Favorite Stat of the Game: 50. In going 25 of 37 for 251 yards and three touchdowns Dwayne Haskins Jr. totaled 50 touchdown passes for his only season as a starter at Ohio State. To give perspective on that achievement, the previous record holder was J.T. Barrett with 36, before him it was Heisman winner Troy Smith with 30 and 23 seasons ago it was Bobby Hoying with 29. I will be surprised if I see the record of 50 touchdown passes and 4,831 passing yards surpassed. Cris Carter said he’s the best quarterback we’ve ever had at Ohio State and we’ve been playing football for 125 years. He’s dead on. And should I live to see Ohio State’s 200th season, I’d be surprised to ever see anyone better.
The Brooklyn Dagger Award: J.K. Dobbins touchdown run in the third quarter. Dobbins and Weber together kept a talented Husky defense honest. Weber had the yards with 96 and Dobbins scored what would prove to be the deciding touchdown on the goal line in the third quarter.
Favorite Player of the Game: Dwayne Haskins. Starting in the 2019 season this will be the Dwayne Haskins Favorite Player of the Game Award or something along those lines. Anyone who doesn’t love Dwayne Haskins but claims to be a Buckeye fan is lying about being a Buckeye fan. Haskins three touchdown passes to Campbell, Dixon, and Berry were as beautiful as any of the previous 47 (well, maybe those six on his last day in the Shoe were a little better). I just can’t say enough about this guy and his character matches his play. Like Woody said about Archie, he’s the best football player I’ve ever seen and an even better young man. His love for Ohio State shined through a tumultuous yet epic season. He deserves to join Bill Willis and Chic Harley as the only football players to have their name and number up in Ohio Stadium who didn’t win the Heisman.
Ryan Shazier-Devin Smith Award: Jeff Okudah. He had his best game of the year for all the Roses and it may have been the best game of the year by any member of Ohio State’s much maligned secondary. He’s going to be Ohio State’s number one corner going into 2019 even with Damon Arnette returning, and would have been even if Sheffield had returned. And that’s no knock on them, it just says that much about Okudah. He finished the Rose Bowl with five tackles and two outstanding pass break ups.
Dane Sanzenbacher Award: Dre’Mont Jones. When Nick Bosa went down the extra pressure went immediately to the best interior lineman Ohio State has had since Michael Bennett, and like Michael Bennett he answered the call and led his team as much as he produced. Jones only had three tackles in the Rose Bowl but as usual he stopped up the middle and drew blockers to him allowing the defense to have six tackles for a loss, two sacks, and seven pass break ups.
Taylor Decker Award: Parris Campbell. A guy who had a lot of struggles early in his career at Ohio State decided to come back for his senior season and he made it count. Boy did he ever make it count. He became only the fifth Ohio State receiver with a thousand yards or more in a season joining elite company like the late great Terry Glenn, David Boston, Cris Carter, and Michael Jenkins. He finished the Granddaddy of Them All with 11 catches for 71 yards and the first touchdown of the year 2019 for a thankful school, state, and Buckeye Nation.
Fedora Award: Mike Weber. Weber led the Buckeyes in rushing in his last game in scarlet and gray. He ran with extra effort in wanting to make sure he went out doing his best for his team as well as to show off one last time for his fans and any future employers. He had 15 carries for 96 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per carry, a stat any Buckeye running back can be proud of in their final game in the scarlet and gray. Thanks for everything, Mike. The yards, the touchdowns, and SHBJ. In carrying the torch passed to you from Zeke, the Ohio State running game didn’t miss a beat.
Sweater Vest Award: You know him, you love him, he flips water bottles like no one else, the one and only; Drue Chrisman! The guy seems to always be solid. Eight punts for 342 yards, an average of 42.8 yards per punt. I can’t remember a time since 2001 where Ohio State didn’t have a good punter and the last two have been amazing and all-timers. He may be gone, but amazing special teams, particularly in punting, is a Jim Tressel legacy.
Archie Award: Dwayne Haskins Jr. Think about all the crazy this kid endured this year. Summer practices being crazy, head coach getting suspended, the team running a different style of offense, constantly being disrespected nationally the entire season, the offense struggling the run the ball, the biggest work in process of a defense I’ve ever seen an elite team power through, having this team on his shoulders. All he did was rewrite the record books and did it in stone! He was humble, all about the team, never complained, just did his best and it was the best individual season performance in the history of The Ohio State Buckeyes!
Horned Rimmed Glasses Award: In another life, Urban Meyer would be or was (depending on how you see things) a great military leader. If you have to describe Urban Meyer without bringing football into the picture, the three things that anyone can see is that he is a leader, a teacher, and a family man. He, like his quarterback, weren’t around as long as we would have liked them to be, but boy did they make the time count.
Bad Coaching Moment of the Game: The Buckeyes seemed to let off the gas in the second half after scoring early in the third quarter. Everyone started thinking about their futures. In the NFL, after football, whether to return to Columbus or take your chances in the league, a legend leaving, a new old face taking charge, and more. These guys all had a lot on their plate, and it showed in the last 20 minutes of game time. One can’t blame them at all, especially since in this case all is well that ends well.
Good Coaching Moment of the Game: Knowing all the distractions would rear their head at some point and coming out fast and strong and staying aggressive. Ohio State’s drive right before half, that ended in a Rashod Berry touchdown pass was them keeping their foot on the gas, letting the greatest number seven ever just sling the football and once again it was enough to win.
Glass Half Empty: It is a travesty that this team was not allowed to play for a national championship. The play on the field, especially in the last weeks of the season and in the post-season showed that Ohio State was one of the best teams in the country. The fact that they were held out because of bias against Urban Meyer, the B1G, and Ohio State is a travesty and the results on the field speak for themselves.
Glass Half Full: This team in its season proved that they were as good as any other team in the nation. No other team beat more ranked opponents. No other team had an offense as potent. No other team had a better player on their team. No other team had bigger player losses. No other team went through such adversity as successfully. For my money this was the best team in football in the 2018 season.
2014 Moment: Rashod Berry’s touchdown catch at the end of the first half reminded me of Nick Vannett catching a touchdown from Cardale Jones four years ago in Dallas. It was a similar play Berry made against Maryland to lead Ohio State to their touchdown in overtime and to victory. Heuermann and Vannett were the last Buckeye tight end duo to do as much as Ferrell and Berry have done this season. Here’s to seeing it often and effective in the 2019 season.
2002 Moment: Brendon White’s interception of Jake Browning’s late two-point conversion pass. Maybe it’s just how well he and Jordan Fuller have played in the last six games but this play and the great plays they made remind me of Mike Doss and Will Allen. White’s interception was the highlight of a great day by the secondary that had been roughed up all year. Great way to end a season.
1968 Moment: Urban Meyer salutes Ohio by saluting TBDBITL. When Urban climbed the band director’s ladder and snapped off a crisp salute to the band, he was saluting Buckeye Nation, he was saluting the great university, and he was saluting all of Ohio. Coach, we salute you. You made the great state of Ohio, Buckeye Nation, the university, the band, everyone; proud. While I’m happy that he is riding off into the sunset, I’m just as happy that Ohio’s coach will be sticking around enough to still be part of everything that makes Ohio State the special place, community, and home that it is.