter in many of his games. I would love to see these stats broken down by minutes played. GO Bucks!!

    1. I think that would definitely be something that would need to be brought up if I was talking about their entire season stats. These are only games against the best competition. All three played the entire game.

  20. If this turn out to be the case, then Dwayne Haskins will have been given the biggest travesty in Heisman winners in history or close to that history! Whatever happen with the Ohio State program shouldn’t have a thing to do to what Dwayne did as a player! If he doesn’t win, I will never again support this award because it will have become a popularity contest instead of true ability and records.

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