Dwayne Haskins Jr. threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns as Ohio State concluded a turbulent season by building a 25-point lead, then surviving Washington’s comeback attempt in a 28-23 victory Tuesday in the 105th Rose Bowl.
The Huskies were limited to three points over the first three quarters, but tailback Myles Gaskin accounted for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, with the final one coming on a 2-yard run with 42 seconds left.
However, Washington (10-4) could get no closer.
Quarterback Jake Browning’s pass on a two-point conversion attempt was intercepted in the end zone. Peyton Henry’s onside kick was recovered by Johnny Dixon and the Buckeyes ran out the clock for the victory in their first Rose Bowl appearance since the 2009 season.
Haskins was selected as the offensive player of the game for completing 25 of 37 passes. Buckeyes free safety Brendon White was selected as the defensive player of the game for making eight tackles, including two for losses.
The Huskies outgained Ohio State, 444-364, and led 27-22 in first downs and 35:02-24:58 in time of possession before a crowd announced at 91,853.
The victory marked the end of Urban Meyer’s seven seasons as the Buckeyes coach.
The 54-year-old Meyer announced on Dec. 4 that he would retire from coaching because of what he described as “a result of cumulative events,” with his health being the No. 1 reason.
Meyer told reporters he has a cyst in his brain that has grown in recent years, causing him regular headaches. Meyer had surgery in 2014 to drain the cyst.
“While we enjoyed tonight, I don’t believe I’m going to coach again,” Meyer said after Tuesday’s game.
The Buckeyes (13-1) never trailed with Haskins throwing three touchdown passes in the first half.
“We got off to a fast start,” Meyer said. “That’s a top 10 defense, one of the best defenses we faced in the last few years.
“They were playing zone coverage, and we had to be patient because they went around us, over the top, and I thought Dwayne did a great job.”
Huskies coach Chris Petersen said he “had no idea why” his team started so poorly.
“It’s on me,” Petersen said. “It’s not these kids. They practiced hard. They’re ready to play. But we really didn’t play with that edge and that chip that we normally play with … across the whole squad.”
Ohio State opened the scoring on their second possession, driving 77 yards on 11 plays, with Haskins throwing a 12-yard pass to Parris Campbell Jr. for the touchdown.
Following an exchange of punts, Henry kicked a 38-yard field goal with 1:19 left in the first quarter for Washington’s only points until the fourth quarter.
Haskins threw two more touchdown passes in the second quarter, a 19- yarder to Johnnie Dixon with 12:23 left in the quarter and a 1-yarder to Rashod Berry 14 seconds before halftime
The Buckeyes scored again the first time they had the ball in the second half, driving 80 yards on seven plays, with J.K. Dobbins running the final three yards for the touchdown.
Haskins completed all five of his passes on the drive for 75 yards, including a 34-yard completion to K.J. Hill one play before the touchdown. The pass to Hill was Ohio State’s longest play.
The Huskies comeback attempt began with 12:17 to play. With Browning lined up as a receiver, Gaskin took a direct snap and threw a 2-yard pass to Drew Sample on a fourth-and-goal play.
Gaskin ran 1 yard for a touchdown with 6:42 to play.
Browning completed 35 of 54 passes for 313 yards.
The Buckeyes was making its first Rose Bowl appearance since the 2009 season. Their Big Ten Conference championships in 2014 and 2017 would ordinarily have gotten them back to the Rose Bowl sooner.
Ohio State was selected for the College Football Playoff in 2014 and won the national championship. The Rose Bowl was a site for a playoff semifinal for the 2017 season, so the Buckeyes played in the Cotton Bowl, defeating USC, 24-7.
Washington was playing in the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 2000 season, with the loss dropping its Rose Bowl record to 7-7-1.
The Huskies were also playing in their 15th Rose Bowl, tying Ohio State and Stanford for third on the all-time list behind USC, which has made 34 appearances, and Michigan, which has made 20.
Washington was the Pac-12 champion in 2016 but missed a Rose Bowl appearance as it was selected for the playoff, losing to Alabama, 24-7 in a semifinal.
The victory was the second for a Big Ten team in the last six Rose Bowls matching Pac-12 and Big Ten teams.
Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave on Aug. 1 while the university investigated claims that his wife knew about allegations of domestic violence against an assistant coach.
Meyer was suspended for the first three games of the season by the Ohio State Board of Trustees after the investigation determined he mishandled domestic assault allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith.
Another reason for retiring Meyer cited in his retirement news conference was “the fact that we have an elite coach on our staff,” referring to Ryan Day, the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, who was introduced as Meyer’s successor the day his retirement was announced. Day will become the coach Wednesday.
Day led the team to a 3-0 record at the start of this season when Meyer was suspended.
Meyer has a 187-32 record in his 17 seasons as a head coach for an .854 winning percentage, third all-time behind Notre Dame legends Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy.
Meyer’s .800 winning percentage in bowl games on a 12-3 record is second-highest of all time.
Meyer was 83-9 at Ohio State, including three Big Ten Conference championships and the national championship for the 2014 season. He also coached Florida to national championships for the 2006 and 2008 seasons.
Meyer began his head coaching career in 2001 at Bowling Green, coaching the Falcons to a 17-6 record over two seasons. He spent the next two seasons at Utah, coaching the Utes to a 22-2 record.
Meyer had a 65-13 record at Florida from 2005-10.
Meyer will remain at Ohio State as an assistant athletic director and teach a class in leadership at the university’s Fisher College of Business.
“My job as we move forward is to make coach Day, who is an elite coach, make this program even stronger, and that’s all our focus,” Meyer said. “It’s a very strong program, but we’re going to make it stronger.”
— City News Service
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