Well, that was certainly something. The No. 10 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-1, 7-1) miraculously avoided a devastating defeat at the hands of the Maryland Terrapins (5-6, 3-5) with a stunning overtime escape, 52-51.
After matching OSU’s touchdown in the first OT, Terps’ interim head coach Matt Canada decided to go for two and the victory. Thanks to what appeared to be an illegal man blocking downfield, Jeshaun Jones was open in the end zone, but UMD QB Tyrrell Pigrome missed the throw while rolling to his right, ending the upset threat.
The game was crazy, the game was a mess, but — ultimately — the game was a win. So, let’s take a look at the players that helped secure that win. Of note, while there were some varying degrees of good(ish) efforts on defense from the likes of Dre’Mont Jones, Chase Young, Malik Harrison, Tuf Borland, and others, on principle, I just can’t force myself to give a Defensive MVP in a game where Maryland scored 51 points. Sorry.
So, we’ve just got the obvious Offensive MVP and a more than deserving honorable mention.
Week 8 Offensive MVP: Dwayne Haskins
28-for-38, 405 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception
15 carries, 59 yards, 3 touchdowns
Saturday was a day that Dwayne Haskins likely won’t forget for a very long time. The game against the Terps marked his first trip back to his home state as the starting Buckeye quarterback. While the game was all kinds of weird, it was a historic one for Haskins. Not only did he throw for more than 400 yards for the fourth time this year, but he also ran for three scores, quadrupling his career total.
However, aside from the come-from-behind win, the most monumental aspect of the game was the fact that in just 11 games, Haskins rewrote Ohio State’s single-season record books in terms of passing yards and touchdowns. His 3,684 passing yards eclipsed Joe Germain’s 1998 record of 3,330, and his 36 throwing scores passed J.T. Barrett’s 35 from last season.
You can watch both of the record breaking plays in the article below.
However, for me, the biggest takeaway from Haskins’ performance came at the end of both halves. And that takeaway is that he is the leader that this team needs, and that the OSU coaching staff doesn’t respect or trust him as much as they should.
Down 24-17 with less than a minute and a half left in the second quarter, Haskins started the drive with three consecutive completions — on three very different throws — to move the Bucks 58 yards down to the 28, before a 14-yard, half the distance to the goal penalty was assessed for a Maryland unsportsmanlike conduct. Ultimately, J.K. Dobbins fumbled two plays later, but Haskins was 3-for-3 (with a defensive holding call on a fourth pass) on the drive which should have resulted in points.
Then with 1:32 left in regulation, he stepped it up a level. After a DeMario McCall kick return brought the ball out to the 50, Haskins went 4-for-6 for 33 yards, and picked up another 14 via a run and a facemask penalty. But, what was most impressive was the way that he did it.
I have been critical of Haskins over the past month, looking like he was afraid of contact, even when none was imminent. However, on this drive, not only did not shy away from defenders, but he welcomed them, and played through them.
On his longest completion of the drive — a 17-yard pass to Parris Campbell — Haskins delivered a strike despite being hit. Then on the next play, seeing no one open, the QB ran right into the middle of the Terp defense.
He made the right decision on every play of the drive. Heck, even the first of his two incompletions on the drive was the right decision to throw it away.
For these two drives alone, Haskins deserves this completely unimportant award that he probably doesn’t even know exists. However, his record-breaking performance on Saturday was far more than just these drives, and I hope that Urban Meyer and the offensive coaching staff realize that soon.
Honorable Mention: J.K. Dobbins
37 carries, 203 yards, 1 touchdowns
In most games, this type of yeoman’s effort would warrant the MVP honor, but since we don’t do ties for these awards, Dobbins got bumped down a rung. However, there is no doubt that his performance was special and absolutely integral to keeping the Buckeyes alive for the Big Ten (and maybe even CFP) title.