Urban Meyer’s final game at Ohio State will be in “The Granddaddy of Them All.”
No. 6 Ohio State meets No. 9 Washington in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual on Jan. 1. It’s a classic matchup between the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions, and Meyer’s final game before retirement will be the dominant storyline in Pasadena, Calif.
Ohio State (12-1) fell short of the College Football Playoff but still capped off its third Big Ten championship season under Meyer, who started the year on a three-game suspension. New coach Ryan Day will take over after this game. The Buckeyes are led by Heisman Trophy finalist Dwayne Haskins, who enjoyed a record-setting season at quarterback with 4,580 passing yards and 47 touchdowns. The Buckeyes ranked No. 8 in the FBS with 43.5 points per game.
Washington (10-3) won its second Pac-12 championship under Chris Petersen, and the Huskies are led on offense by four-year starter Jake Browning and the school’s all-time leading rusher in Myles Gaskin. Washington ranks fifth in the FBS in scoring defense (15.5).
This should be a fun matchup. With that in mind, here is a look at how those teams stack up:
How to watch Ohio State-Washington
The Rose Bowl Game can be seen on ESPN at 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 1. The game will be televised nationally but can streamed on WatchESPN.com.
Ohio State-Washington betting trends
— Ohio State opened as a 5.5-point favorite, but the line ticked up to 6.5 after news of Meyer’s retirement. The Buckeyes are 8-3 all time against the Huskies.
— Both teams are making their 15th Rose Bowl appearance. Ohio State is 7-7 in the Rose Bowl. The Huskies are 7-6-1.
— Ohio State was 6-7 against the spread this season. They were 2-0 straight up and 1-1 against the spread when favored by fewer than 10 points.
— Washington was 4-9 against the spread this season, but that included a 1-1 record as the underdog.
Three keys for Ohio State-Washington
— Dwayne Haskins’ sendoff? There has been a lot of speculation Haskins might turn pro after this game, but it’s a chance to watch his mastery in spreading the ball out to Ohio State’s receivers. Parris Campbell, K.J. Hill, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon all had more than 600 receiving yards this season. Washington allowed just nine passing touchdowns this season, tied for fourth-fewest in the country. Bryon Murphy and Taylor Rapp are part of a talented secondary, and stud linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven had two interceptions and six pass breakups.
— Jake Browning. The four-year starter has had an up-and-down four years with the Huskies, and he never recaptured the form that led the team to the College Football Playoff in 2016. Browning had just one 300-yard game and four games without an interception in 2018. Warren Moon, Billy Joe Hobert, Mark Brunell and Marques Tuiasosopo are the Huskies quarterbacks who have been named Rose Bowl MVP in the last 30 years. A win here would put Browning in that class.
— Washington tackles vs. Ohio State defensive ends. Washington tackle Trey Adams, a potential first-round pick, was healthy at the end of the season. Teamed with Kaleb McGary, the Huskies have two experienced seniors, and Gaskin turned it on with 524 rushing yards and five touchdowns in the Huskies’ last four wins. Ohio State counters with defensive ends Chase Young and Dre’Mont Jones, who had 8.5 sacks apiece and improved against the run.
Ohio State-Washington stat that matters
If Washington wants to slow down Haskins, the Huskies need to get off the field on third down. The Buckeyes rank No. 10 in the FBS with a 48.2 conversion rate on that situation. Haskins has a 163.4 passer rating on third down this season. The Huskies ranked No. 65 on third-down defense.
Ohio State-Washington prediction
It’s tough because both coaches excel in big games. Ohio State will come out emotional. Haskins will come out firing, and you can expect a few trick plays from Petersen as usual. Washington will make this a four-quarter game. It’s just tough not to go with Meyer in this situation, given the significance of the game and the passing of the torch to Day.
Ohio State-Washington final score
Ohio State 38, Washington 28