ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Dwayne Haskins is ready for prime time, which is important considering that Ohio State’s Big Ten title game against Wisconsin on Saturday will kick off at 8 p.m.
Haskins was called on Saturday when J.T. Barrett suffered a knee injury in the third quarter and Ohio State was trailing Michigan. Haskins rallied the Buckeyes to three scoring drives and a 31-20 victory.
The OSU defense got its act together after Michigan took a 14-0 lead. Now the Buckeyes have won 15 of the past 17 against the Wolverines.
Haskins was 6-of-7 passing for 94 yards, but he proved his moxie with a 22-yard keeper to set up a touchdown that gave the Buckeyes their first lead. J.K. Dobbins rushed 15 times for 101 yards and a TD, Mike Weber scored the clinching TD on a 25-yard run, and Barrett rushed for 67 yards and a TD before having to leave. Austin Mack’s one catch for 27 yards was huge, as were the couple of drag route passes K.J. Hill caught for big gains in the fourth quarter. Defensively, end Sam Hubbard (2.5 sacks) and cornerback Denzel Ward (eight tackles, two pass breakups) seemed to be all over the field.
The defense, especially the front seven, took on a power-running Michigan offense and limited it to 100 yards rushing, just 49 after the first quarter. The offensive line, led by center Billy Price and left tackle Jamarco Jones, paved the way for the running game once the OSU coaches opted to go that route.
The Ohio State offense came out early insisting on wide plays, and minus-6 yards in first quarter told that story. But when Dobbins and Weber got more involved, the Michigan defense revealed some cracks, and Barrett took advantage.
Iowa showed that the Ohio State defense was challenged trying to cover tight ends, and Michigan went with that game plan early with positive results. That included a 3-yard TD pass out of a three-tight set from John O’Korn to Sean McKeon. But the Ohio State defense tightened up on that as the game ensued.
Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
226: Rushing yards allowed by Michigan after giving up an average of just 116.8
Barrett went to the locker room and later returned to the sideline, but he didn’t play again. It was an injury that actually flared up just before Ohio State’s first possession when someone bumped into him on the sideline. Barrett said he had dealt with the injury, believed to be a meniscus problem, earlier this season and it can be aggravated. He said he plans to play against the Badgers.
By the numbers
5: Pairs of gold pants that Price, Barrett and defensive end Tyquan Lewis, fifth-year seniors, now have in the drawer
4: Barrett was the starting quarterback for an unprecedented fourth win over Michigan
The beat goes on for the Buckeyes, who must gear up for another physical challenge against Big Ten West champion Wisconsin at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Of course, the big mystery this week could be who gets the nod at quarterback. Barrett said he intends to play. Haskins proved he can play.