There’s no doubt anymore that Dwayne Haskins is in the Heisman Trophy conversation.
After being three yards shy of the school’s record for passing yards, tallying 455 yards and six touchdowns in Ohio State’s 49-26 win over Indiana on Saturday, the redshirt sophomore quarterback not only cemented his name in contention: he launched it to the top, with only Alabama sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa really standing in his way.
In Wednesday’s interviews, Haskins said he tries not to make the award talk his top focus.
“I don’t think I’m paying attention to it, I’m aware of it, more so, but it’s not like my main focus right now,” Haskins said. “It’s just a blessing to be considered with those guys, those are great quarterbacks and we’re all pretty cool with each other, so we’re competing every week.”
Tagovailoa is one of those players Haskins is cool with.
“We talk every week,” Haskins said. “We sent each other scriptures before the game on Saturday, just, you know, sent out blessings to each other, so he did a great job last week.”
Both Haskins and Tagovailoa have their teams to 6-0 records, and both have stats that jump off the page.
Haskins is completing 71.7 percent of his passes for 1,919 yards, with 26 touchdowns and four interceptions. Tagovailoa is throwing for a modest 1,495 yards, but on only 101 attempts, and is up to 20 total touchdowns without an interception.
Though the two could be battling for the NCAA’s top prize, Haskins said it isn’t a competition between the two.
“No competition, I was like ‘how did you go 10-for-13 for 300 yards?,” Haskins said. “He’s like ‘I don’t know,’ but I mean that’s pretty cool, I wish I could do that one of these games this year.”
Wide receivers don’t like the new touchback rule
Redshirt senior wide receivers Parris Campbell and Johnnie Dixon interviewed together on Wednesday, and the main topic of conversation did not involve the offense.
Instead, both Dixon and Campbell discussed their distaste for a new touchback rule, allowing returners to call for a fair catch anywhere inside the 25-yard line to be ruled as a touchback, placing the ball at the 25..
Dixon said he did not want to change his game plan on returns.
“Not mine, but the coaches, I want to return everything,” Dixon said.
Before Dixon could finish, Campbell interjected, saying the new return rule “sucks.” And Dixon agreed.
“Yeah, it sucks so bad,” Dixon said. “Right now it’s like if you back up a little bit, just fair catch it … that rule is crazy.”
Moving to their role in the passing game, Dixon and Campbell were also asked about how much former Ohio State and current New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas has been an inspiration for them.
Thomas broke the NFL record for most receptions through the first two games of a season with 28 catches, and is No. 2 in the league for receptions at 46 in his first five games.
Dixon said he seems him as an idol, but that his inspiration comes elsewhere.
“My inspiration comes from things bigger than just a person, mostly my family, my daughter who’s on the way,” Dixon said. “He inspired a lot of people because he came from here and he’s doing it at a high level right now, but inspiration goes deeper than that for me.”
But Dixon said one of the receivers, junior Austin Mack, may not hold that same opinion.
“Austin loves him,” Dixons said. “Austin’s probably his biggest fan.”
Jonathon Cooper likely to be out against Minnesota
Redshirt junior defensive tackle Davon Hamilton gave an update on the status of junior defensive end Jonathon Cooper, who was seen leaving the game on a cart in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against the Hoosiers.
When asked about Cooper, Hamilton said “he will not be out there this week” for practice leading up to the matchup against Minnesota.
Cooper has eight tackles this season, three of which are for a loss, including a sack against then-No. 15 TCU.
On Monday, head coach Urban Meyer said Cooper and junior linebacker Malik Harrison, who was also taken off the field on the same cart, were making strong progress.
“Much better today,” Meyer said on the status of Cooper and Harrison. “Probably know more today or later tomorrow, but much better.”
There have been no official updates on the type of injury sustained by either Cooper or Harrison.