Michigan Players on High Alert for Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins

Michigan Players on High Alert for Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins

Football

Michigan Players on High Alert for Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Ohio State has the No. 3 passing offense and is led by the nation’s No. 3 passer in Dwayne Haskins.

The Buckeyes offense is formidable, and it centers entirely around Haskins, who’s thrown up to 73 passes in a game, and has set every imaginable passing record for Ohio State. Naturally, that means that the Michigan secondary is on high alert.

But, Monday, the day Michigan first starts looking at film in earnest of the upcoming opponent, wasn’t exactly the first time that the Wolverines started getting a view of how formidable Haskins and the OSU passing offense can be.

“I pay attention quite often throughout the year,” senior safety Tyree Kinnel said. “He’s a good player, as we’ve all seen what he did when he came in last year. Had great poise, controlled the game really well. He’s doing extremely good this year. He just broke the record, so he’s definitely gonna be a challenge.

“He has great weapons on the outside of him. Two great running backs. They’re a great offense. We’re excited to play against him and the offense. They know how to compete very well.”

“Haskins is a good quarterback – everything goes through him,” junior linebacker Devin Bush Jr. said. “He’s a facilitator, he’s a QB, he’s a leader. He’s having a great year this year. We’ve just got to keep the pressure on him, make him force tough throws and move his feet in the pocket.”

In just his redshirt sophomore season, Haskins has completed 294 of 424 pass attempts (69.3%) for 3,729 yards with 36 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. He’s set an astounding 12 Ohio State single-season records, and there’s no less than two games left for the Maryland native.

Of course, Michigan aims to stop him, and hold him to his lowest output of the season — he passed for 226 yards against Michigan State, which has the nation’s 83rd-rated passing defense.

Michigan, of course, has the nation’s top passing defense by a wide margin. The Wolverines average 123.2 yards allowed-per-game. But, last week, Indiana’s Peyton Ramsey managed 195 yards through the air, but was also unpredictable, getting an additional 68 yards on the ground.

Haskins hasn’t shown a propensity to run this season — until last week, that is.

Against Maryland, Haskins carried the ball a career-high 15 times for a career-high 59 yards. He has ability with his feet, but he tends not to use it. This week, however? Expect the unexpected.

“He’s a really good quarterback,” redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Carlo Kemp said. “He’s rewriting the whole Ohio State passing books, passing yards, touchdowns. He presents a huge challenge for us and it would be a huge accomplishment to go out there, stop him, just because of how successful he’s been at home and walk away with the win this Saturday.”

“How good is he? He’s good,” quarterback Shea Patterson said. “He’s got a lot of experience playing the game. I know this is his first year starting, but he’s been playing just like me ever since we were in fourth or fifth grade. Football savvy. I enjoy watching him play.”

Patterson of all people knows what he’s going up against, in the QB-to-QB battle.

He’s known Haskins for years, and has competed against him since they were young. The two continued to play against each other, even in camps like the Elite 11, where Patterson earned the MVP over Haskins.

But on Saturday, The Game will actually mean something beyond each player’s potential.

“Played in the USA camp together,” Patterson said. “I think we were in the seventh or eighth grade – something like that. I met him through there and throughout camps. We were top quarterbacks in our class, so we would always be at the same camps through Elite 11.”

“I’m sure he’s just as excited as I am to play against him as he is to play against me,” Patterson continued. “We’ve been doing this since seventh, eighth grade and we’re both huge competitors and excited for the game.”

The friendship between the two quarterbacks continued up until recently, as Haskins called Patterson for advice about facing the Michigan State defense in Week Eleven — much to the consternation of Spartan, Wolverines and Buckeyes fans, alike.

But, on Saturday, that longstanding friendship probably won’t seem too friendly.

“I would – we’re not going to be friends on Saturday,” Patterson said. “But, just like anything else, it’s football. Off the field – before the game, probably not. Later down the road? Yeah. Nobody not wearing the maize and blue is my friend on Saturday.”

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