I admit that while manning the LGHL Twitter feed during yesterday’s game, I was a bit mad-online over the defense. And, while I think that the coaching staff’s refusal to adapt the gameplan to fit the specific talent on the roster this season (or this week because of injuries) is going to continue to be a problem this season, it is important to remember that there were a ton of OSU defenders not on the field for all or large parts of the game against Minnesota.
Thanks to three Gopher turnovers and two missed Emmit Carpenter field goal attempts, the Buckeyes pulled off the 30-14 victory to remain undefeated. And that was in no small part thanks to the play of Ohio State’s other-worldly quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who had another monstrous passing game with little to no help from the rushing game.
Week 7 Offensive MVP: Dwayne Haskins
33-for-44, 412 yards, 3 touchdowns
I mean, what else is there really that I can say? Give Dwayne Haskins the Silver Football, the Big Ten’s Graham–George Offensive Player of the Year and Griese–Brees Quarterback of the Year awards, and an invitation to the Heisman Ceremony in December. Whether he walks away with the most storied individual award in team sports is yet to be determined, but barring an injury or other unforeseen circumstance, Haskins is going to end his one-season career as Ohio State’s starting quarterback with a boatload of awards, none more prestigious than a dozen or so Land-Grant Holy Land weekly MVP honors.
In the long and storied history of Ohio State football, only three times have Buckeye quarterbacks thrown for 400 yards; Dwayne Haskins has done it twice in as many weeks. For the second week in a row he was 33-for-44 passing and is now 999 yards away from Joe Germaine’s single-season OSU passing record of 3,330 yards set in 1998. More on this in a separate article on Monday, but needless to say, Haskins is really good at football.
While he only threw for a measly, pedestrian three touchdowns— not the six that he did against Indiana— all three were impressive. The first— immediately following a suspect fourth-down conversion where, in my opinion, actually the spot was not good— Haskins threw a ball over the middle to Terry McLaurin to give OSU a 10-7 lead. Admittedly it was just a smidge under-thrown and McLaurin had to come back and fight Minnesota DB Coney Durr for it, but it was still an impressive laser beam of a throw from #7.
We are going to skip Haskins’ second TD of the game, because that one’s more about the catch by K.J. Hill, and you can see it below. However, that wasn’t the only time that the QB connected with his roommate for a score on Saturday. The duo capped the scoring with a perfectly placed ball over the middle that the wide receiver simply had reach up, perfectly in stride, to catch as he glided into the end zone.
With no fewer than six games remaining on the season (and potentially a total of eight), if Haskins is able to play out the slate, there won’t be a single-season Buckeye passing record remaining that he doesn’t smash.
Week 7 Defensive MVP: Jordan Fuller
12 tackles, 9 solo
When looking at the box score, you might be inclined to, by default, give the Defensive MVP Award to linebacker Pete Werner for the second week in a row. And yes, while he had a statistically impressive game (10 tackles, 4 solo, 1 sack, 2.5 TFL) he was also out of position on numerous occasions.
Now, I do believe that this was at least in part because the OSU defensive coaching staff gambled a bit against Minnesota and moved the linebackers up even more than normal to assist a thin defensive line given the injuries to Nick Bosa, Jonathon Cooper, and Robert Landers (who exited the game early).
But, it happened, so the DMVP edge went to Fuller who was all over the field on Saturday. He played great in run support, and did what you expect a safety to do, and ran around the field making plays when Minnesota busted into the second level. On this 25-yard run by Mohamed Ibrahim, you can see Fuller (#4) move into his safety position on the right side of the field on the snap.
However, as soon as the running back gets through the line, Fuller breaks back to the middle of the field pulling Ibrahim down from behind. Granted, there were other defenders in place to (hopefully) take down the back if Fuller hadn’t on this play, but with the beat up defensive line and still struggling linebacking corps, it’s nice to know that there is a veteran in the back of the defense who can still make plays despite an often frustrating scheme.