Tomorrow night the Ohio State Buckeyes play under the lights in Dallas, Texas, where they will be matched up against the TCU Horned Frogs. It will be a coming out party of sorts for Ohio State’s new quarterback, Dwayne Haskins.
For four years, J.T. Barrett held the QB position for the Buckeyes with a vice-like grip. He was a terrific leader and a real winner — literally. He set just about every offensive record that a quarterback could set, and under his guidance the Buckeyes achieved great success — but they never quite got to the mountaintop with Barrett at the helm. Some Ohio State fans, possessed of the loftiest expectations, complained that J.T. didn’t have the arm or the accuracy, and was too quick to pull down the ball and run. That very vocal segment of Buckeye Nation has been clamoring for a drop-back passer at the QB position.
Well, now they’ve got one, and his name is Dwayne Haskins. In two games, he’s looked terrific. Haskins has completed almost 80 percent of his passes, has averaged 270 yards through the air per game, and has thrown for 9 touchdowns against only one interception. And, so far, at least, his passes are a thing of beauty — arriving on time and hitting receivers in stride and in the hands. Haskins looks like the real deal. He may just be the pure passer that Ohio State fans have been dreaming of since Woody Hayes made “three yards and a cloud of dust” synonymous with the Buckeye offense.
But . . . not so fast, folks. Oregon State and Rutgers, Ohio State’s first two opponents, aren’t exactly national championship contenders. TCU is a different story. It’s been in the talk for a berth in the college football playoffs in recent years, and this year it’s ranked in the top 20 going into the game. And its head coach, Gary Patterson, is a reputed defensive mastermind who will be sure to throw lots of blitzes and weird coverages at Haskins, who’s a redshirt sophomore who will be making only his third start, in hopes of enticing him into turnovers. TCU knows that if it can get a signature win over Ohio State it will rocket up the rankings and be part of the college football playoff chatter, so we can expect that they’ll leave everything on the field in trying to baffle Haskins and beat the Buckeyes.
Right now, Dwayne Haskins is the young gun. Tomorrow night, in Texas, we’ll get a better sense of how truly he fires under pressure.