Ohio State-Michigan State | Rob Oller’s second thoughts

Staff Writer
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. (7) gets hit by Michigan State Spartans defensive end Kenny Willekes (48) as the releases the ball over offensive lineman Thayer Munford (75) during the third quarter of the NCAA football game at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich. on Nov. 10, 2018. Ohio State won 26-6. [Adam Cairns/Dispatch]

• With apologies to Simon & Garfunkel, forget where in the heck Joe DiMaggio has gone. Where in the world had Tate Martell gone before Saturday? I’ve seen my first cousin who lives in Ukraine more often than I’ve seen the Buckeyes’ backup quarterback. Thankfully, that changed against the Spartans. I can count on 5,000 hands how many times I’ve been asked when Martell would play. Finally, an answer: late in the second quarter, when he kept the ball for a 5-yard gain to the 1-yard line. The redshirt freshman appeared again in the fourth before a lost fumble ended his day. I still think OSU would be more effective giving Martell more playing time.

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• I’ve been a big fan of Dwayne Haskins Jr. the passer. Not so much Haskins the runner. The quarterback is not exactly Joe Burrow when he crosses the line of scrimmage. He’s not even Joe Namath. But credit where it is due. In the second quarter, Haskins scrambled for a 12-yard gain — yes, gain — and turned upfield instead of running out of bounds. When he finally was tackled, he hopped up and enthusiastically signaled first down (nearly hitting his hand on a Spartans player’s helmet; careful there, cowboy) before realizing the first down was negated by a Malcolm Pridgeon penalty. Still, Haskins showed he is not made of glass. Good work.

• In “What About Bob,” the Bill Murray character drives Richard Dreyfuss’ character crazy. I wouldn’t say the Buckeyes’ propensity to miss tackles has sent Urban Meyer over the edge. Yet. So no wonder Meyer was practically giddy — OK, that’s an overstatement; Urb and giddy does not compute; let’s say he was pleased — about how OSU wrapped up and brought down the Spartans. “We really tackled well, (which) gives you confidence, man,” Meyer said. True, the Buckeyes still allowed one chunk play on a 47-yard keeper by quarterback Rocky Lombardi, but the good news for Meyer is it was only one. Just keep saying it: “Baby steps.”

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