OSU grade card: Haskins has A+ game, defense struggles again


A grade card on Ohio State’s 49-26 win over Indiana, the 24th consecutive time OSU has defeated the Hoosiers:

OFFENSE: B

Dwayne Haskins was brilliant with the exception of two interceptions. He tied school records with six touchdown passes and 33 completions and his 455 yards passing was three yards short of Art Schlichter’s all-time OSU single game record.

Haskins’ 25 touchdown passes leads the nation. At his current pace, he would finish the regular season with 3,800 yards passing and 50 touchdown passes. Wide receiver Parris Campbell called Haskins “a legend in the making” after Saturday’s game.

The running game was less than legendary, though. OSU did not find the improvement it was looking for and averaged only 3.2 yards a carry, the same as it averaged a week earlier at Penn State.

J.K. Dobbins ran for 82 yards on 22 carries but his longest carry went for nine yards. Mike Weber had 70 yards on 13 carries. Only two OSU running plays gained 10 yards or more and both of those were by Weber.

The offensive line opened holes but not huge holes in the running game and kept Haskins upright except for one sack, which allowed him time to complete 33 of 44 passes.

DEFENSE: C

Give Ohio State credit for making halftime adjustments defensively. After allowing Indiana 317 yards total offense in the first half, OSU held the Hoosiers to 89 yards in the final two quarters. But there were a lot of areas that needed adjusting, starting with the defensive backfield.

Indiana quarterback Peyton Ramsey threw for a career-best 322 yards and had three touchdown passes. His previous best was 321 yards against Charleston Southern last year. Without checking, it’s safe to say Charleston Southern does not have 4-star and 5-star recruits starting in its defensive backfield. And Ramsey did that with two of his top receivers, Whop Philyor and Luke Timian, out with injuries.

On the plus side, middle linebacker Tuf Borland forced a fumble for the second week in a row and had a sack and two tackles for losses.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B+

Punter Drue Chrisman has been so consistently outstanding it is a shock when he gets off a sub-par kick like the 31-yarder he had Saturday. Other than that blip, which wasn’t costly, OSU’s special teams were solid, including limiting dangerous punt returner J-Shun Harris to one return for eight yards.

OVERALL: B-

Indiana is a solid team but it will not be confused with a Big Ten contender and will probably have to hustle to become bowl eligible with a tough schedule the second half of the season. So, even though a three-touchdown win the week after a tough win at Penn State is no reason to panic, there are reasons to worry.

The defense simply has not played at a championship level – Big Ten or national — in the first half of the season. And while watching Haskins throw the ball all over the field is great entertainment, the running game needs to improve, too.

Ohio State’s coaches insist the talent is there to get it right if the players consistently carry out their assignments. Easier said than done.

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