We really should have known better than to expect anything other than a tense game against the Indiana Hoosiers. IU has been playing the Ohio State Buckeyes tight for the entirety of the Urban Meyer era in Columbus. So, it should have been no surprise that the Hoosiers fought valiantly against the No. 3 ranked Buckeyes before OSU pulled away to win 49-26 in the 2018 Homecoming game.
Despite scoring seven touchdowns, there were a number of things that caused the collective ire of Buckeye Nation; from the season-long inability to make tackles, to IU wide receivers running completely uncovered into the end zone, to inexplicable QB keepers for Dwayne Haskins, to nine accepted penalties for 82 yards, and more.
However, the vast majority of what happened on Saturday was overwhelmingly positive, and a lot of that started with the QB.
Week 6 Offensive MVP: Dwayne Haskins
33-for-44, 455 yards, 6 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
I’ve wanted to write a column about how Dwayne Haskins is the best passing quarterback in Ohio State history since the Week 2 win over Rutgers. However, every week, I talked myself into waiting until he had more than a few halves of football under his belt. This might be the week that I finally write that column.
There are a lot of mitigating factors that play into that argument (style of play, schedule, surrounding talent, etc.), and I will talk about those when/if I write that article, but in the meantime, we really should just appreciate how incredible it is to watch him throw the ball.
On Saturday, Haskins again showed that he has the ability to make every throw on the tree, when given time. He struggled early against Penn State as the Nittany Lions brought more rushers than OSU offensive lineman, but he eventually settled in and started taking the easy options that S+PSU was conceding.
That happened to a lesser extent against Indiana. IU regularly brought pressure, but the O-line was able to withstand the rush more often than not; and when a bit of pressure did break through, Haskins showed great pocket awareness and stepped up to deliver pin-point throws like this first-quarter, cross-field strike to Johnnie Dixon.
What a beautiful throw pic.twitter.com/SUzP9lff6k— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 6, 2018
While Haskins showed off his arm with the frozen rope to Dixon above, he also showed incredible touch, especially on the game’s final score. Safely tucked inside a clean pocket, Haskins placed a ball in the absolute final inch of the end zone for Binjimen Victor to haul it in. The ball was perfectly throw to hit the 6-foot-4 receiver in stride, where no one else had a chance to catch it.
The throw!— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 6, 2018
The forward roll! pic.twitter.com/hukGwLnw0S
The variety of throws in Haskins’ arsenal is truly breathtaking, especially when you consider that OSU has been focused on run-first quarterbacks for nearly two decades. Below in our Honorable Mentions section, you can see two of Haskins’ quick hitters to Parris Campbell as well.
In the game, the QB tied the Ohio State single-game record for completions and touchdown passes, and was just three yards shy of the passing yards mark set by Art Schlichter in 1981 against Florida State. I have a feeling that he’s going to have a lot of records by the time he’s done.
He might not be perfect, and I’m not even sure if he is ready for the NFL, but man, is Dwayne Haskins fun to watch!
Week 6 Defensive MVP: Pete Werner
4 tackles, 1 sack, 3 pass break-ups
After missing a tackle early in the first quarter, linebacker Pete Werner rebounded and turned in a solid effort. It was Werner’s versatility that made him stick out. On this play, the sophomore was patient in his reads, stuck to his keys, and made a solid tackle of Indiana quarterback Peyton Ramsey for a sack.
Werner also had a solid day in coverage. While the OSU linebackers have been burned all season, Werner is proving to be the best of the bunch when it comes to sticking with running backs out of the backfield or wide receivers in the slot.