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Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins is ready if called upon

The redshirt freshman made a name for himself in The Game and is capable of shouldering the load.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

“I didn't watch the Team Up North Game that year, but I heard J.T. got hurt and Cardale went in. After we beat Wisconsin by a lot of points ... that's how his legend was born. Did I think that could happen to me? No. That's crazy.”

- Dwayne Haskins via Bill Landis, Cleveland.com

Late in the third quarter, J.T. Barrett would go down with an injury against Michigan in The Game and a backup quarterback took over and helped get the Buckeyes to a Big Ten championship appearance against Wisconsin. No, I’m not talking about 2014 and Cardale Jones. I’m talking about redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins and the 2017 version of the Buckeyes, who fought on the road against the Wolverines and prevailed 31-20. It’s déjà vu for Ohio State in some ways, although there isn’t much of an indication if Haskins will get the chance to continue the strange magic. Barrett aggravated a lingering knee injury during a pre-game, sideline collision with a cameraman and had to come off the field later in the game.

Urban Meyer says Barrett is probable for the Big Ten championship game against the Badgers, but if for whatever reason anything changes, Meyer knows that he can rely on Haskins to get the job done. With Haskins in, the Buckeyes scored 17 points and got the win over arch-rival Michigan. If he’s given a shot against Wisconsin, Haskins looks like he could continue the fortune of 2014, though Barrett seems likely to go at this point.

“The debate would boil down to Alabama and Ohio State. The best argument for the Tide is that they were ranked No. 1 or No. 2 by the committee through the first four rankings in spite of a strength of schedule ranked No. 47.”

- Heather Dinich, ESPN

The College Football Playoff is coming down to the last weekend of meaningful games before bowl season kicks off. Several teams are looking to punch their ticket to the semifinals, and Ohio State is among those hoping for a little bit of luck to go their way. They’ll have to get through an undefeated Wisconsin that is trying to make its first playoff appearance, and with a win over the Buckeyes, and a Big Ten championship, they’d be in without a doubt. But, looking at several playoff scenarios, in my opinion, the best shot for Ohio State to make the top four is going to be beating the Badgers and hoping TCU can pull off an upset of Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game.

The Horned Frogs are sure to be heavy underdogs heading into that game and with Baker Mayfield at the front of the Heisman race, the Sooners are no slouch by any means. At the end of the day, the Buckeyes don’t really control their own destiny but do need to focus on what’s in front of them. Wisconsin is not going to be a push over and are looking for some revenge from the last time that these two teams met in the Big Ten Championship.

“Dobbins' case is that he is a more versatile playmaker and is just as impactful despite almost 100 fewer carries than Taylor. He averages 7.2 yards per offensive touch and is part of an OSU rushing offense that relies on multiple options.”

- Tim Bielek, Cleveland.com

It’s awards season, and that means J.K. Dobbins is up for some honors. Dobbins is fighting for Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and his main competition comes from his next opponent: Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor. For the season, Dobbins has 164 carries for 1,190 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground while Taylor has 258 carries for 1,806 yards and 13 touchdowns. Taylor has helped lead the Badgers to an undefeated regular season record and a shot at the College Football Playoff during his freshman campaign being the workhorse running back that you so often see in Madison.

Dobbins has split time and carries with Ohio State’s Mike Weber, but has arguably done more with the amount of carries compared to Taylor. If Dobbins had that same amount you could argue that he could get the job done as well. Both running backs would be deserving winners, and it will be interesting to see who gets selected for the prestigious award.

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