First-year starter has 16 touchdown passes in four games
J.T. Barrett broke almost all the school passing records the last four seasons, not to mention a bunch of Big Ten marks. The way he’s playing in his first season as a starter, Dwayne Haskins won’t stick around the college game long enough to challenge any career marks.
Haskins continued to compile stats worthy of the Heisman Trophy in his fourth start, leading the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes to a 49-6 victory against Tulane on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. He completed 21 of 24 passes for 304 yards with five touchdowns in the first half and didn't play in the second half because Ohio State owned a 42-6 halftime lead.
Even Haskins, a redshirt sophomore, didn’t expect to play this well this fast.
“I just wanted to go out and win games and play really great,” Haskins said. “I’m really proud of how great my surrounding people are: receivers, tight ends, O-line, running backs. They’re doing a great job.”
With three 300-yard passing games in his first four starts, Haskins is already tied for third place in school history for most career 300-yard games. His 16 touchdown passes are the second most in Big Ten history through four games, trailing only Purdue’s Kyle Orton (17 in 2004).
Haskins has completed 72.5 percent of his passes. Troy Smith set the school record of 65.3 in 2006. Only four quarterbacks in Big Ten history have topped 70 percent in a season.
In his postgame press conference, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer tried to lower the excitement level regarding the performance of Haskins, reminding everyone he has to prove it on a big stage, as he did against Texas Christian and as he’ll have to do in Ohio State’s next game at Penn State. However, he has seen the accuracy in Haskins from the beginning.
“I remember when I watched him throw at one of his workouts, either right before we signed him or right after, and you could see he had that part of the game,” Meyer said. “That’s just a part of it. He’s getting the command of everything, and the players are just responding to him so playing very well.”
College debut: The latest Wayne High School graduate to play for the Buckeyes took the field for the first time Saturday. Freshman wide receiver L'Christian "Blue" Smith made his college debut late in the fourth quarter. He did not catch a pass in his first game.
Smith can play in three more games and still receive a redshirt thanks to new NCAA rules. Entering the game, 16 true freshmen had played for the Buckeyes this season.
Smith verbally committed to the Buckeyes in August 2017, joining a long list of Warriors to play in Columbus, including current Ohio State starting defensive tackle Robert Landers, who missed the Tulane game with an injury. Wayne has had at least one graduate in the Ohio State football program every season since 2000.
Odds and ends: Sophomore Garyn Prater and freshman Jaelen Gill each had their first career reception in the game.
• Binjimen Victor caught a 31-yard touchdown pass, his first of the season.
• Sixteen different players have scored touchdowns, matching the total number of players who scored last season for Ohio State.