WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Notes, Quotes

The Sports Xchange

September 11, 2018 at 9:30 pm.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

–QB Dwayne Haskins has shown in Ohio State’s first two games that he’s not overwhelmed as a first-year starter. In fact, he has looked quite comfortable in blowout wins over Oregon State and Rutgers. Last week against Rutgers, Haskins was on target, completing 20 of 23 passes for 233 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. That gives him 546 yards and nine touchdown passes in the two games.

His ability to throw the deep ball is reflected in three touchdown passes of 38 yards or longer against Rutgers. The sophomore’s numbers could be even better, but he’s sharing time with redshirt freshman QB Tate Martell, who was impressive in his own right against the Scarlet Knights, completing 10-of-10 passes for 121 yards and one touchdown and rushing for 96 yards on eight carries and one touchdown.

–WR Johnnie Dixon is Ohio State’s home run hitter. Two of his four catches last Saturday against Rutgers went for touchdowns — a 38-yarder to begin the game and a 44-yarder to open the third quarter. Both passes were thrown by QB Dwayne Haskins. Dixon also had two scoring receptions in last year’s game with Rutgers.

The fifth-year senior had eight touchdown receptions last year and averaged 23.4 yards per catch. Knee injuries had slowed Dixon in his first three years at Ohio State, but he was finally able to showcase his talent last year while playing in 13 of 14 games. Since last season, Dixon has 23 catches and 10 of them are for touchdowns.

“We have a group of guys who can do the same thing,” Dixon said of Ohio State’s talented stable of wide receivers.

–QB Tate Martell is the backup to starter Dwayne Haskins, but he was inserted into Saturday’s game against Rutgers in the first half and proved why Ohio State’s coaches want to get him into the game as a change of pace in spite of Haskins being solidly No. 1.

Martell led the Buckeyes in rushing with 96 yards on eight carries and scored on a 47-yard scamper in the fourth quarter. As a passer, he was 10 of 10 for 121 yards and one touchdown. The redshirt freshman feels more comfortable running the offense in his second year.

“That was the first time I really got to go out there and throw the ball and throw in rhythm,” Martell said.

“I know what I’m doing when I’m out there, which is a huge difference than what it was last year, when I was going out, like in practice, I was kind of second-guessing myself, where this year I know exactly what I’m doing. I know protection and stuff like that, and just a whole different ballgame now. I mean for me at least.”

–DE Chase Young is a disruptive force on the opposite end of the defensive line from preseason All-American DE Nick Bosa. Young and Bosa give Ohio State a pair of bookend pass rushers that will be difficult to slow down all season. Both have already flashed their game-changing ability in the first two games. Against Rutgers last Saturday, Young led Ohio State with two sacks totaling 18 yards in losses and added a pass breakup. Young was ejected late in the game after two personal foul penalties — one for spiking the ball and the other when he came onto the field from the sideline to celebrate.

SERIES HISTORY: Ohio State leads TCU 4-1-1. The last time Ohio State faced TCU was in 1973 in Columbus. The Buckeyes came away with a 37-3 victory. All of the previous matchups between the teams were played in Columbus.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I want to run so many series, so many plays that we ran out of time, and up so many points we can’t do what we want. But it’s like every series there’s opportunity to go score, there’s me throwing it, me running it or giving it to somebody else to do something with it. It’s a lot of fun.” — Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins.