Skull Session: Dwayne Haskins Gets National Recognition, Indiana Refused to Back Down, and Jaedon LeDee is a Sleeper

By Kevin Harrish on October 8, 2018 at 4:59 am
Dwayne Haskins

That might have been the most frustrating football game I've watched in a long time.

There was never a point when I sincerely felt the Buckeyes could actually lose to Indiana, and that actually made it worse. There was no drama, just an awkwardly close football game that forced both teams to play to win up until about midway through the fourth quarter.

That's fine and good when you're playing the No. 17 team in the country, but I prefer my games against middling Big Ten teams cooked by halftime.

The True King of Ohio agrees.

I wonder how Dolo felt about the designed quarterback runs that mysteriously found their way into the offense this week.


Word of the Day: Portmanteau.

 HASKINS NAMED NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK. When you tie a school record for single-game passing touchdowns and fall three yards shy of the single-game record for passing yardage, it's a safe bet you're getting some weekly accolades.

Dwayne Haskins did, and got those accolades, earning CBS Sports' National Player of the Week honor.

From Tom Fornelli of CBSSports:

Haskins and the Buckeyes didn't find life as difficult this week against Indiana as they did against Penn State last week. Haskins threw for 455 yards and six touchdowns to lead Ohio State to a 49-26 win. Haskins has now thrown five touchdowns or more in three of Ohio State's six games, and he has 25 touchdowns on the season. Ohio State threw 39 touchdowns as a team all of last seasons, and Haskins is on a current pace to reach 50.

Haskins should give the defense the game ball for allowing him to take enough snaps to reach 455 yards. That was extremely unselfish of the Silver Bullets, in my humble opinion.

And if you're reading this before around 10 a.m., I'm pleased to inform you that Haskins is also the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. Once it's formally announced, you can read the story that I've already written here at Eleven Warriors dot com.

Don't worry, this isn't embargoed news I'm releasing prematurely, there's just no way it's going to be anyone else.

 INDIANA WASN'T BACKING DOWN. I'm getting a little sick of Indiana making my football Saturday more painful than it needs to be, but it seems Tom Allen is pretty committed to continuing that annual tradition Kevin Wilson started a few years ago.

From Jim Ayello of the Indy Star:

 “My whole thing was we weren’t going to back down to anyone,” Allen explained in a fiery post-game news conference. “I wasn’t going to let anyone feel sorry for themselves. We’re going to finish. We’re going to look them in the eye, shake their hands and make sure they we know we respect them, but also know that we’re coming back. We ain’t going nowhere. This program is working hard to be special. That ain’t going to change.”

And with that, Allen slammed the table, screamed “LEO” (love each other) into the microphone and exited stage right.

Call it theatrics if you like, but the second-year coach was determined to make clear his team isn’t stuck in neutral. Despite losing to Ohio State for the 22nd-straight time, progress is being made at Indiana, Allen insisted. Take sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey, whom many believed wasn’t capable of effectively throwing the ball down field. In the first half, he torched the Ohio State secondary (17-of-29 for 239 yards) and finished with a career-high 322 yards and three touchdowns versus no interceptions.


In the third quarter, it seemed like Ohio State would put an end to any hopes of an upset bid when sensational quarterback Dwayne Haskins (33-of-44, 455 yards, six touchdowns) connected with Parris Campbell on a 71-yard touchdown to give Ohio State a 35-20 lead. But like in the first half, Indiana refused to go away.

With the offense sputtering, the defense stepped up. It rebounded from the blown coverage on the Campbell touchdown to force a punt and a turnover on downs before Ramsey and company could get it going again. Midway through the third quarter, the Hoosiers offense put together an eight-play, 58-yard drive that ended in a 3-yard touchdown pass to Donavan Hale and brought the Hoosiers within nine, 35-26.

If Indiana was so keen on finishing that game strong, the Buckeyes should have been equally keen on adding another score before the clock hit zero – or at least allowing Dwayne Haskins to break a nearly 40-year-old record.

Though the irony of Ohio State covering the spread as a result of Haskins topping Art Schlicher's record may have been too much for me to handle.

 DON'T SLEEP ON JAEDON LEDEE. It's easy to forget with the football Buckeyes undefeated in October, but basketball season is just around the corner, and Chris Holtmann is ready to do his magic once again.

