COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Much of Ohio State’s season has been a Dwayne Haskins showcase.
When the team was struggling to get the run game going in the middle of the year, it was the redshirt sophomore quarterback that lifted the Buckeyes to victories by throwing numbers no Ohio State quarterback had done before. Even in the team’s sole loss to Purdue, Haskins broke the program records for completions (49), attempts (73) and yards (470) attempting to get his team back in the game.
Against Maryland, Haskins once again needed to bring his team back.
And he brought the Buckeyes back, breaking two Ohio State records in the 52-51 overtime win against the Terrapins.
Haskins finished completing 28-of-38 passes for 405 yards and three touchdowns. He now has the most passing touchdowns and passing yards in a single season in program history.
“All that grit, all that adversity faced in this game and coming back on top,” Haskins said. “It just meant everything for myself and my teammates, for the coaches.”
Haskins led the Buckeyes on three game-tying drives in the fourth quarter, including a 50-yard drive in the final 92 seconds that ended up forcing overtime.
In overtime, Ohio State elected to go for it on 4th-and-1, and Haskins found redshirt junior tight end Rashod Berry to keep the drive going.
Where Haskins separated his Maryland performance from his others was in his dual-threat ability, something he has failed to utilize all season.
On Saturday, the redshirt sophomore rushed 15 times for 59 yards, scoring three touchdowns on the ground, including the eventual game-winner in overtime.
He said being back home at where he played high school helped bring out his aggression on the ground.
“It’s that competition. Being home, having those guys talk a little smack to me,” Haskins said. “I can run. I guess today is the first day I really wanted to show it.”
Haskins did have help in the form of sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins, who ran for a career-high 203 yards and a touchdown with redshirt junior running back Mike Weber out with a quad bruise.
But when the team needed a leader, when Ohio State was continually pushed to its limits against the Terrapins, it was Haskins that found a way to bring his team back.
“He needed to take that step,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “That’s the next step in his career is the toughness, the leadership.”
Haskins’ historic day was not without its issues. One of his runs ended in a fumble recovered by Maryland, and his first throw of the second half was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
Ohio State went down 31-17 after the interception, and from there, Haskins threw for 206 yards and two touchdowns and ran for three more, scoring the final five touchdowns in the Buckeyes’ victory.
“I never lose the faith,” Haskins said. “Whether we win or lose, you got to remain strong in what we do as a group and as a team.”
Moving forward, Ohio State needs to find a way to improve when No. 4 Michigan comes to Ohio Stadium to decide the winner of the Big Ten West.
Haskins knows this, and he knows what Michigan can do.
“Every week. I watch Michigan every week,” Haskins said.
Regardless of where the Buckeyes will stand next Saturday, Haskins has cemented himself in Ohio State’s history.
On Saturday, in his home state, against the team he formerly committed to, he kept his team alive, and willed the Buckeyes to victory.
Whether he will be able to do that against the No. 1 defense in the country next week is yet to be seen.