Ohio State, long blessed with the leadership of J.T. Barrett, knew what it had in Dwayne Haskins. The world at large got a glimpse last November, when the then-freshman stepped into an emergency in Ann Arbor and led the Buckeyes past archrival Michigan.
He was the backup to greatness. This season he’s proved he’s nobody’s second option. Haskins is every bit the transcendent playmaker with every bit the talent-rich reservoir as those who have come before in Columbus. He’s proving it by putting up video game numbers for the national championship-minded Urban Meyer.
Haskins secured his third consecutive Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honor by torching Indiana for 455 yards and a school-record six touchdowns. It was the third time the sophomore has thrown for five-plus touchdowns in a game this season, something no one has done before in Big Ten history.
As a reminder: the season is not yet half over.
Haskins has completed over 71 percent of his throws for 1,919 yards and 25 touchdowns compared to four interceptions. The stats are gaudy, but not empty. Road trips to Dallas and Happy Valley have ended in success, despite nervy moments. Haskins has risen to every challenge to this point and must continue to do so if Ohio State is to make the playoff.
If all goes according to plan, Haskins will play all 60 minutes against Michigan, perhaps with the conference crown on the line. Before then? Minnesota, Purdue, Nebraska, Michigan State, and Maryland have the opportunity to become part of the five-touchdown club.
Haskins is writing his own story, and rewriting the history books along the way. The first few chapters have been immensely compelling.