There's a lot of roster turnaround between this year and last year, meaning a lot of new faces will lead the way for the Buckeyes this season. Jaedon LeDee is one you should definitely know.

The four-star small forward made the NCAA's list of six freshmen we aren't talking about enough heading into the season.


Consider this: Before Chris Holtmann got to Ohio State, Keita Bates-Diop had averaged 11.8 points and 6.4 rebounds in most recent full season. In Holtmann’s first year with the Buckeyes, Bates-Diop averaged 19.8 points and 8.7 rebounds, winning Big Ten Player of the Year honors.

Now, it’s unfair to compare LeDee to Bates-Diop. Then again, nobody saw Bates-Diop’s breakout season coming, and LeDee has a similar profile. He’s a 6-9, 230-pound combo forward with long arms and a smooth jump shot. Sound familiar?

He’ll have opportunities to score for Ohio State, which loses most of its key pieces from last season. Will he put up the same numbers Bates-Diop did last year? No. Could he in his final season in Columbus? Absolutely.

LeDee will probably be a complementary, but vital piece on a surprisingly good Ohio State team with future star potential. That qualifies him for this list.

I'm high on LeDee, but my pick for sleeper of the year is Duane Washington. He'll be the best three-point shooter on the roster this season. Book it.

 TROUBLE IN NORMAN. Lincoln Riley ain't playing around. His team loses one game to a top-25 team in a rivalry and he's making sure someone's head is rolling.

The victim: his predecessor's little brother.

From OU Insider:

Mike Stoops is out as OU’s defensive coordinator, has been able to confirm. His replacement isn’t yet official, as a source said “Riley will make that known soon.”

Following the latest poor defensive performance, the much-maligned coordinator met with head coach Lincoln Riley and OU President James Gallogly to have a serious discussion. It turns out that serious discussion ended up being the decision that Stoops is out.

Stoops’ Sooner defense gave up the most ever points scored by Texas in the Red River Showdown, as the Longhorns put up 48 points. That included 24 in both halves and more than 500 yards of total offense.

Quarterback Sam Ehlinger abused the Sooners for nearly 400 yards alone and five scores. He threw for 314 yards and two touchdowns on 24-of-35 passing, also rushing for 72 yards and three scores on 19 carries.

I think we're seeing a collection of things that point to Urban Meyer's fatal flaw in the coaching realm – he has a heart and seems incredibly loyal.

Meyer likely never would have benched Kelly Bryant for Trevor Lawrence, probably wouldn't have even rode with Tua over Jalen Hurts and doesn't seem the type to can a coordinator midseason.

There's no guarantee those are even the right decisions to make – though the Tua one is looking pretty solid – but I'm just not convinced Meyer would even consider making them, and that could hurt him.

 IOWA APPARENTLY LOVES THRILLING BUCKEYE WINS. After seeing how Ohio State looked on Saturday compared to and how the Iowa offense performed, I'm extremely glad the Bucks didn't get another crack at Iowa this weekend.

Keep in mind, this game was expected to be a low-scoring, grind-it-out, close game. The closing game total was set at 41.5 and Iowa was favored by a touchdown. Instead, we got this absurdity:

I guess a narrow, come-from-behind Buckeye win over Penn State just gets the Iowa  offensive juices flowing. Two out of the Hawkeyes' three highest scoring games of the past two seasons – 55 and 48 – have come the week after Ohio State beat the Nittany Lions in thrilling fashion.

Actually, it's even better than that. Iowa had an off week following the Ohio State/Penn State game in 2015 and 2016, but remember the Buckeyes' overtime win against the Nittany Lions in 2014? Iowa bombed the hell out of Northwestern 48-7 – a season-high in points.

Folks, I'm not generally into bizarre, nonsensical trends, but I want absolutely no part of Kirk Ferentz after Ohio State narrowly beats Penn State.

 COLLEGE OVERTIME RULES, MAN. Let me preface this by saying college overtime is infinitely more fun than the NFL version – but that doesn't necessarily make it good.

Putting the ball just five yards from red zone with neither team doing anything to earn that field position changes the game and in cases like this, is borderline criminal.

Texas A&M ultimately won, because it turns out that Kentucky wasn't fantastic at moving the ball inside the 25-yard line either, but my point still stands.

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