4. First Taste of Ohio State-Michigan Rivalry
Haskins’ first two seasons in Columbus were spent competing with Joe Burrow not for the starting job, but the backup spot behind JT Barrett. After winning the battle, Haskins got the honors of being thrust into a 2017 game against Michigan (OSU’s biggest rival) late in the third quarter with the Buckeyes trailing 20-14.
Amazingly, Haskins didn’t blink. The quarterback’s first drive included a 27-yard completion on third and long and a 22-yard scramble that set Ohio State up on the goal line. JK Dobbins did the rest with a one-yard touchdown run.
That touchdown gave the Buckeyes a 21-20 lead and they wouldn’t look back, rolling to a surprisingly convincing 31-20 victory. In relief of Barrett, Haskins finished 6-of-7 for 94 yards and led three consecutive scoring drives in crunch time.
Already impressive, Haskins’ performance looks even better when you consider it came on the road in Ann Arbor. In that moment, then-head coach Urban Meyer and Buckeyes Nation knew they had something special in Haskins.
3. Another Comeback vs a Big Ten Rival (Sep. 29, 2018)
Looking back on it, Haskins’ ability to deliver under pressure was definitely one of the reasons Washington drafted him No. 15 overall in 2019. After leading the Buckeyes to a comeback victory against the Wolverines in his first taste of “The Game,” Haskins did the same against Penn State less than a year later.
Ohio State looked dead to rights after Penn State took a 26-14 lead with eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but Haskins refused to give in to what many deemed an insurmountable deficit.
In those final eight minutes, Haskins threw a pair of late touchdowns, the second of which came seconds before the two-minute warning, to snag victory from the jaws of defeat. If you can believe it, the Penn State comeback, much like the rally against Michigan, came in a hostile road atmosphere in Happy Valley.
Haskins finished the game 22-of-39 for 270 yards and three touchdowns to one interception. It wasn’t the most gaudy stat line Haskins posted at Ohio State, but his composure in the clutch made this game a defining moment of his career.