With 12:17 left in the fourth quarter, the Ohio State Buckeyes led 28-10. The Washington Huskies had just scored their first touchdown of the game to cut the scarlet and gray’s lead to 18. Even with the touchdown, the game still seemed in hand. It was far from over.
Whether it was playing not to lose or something else, Ohio State became very conservative offensively and allowed Washington to make some big plays defensively. The Buckeyes scored a touchdown on their first drive of the second half and then ended the game with five straight punts following that score, including totaling just 12 yards on offense in the final 23 minutes of the game. That, paired with allowing the Huskies to almost do whatever they wanted offensively turned what seemed to be a blowout into a much closer final score. Washington outscored the Buckeyes in the final quarter, 20-0. With all that said, Ohio State was able to hold off Washington to win the Rose Bowl, 28-23.
Led by Dwayne Haskins, the Buckeyes offense scored a touchdown on four of their first seven drives, including notching 21 first-half points. While they were stagnant during the final quarter and a half, unable to make any big-time plays or score any points, they gave themselves a big enough lead in the first 35 minutes of the game that it didn’t matter.
With three touchdown passes in the first half, Haskins not only became the 13th quarterback to reach that mark in a Rose Bowl game, but his third touchdown throw was his 50th of the season. The gunslinger is just the sixth FBS quarterback ever to throw for 50 touchdowns in a season.1 He finished with 251 passing yards and those three touchdowns while completing 25-of-37 passes. The redshirt sophomore was named the Offensive MVP of the game.
Haskins was by far the best player on offense, but he had some help from his teammates as well. Mike Weber (15 carries, 96 yards) and Parris Campbell (11 catches, 71 yards, one touchdown) both had very solid games in their final game as a Buckeye. In fact, Campbell joined elite company, becoming just the fifth Ohio State receiver to reach the 1,000-yard mark in a single season.2 With his seventh and final catch of his college career, the wideout also broke Ohio State’s single-season receptions record as well, which was previous held by David Boston in 1998.
Although he didn’t start until Week 11, Brendon White continued to impress in his increased role. The sophomore only received significant playing time prior to that due to Jordan Fuller being ejected for targetting against Nebraska, which led to him earning the starting safety spot next to Fuller from that point on. With yet another impressive game, White was named the Defensive MVP of the game.
Urban Meyer’s last game as the head coach of the Buckeyes was a perfect microcosm of how the entire 2018 unfolded. It was filled with plenty of ups and downs, with more peaks than valleys, and in the end, Ohio State finished it out with a win. Although it wasn’t a national championship, winning the Rose Bowl isn’t a bad way for Meyer to end his career as a head coach.
Now, we have to wait about eight months to watch the Ryan Day-led Buckeyes take the field. The anticipation is real.