Buckeyes receivers have been impressive
COLUMBUS — Urban Meyer hasn’t removed the interim tag from Brian Hartline’s job.
But he could soon. And who could blame him after the way Ohio State’s corp of receivers of performed this season.
Through six games — all wins — the Buckeyes boast one of the top receiving units in the nation.
“He’s been great,” Meyer said of Hartline, a former Buckeye pass catcher himself. “He’s learning on the run, still. Doing some great things. And one thing about our job, it’s valuation friendly. They’re playing very well.”
That’s an understatement.
Ohio State has six receivers with 13 or more catches and two who’ve already surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for their careers (Parris Campbell and K.J. Hill). That number could grow to three Saturday if Terry McLaurin can haul in 173 yards worth vs. Minnesota as the Buckeyes go for a 7-0 start before the home fans at Ohio Stadium.
It’s not so much the numbers that make OSU’s receiving group standout, it’s they’re combined talents that give opposing coaches nightmares and quarterbacks like Dwayne Haskins pleasant dreams.
“I feel like we have a really dynamic group,” said Haskins, who threw for 455 yards in last week’s 49-26 triumph against Indiana. “We have a great group of guys, great talent across the board, a lot of depth and (Saturday) was making plays when it mattered the most, whether it was passing or throwing.
“Everybody did a good job executing when we needed it.”
Campbell leads the team in receptions and catches with 35 and 501. Hill is second in both categories, with McLaurin, Austin Mack and Johnnie Dixon bunched behind. Throw in Binjimen Victor, along with J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber out of the backfield, and Haskins has plenty of options. Dobbins’ 23-yard catch Saturday was a career-best.
“The offense is continually getting better,” McLaurin said Saturday. “Our defense stepped up when it needed to get stops. Obviously, they didn’t play their best. We didn’t play our best, as well.
But at the end of the day, we got the ‘W.” And that’s all we care about. And Dwayne was just putting the ball on the money. As receivers we want to make plays.”
Haskins has vaulted himself into the Heisman conversation with a torrid start in which he’s averaging nearly 320 yards passing a game, including the 455-yard effort against the Hoosiers.
He has at least two TD strikes in each of Ohio State’s six victories and at least three in five of the six games. He’s only thrown four interceptions.
Ohio State is third in the nation in passing yards per game (364.7) and fifth in total offense (565.7).
The Golden Gophers (3-2) are 21st in the country in total defense, but the unit will surely receive its stiffest test thus far when the game kicks off at noon.
“They’re defense is outstanding,” Meyer said of the unit ranked nationally in sacks. “They’re not a big pressure team, but they’ve got a great pass rusher in No. 45 (linebacker Carter Coughlin). Excellent player. And they had a tough injury to one of the best players in the conference. But their defense is outstanding.”