Myles Gaskin he needs 53 yards to join Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne as the only running backs in major-college football history to have four 1,200-yard seasons.
105th Rose Bowl
No. 9 Huskies (10-3) vs. No. 5 Ohio State (12-1)
2:10 p.m. Tuesday, Rose Bowl stadium, Pasadena, Calif.
TV: ESPN. Radio: KOMO-AM 1000/FM-97.7
LATEST LINE: Ohio State is favored by 6.5 points.
UW KEY PLAYERS
QB Jake Browning: 20 total TD, 10 INT, 147.2 rating
RB Myles Gaskin: 235 carries, 1,147 yards, 10 TD
LB Ben Burr-Kirven: 165 tackles, 2 INT, 4 TFL, 4 FF
S JoJo McIntosh: 51 tackles, 2 PBU, 1 FF
OHIO STATE KEY PLAYERS
QB Dwayne Haskins: 51 total TD, 8 INT, 175.8 rating
WR Parris Campbell: 79 catches, 992 yards, 11 TD
DE Chase Young: 32 tackles, 14.5 TFL, 9.5 sacks
LB Malik Harrison: 74 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks
Ohio State has one of the most explosive offenses in the country, led by QB Dwayne Haskins, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting earlier this month. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Haskins has thrown for a Big Ten-record 47 touchdown passes this season, with just eight interceptions, and the Buckeyes have nine players who have caught at least 19 passes this season. That makes this a premier matchup against a Washington secondary that ranks among the best in the country. Of course, as Haskins noted this week, the Buckeyes already carved up the nation’s No. 1 defense in a 62-39 drubbing of rival Michigan on Nov. 24. “You know, Michigan didn’t really scare us and other teams didn’t really scare us,” Haskins said, “so we’re not worried about what the verdict is as far as who people think is the best defense in the country, because we feel like we’re the best offense in the country. Whoever we play, they are going to give their best shot. We know that, so we have to be ready to go play.”
The first player in Pac-12 history to have four 1,000-yard rushing seasons, Myles Gaskin has a chance to make even more history in the Rose Bowl. With 1,147 yards this season, he needs 53 more to join Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne as the only running backs in major-college football history to have four 1,200-yard seasons. And for the Huskies to upset Ohio State, they’ll almost certainly have to establish the run early and often — something they haven’t been able to do in losses to Alabama (29 carries for 44 yards) and Penn State (26 carries for 104 yards) in bowl-game losses the past two seasons. The good news for UW’s ground game is Ohio State has been a middle-of-the-road defense against the run this season. And the Buckeyes have been particularly susceptible to long runs, allowing 23 runs of 20 yards or more and 15 runs of 30 yards or more. Among the 14 teams in the Big Ten, only Rutgers (with 16) has allowed more 30-yard runs. “I’ve never had long runs like this in my career,” Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said. “We’re going to have to do a good job this game because they’re going to get the ball into the secondary. They run the ball very effectively. They’re very patient (and) they have really good personnel.”
GET IN THE ZONE
The Huskies didn’t score an offensive touchdown in their 10-3 victory over Utah in the Pac-12 championship, and they rank among the worst teams in the FBS in red-zone touchdown rate. Once they get inside Ohio State’s 20, it’s imperative the Huskies turn those opportunities into touchdowns on Tuesday. “If you’re not scoring the points that you want,” Chris Petersen said, “your guns are going to be pointed in certain directions: the head coach, the coordinators, the quarterback always is going to — you know, a lot of times when it’s all good, you’re going to get too much credit. When it’s not really good, you’re going to get too much blame. There’s a lot of guys around him that have to do the right things. We’ve done some really good things this year on offense. The most important thing that’s been frustrating, I think, to all of us is haven’t scored the points that we think we’re capable of scoring.”
UW’s Petersen and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer shook hands and exchanged a few laughs Monday morning during a joint news conference in downtown Los Angeles. The coaches have gotten to know each other well during their careers — Meyer visited Petersen and his staff for a couple days at Boise State in 2011, and Petersen spent time with Meyer at Ohio State a few years ago. Among active coaches, they have the best winning percentages — Meyer with a career percentage of .853 and Petersen at .813 — and yet neither has ever played or coached in the Rose Bowl. This will also be the first time UW and Ohio State play each other in Pasadena. “I’ve had an opportunity to go to a lot of different bowl games, and I’ve never been to this one,” Petersen said. “But this is the one I did watch as a kid growing up. This is the one. And we’ve been close a couple times in my career, really close. And we have not got here. … It means a lot. Because how hard it is to get here, some of the hard things that we went through this season to get here, my hat’s really off to these kids for making this happen.”
JUDE’S PREDICTION: Ohio State 28, Washington 24.
Yes, Buckeyes have been vulnerable on defense, giving up 49 points in a loss at Purdue and 51 points in a one-point overtime win at Maryland. But Ohio State’s offense just might be the best the Huskies have faced in Petersen’s five years at UW, and even keeping the Buckeyes to 30 points figures to be a hefty challenge. And yet, if the Huskies can get Gaskin going, and if the defense can come up with a key turnover or two — as it did in the Pac-12 title game — then they certainly have a shot closing on the biggest win of the Petersen era.