Dwayne Haskins got more than a cameo this week in Saturday’s 54-21 victory over UNLV, and the redshirt freshman demonstrated two things.
First, with his strong arm, he showed why many Ohio State fans are excited about his future. Second, Haskins showed that he’s not immune from the learning curve that young quarterbacks must navigate.
“He's got work to do, but you can see the talent,” Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said.
Haskins started off strong. He completed 6 of his 8 passes, and the other two were drops. He threw a 28-yard dart to C.J. Saunders for his first career touchdown and added a 38-yard one to Rashod Berry, though the tight end did most of the work by breaking four tackles.
But Haskins also threw a pick-6 early in the fourth quarter when he was fooled by UNLV’s coverage and threw to the inside of the intended receiver instead of the outside.
“It was a bad ball,” Haskins said. “It’s on me. But it’s a learning experience.”
Haskins was 4 for 4 last week against Army, whetting the appetite of OSU fans.
“Last week was a little weird getting in for the first time,” Haskins said. “This game it was like, ‘OK, I’m in the flow of the game now.’ I was pretty comfortable.”
Haskins finished 12 for 17 for 209 yards.
Especially after Ohio State’s passing offense sputtered against Oklahoma, there were murmurings among J.T. Barrett’s critics about wanting a quarterback change. Haskins wants no part of that lobbying effort.
“No, not at all,” he said. “J.T. is the guy. My mindset was, if I do go in the game, I’ll be ready for it, whether it was Oklahoma, Indiana, Army or UNLV.”
If something were to happen to Barrett, though, Haskins said he believes he could be successful.
“God forbid he got hurt,” Haskins said. “But I feel I’ve got great camaraderie with all my teammates. We’re all pretty close. If God forbid something happened to J.T., I feel I would be pretty comfortable.”