EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Ohio State offense had planned a plan against home game against Nebraska last Saturday – the tricky run game was corrected.
This plan resulted in a total of 254 yards and three touchdowns on 32 transfers between the second year J.K. Dobbins and junior Mike Webber.
The decision to focus more on the run game also meant that less time was spent on the pass attack. For a team whose quarterback comes as close to a pocket passer as they come, that decision came with an award.
"We have not done as much as we should," said quarterback Dwayne Haskins. "But we learned from it. We did a really good job in the game, so I'm happy with the (offensive) line and the buttocks, they deserve the game. "
The Buckeyes opted for the focus change after a 49-20 loss to Purdue. A game in which Haskins completed 49-of-73 passes for 470 yards, both career highs.
For most quarterbacks, throwing around 252 yards and two touchdowns as they go through 18 of 32 passes is considered a solid game. But if you're the first quarterback in Ohio State and thrown in your first nine games for 311.2 yards per game with a completion rate of 71.1 percent, this is the default. Fumbling twice and throwing avoidable interception is no easy task.
"I should not even have put it in the coverage," Haskins told Quincy Avery, an NFL and college quarterback coach, in an episode of UNINTERRUPTED. "I should have checked.
However, the lowest point of the afternoon without question came when Haskins fought only three yards before deciding to shoot at close range without defense.
"I could have done something more … I saw it in the movie," Haskins said. "This week, I've been training in football and working to miss someone in space. All the tools I need for this week to make games. "
Haskin's ability to play with his legs has never been one of his strengths as he prefers playing with his arm. However, he also acknowledged that the ability to portray mobility was not necessarily available to him as it was for former quarterback JT Barrett. Mainly because of the way defenders play him.
His 22-yard run, which featured a Dobbins touchdown – the longest in his career – against Michigan last season, was the result of planned Ohio State defense efforts with Barrett at the center.
"I feel like I did not have a chance to climb like that," Haskins said. "As the game was set up, it was (against) the reporting of men. I get a lot of zone coverage now because we throw football so much. "
When Barrett graduated, the Buckeyes not only lost their first quarterback, but also their leader. It's Week 11 of the season and Ohio State is still looking for someone to fill that gap. Head coach Urban Meyer said he feels Haskins could be the leader, but there is still a long way to go.
"Dwayne is trying to get there," Meyer said. "That's something he has improved a lot, but he still has a way to go."
After two extreme games in the last two games, Ohio State must now find a way to find a perfect balance between its pass and run attacks. Haskins believes the improved run game will only benefit him, as it will catch the Buckeyes players in the field, especially in third place.
"Now that we're able to determine the run, I think he'll help in situations where the third is up," Haskins said. "If the current game is in progress, it means a lot for playing because you do not have to worry about running the ball and not getting yards."
# 18 Michigan State comes into play on Saturday with the country's best attack defense and keeps the teams at just 71.7 yards per game, which means Haskins may play with his arm. Because of this, he has used every conceivable resource to prepare for these moments. That included finding the Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson to get information about the Spartan defense plans.
As a first-year starter, Haskins is well on the way to breaking a handful of Ohio's records, including yards and touchdowns in a single season – currently in third place in both. His 32 touchdowns are also in fifth place in the Big Ten record books.
He does not have to be dominant to achieve these achievements, but he must be better than Nebraska.
"We need to find out what we need to shoot at all cylinders," Haskins told Avery. "We have to do some games to catch the ball, we have to make some games that will let the ball go … I'll get my boys right."