Haskins learns from high-pressure test at Penn State

Bill Rabinowitz
Dwayne Haskins Jr. struggled early before rallying the Buckeyes to victory amid the bedlam at Penn State on Saturday night. [Kyle Robertson]

Ohio State has an expression for learning amid the intense pressure of a game.

“The saying around here is ‘growing whiskers and getting scars’,” coach Urban Meyer said Wednesday night. “It’s something you can’t teach in practice.”

It’s impossible to prepare a quarterback for a rowdy White Out crowd like Dwayne Haskins Jr. faced Saturday night at Penn State. For the first time this season, Haskins and the Buckeyes offense looked rattled before they regrouped in the fourth quarter to rally for a 27-26 victory.

>> Video: Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. on Indiana defense, other things

Haskins said he will benefit from having faced such adversity.

“I most definitely felt I got better (throughout the game),” Haskins said. “But it wasn’t about me. It was about the offense, figuring out what they were doing, how we were going to attack them.”

Haskins said he could detect issues to improve from studying video of the game.

“Just seeing some plays where I could reset my feet a little better, or pick up protection a little better or be louder at some occasions of the game,” he said. “I feel I learned a lot from that game.”

He dissected perhaps the biggest play — the 47-yard touchdown to Binjimen Victor that sparked the comeback. Haskins said the play was designed to be a deep post to Johnnie Dixon. But he read a blitz coming before the snap and realized he wouldn’t have time in the pocket for that to develop.

It was too late to change the play, so he took an extra-long dropback to avoid the rush and then moved out of the pocket to throw a shorter pass to Victor.

“I found Bin, who made a hell of a play,” Haskins said.

Haskins later threw a wide receiver screen to K.J. Hill for the winning 24-yard touchdown. It capped a day that started when Penn State defensive end Shareef Miller said that two teammates who had played with Haskins in high school predicted he would “fold” if the Nittany Lions hit him repeatedly.

“I definitely was upset,” Haskins said. “It is what it is. I take it with a grain of salt. You can’t let it get the best of you. I saw it, but I got over it.”

Chalk it up as another learning experience for a player who already has some clutch victories in his short career.

“To come out the other end of that thing with a win, of course that helps him,” Meyer said. “He has been in some big-time environments now — twice on the road against top-15 teams (this season), and last year on the road against our rivals.”

Chrisman wins Ray Guy award

Ohio State punter Drue Chrisman earned Ray Guy honors as the country’s top punter last week. Chrisman’s net average on nine punts was 47.1 yards, with no touchbacks. His longest punt was 58 yards.

Buckeye bits

Meyer said that defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones and cornerback Damon Arnette will play this week against Indiana. They were injured in the second half against Penn State. … Meyer said coaches haven’t settled on who will start in place of Isaiah Pryor at safety against Indiana. Pryor is ineligible for the first half against Indiana because of a second-half targeting ejection last week.


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