• Monday, October 15, 2018
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Ohio State, Alabama quarterbacks talk each week as Heisman hype increases


    Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) throws a touchdown pass against Texas A&M during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Sept. 22 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tagovailoa leads the nation in passing efficiency (258.4). He has thrown 18 touchdowns and no interceptions while completing 75.2 percent of his passes.


COLUMBUS, Ohio >> Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins hears the Heisman Trophy talk. He tries not to pay any attention to it. That will be harder if he continues to throw touchdowns at his current pace and his team keeps winning.

“It’s not my main focus right now,” Haskins said. “My main focus is every day getting better so I can be in that conversation for the rest of the season.”

As good as Haskins has played in his first season as a starter, he finds himself a distant second in the race for the Heisman behind Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, a 2/3 favorite to win the award. The odds of Haskins winning dropped from 15/4 to 9/2 this week.

Haskins and Tagovailoa share more than Heisman headlines and spots in the national rankings. They share a history that dates back to their high school days in the Elite 11 quarterback camp. They have stayed in touch since then. Haskins said they talk every week.

Before their games Saturday, they texted each other scriptures.

“We send out blessings to each other,” Haskins said. “He did a great job last week. He’s an accurate guy who brings a lot to his offense. He’s really upbeat, a spirited guy. I admire his game.”

Tagovailoa leads the nation in passing efficiency (258.4). He has thrown 18 touchdowns and no interceptions while completing 75.2 percent of his passes.

Haskins ranks fifth in the nation in efficiency (190.8). He has 25 touchdown passes, a number that leads the nation, and four interceptions. He has thrown for 1,919 yards, which ranks third in the nation.

The No. 3 Buckeyes (6-0, 3-0) reached the halfway point of the regular season Saturday with a 49-26 victory over Indiana. Haskins is the first quarterback in Big Ten history to have at least three games with five touchdown passes in one season.

If Haskins puts up the same numbers in the next six games as he did in the first, he will shatter a number of single-season school records, most significantly J.T. Barrett’s touchdowns mark of 35 set last year and Joe Germaine’s 1998 record of 3,330 passing yards.

As Haskins continues to produce, the hype will grow. He takes it as a compliment.

“It’s a credit to the hard work we do together as a team and that I do in the offseason,” he said. “It’s a blessing to be considered with those guys, really great quarterbacks. We’re all pretty cool with each other, so we’re compete every week.”

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