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Haskins and Buckeyes Are Primed to Romp at the Rose Bowl

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) looks to throw during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Northwestern, in Indianapolis. Haskins was named offensive player of the year when The Associated Press All-Big Ten Conference team was released Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018.

There’s a group of folks, both inside and outside of Ohio, who think the Ohio State Buckeyes are one of the top four football teams in college football – and they very well might be at this point in the season. The Buckeyes lost just one game this season but it was the way that they went about winning their games, plus some off-field issues, that ultimately kept them out of the College Football Playoff.

With that said, they played their best football during the last two weeks of the season and will have the emotion of Urban Meyer’s final game behind them as they take the field on New Year’s Day. Will the Washington Huskies be able to slow down Ohio State and overcome a 6.5-point betting spread in the Rose Bowl?

  • Ohio State converts on 48.2 percent of third downs (10th in FBS).
  • Washington is 2-6 ATS in its last 8 games.
  • Dwayne Haskins led the FBS in passing yards and passing TDs.

Washington vs Ohio State Rose Bowl Game Center

Don’t Let Washington’s Defensive Numbers Fool You

Sure, the Washington Huskies have the No. 5 scoring defense and No. 20 passing defense in the FBS but we must consider their opponents when looking at those statistics. Playing in the low-offense Pac-12, the Huskies’ opponents included anemic offenses such as Cal (No. 116 scoring offense), UCLA (No. 99), Oregon State (No. 91), Colorado (No. 80) and BYU (No. 79).

So, sure they didn’t have a lot of points scored against them, but it would be erroneous to think that this isn’t a huge mismatch in strength of offense vs strength of defense. Rival Washington State would have been the biggest threat they faced, but Gardner Minshew didn’t have his snow tires on in the Apple Cup, resulting in an anomaly on the stat sheet.

Stanford, which averaged 287.1 passing yards per game, 19th in the nation, dropped 347 yards on this Washington defense and K.J. Costello is not Dwayne Haskins.

Haskins is Ready for the NFL

With Justin Herbert declaring that he’s returning to the NCAA, that leaves Missouri’s Drew Lock and Haskins as the top two QBs available heading into the NFL draft. Barring unforeseen circumstances, this will be the final college game of Haskins’ career and I see him going out with a bang, along with head coach Urban Meyer.

Haskins led the nation in both passing yards (4,580) and passing touchdowns (47) for a team that only hit its stride near the end of the season. But, in fairness, the defense was more of the issue for an Ohio State team that averaged 43.5 points per game (eighth).

Ohio State has four receivers with over 600 yards receiving, making it a pick-your-poison situation for the Washington defense. Parris Campbell, K.J. Hill, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon give the Buckeyes the most dangerous and deepest receiving corps in the country, and it’s literally impossible to cover them all as 1,000-yard rusher J.K. Dobbins is ready to run all over you if you do.

My Best Bet for This Game

I think Ohio State covers the spread easily in this game. I have no doubt that Jake Browning will provide some pushback and Myles Gaskin will get his yards, but it’s simply a mismatch in overall team composition. The Ohio State offense could score points against NFL teams while the Huskies are coming out of the Pac-12.