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?
THROWING AT AN ELITE LEVEL
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.
|COMPLETIONS||ATTEMPTS||PASSING YARDS||TDS||INT||RUSH YARDS||RUSH TDS|
THREE YARDS AND A CLOUD OF DUST
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:
|RUSH ATTEMPTS||RUSH YARDS||RECEPTIONS||RECEIVING YARDS||TOTAL YARDS||TOTAL TDS|
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.
THE BACKBONE OF THE OFFENSE
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)||57||848||8|
|WR 2 (McLaurin, Dixon)||74||1,311||18|
|H-Back (Campbell, Hill)||144||1,803||17|
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.
NCAA FOOTBALL 2018?
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.