Haskins shows arm strength in first extended playing time
The temperature soared to 93 degrees inside Ohio State on Saturday — no big deal if you’re from south Florida.
“It could have been worse,” said defensive end Nick Bosa, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
That may have been true if Ohio State played UNLV in August. In late September, with Halloween decorations going up around Columbus, these were unseasonably warm temperatures. Fortunately for the Buckeyes, few of them played more than three quarters in the 54-21 victory. Quarterback J.T. Barrett played less than a half, still managing to throw five touchdown passes.
The blowout gave Urban Meyer and his coaches a chance to get an extended look at young players. Here’s a glance at five who stood out:
1. Dwayne Haskins: The redshirt freshman replaced Barrett for the final series of the first half. He completed the first two touchdown passes of his career and completed 15 of 23 passes for 228 yards, showing off the arm that made him the fifth-ranked pro-style quarterback in the class of 2016, according to Rivals.com.
“I would say if there’s a window, I feel I can throw it in there,” Haskins said, “even if it’s a little tight.”
For the moment, Haskins has the edge over redshirt sophomore Joe Burrow in the competition to back up Barrett this season. Burrow, the backup a year ago, was slowed by a broken hand in preseason practice. He replaced Haskins on Ohio State’s final possession. That’s an important race because whoever wins it will be the favorite to start next season.
As well as Haskins played at times, he also threw an interception returned 65 yards for a touchdown by Javin White. He said UNLV’s coverage on that play was different than he expected.
“It was a bad ball,” Haskins said. “It’s a learning experience.”
2. Rashod Berry: The sophomore backup tight end caught three passes for 57 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown from Haskins. He also fumbled the ball after a catch near the goal line in the first half.
Berry started his career as a tight end in 2015, when he redshirted. Last season, he moved to the defensive line and played in 10 games. Now he’s back to his original position.
“He runs through people,” Meyer said, “but then he laid it on the ground one time going in. A very talented guy. I love his attitude right now.”