Year in Review: 2018 by the numbers
2018 Ohio State was a team unlike any others in almost three decades.
It benefited from one of the greatest quarterback seasons of all time, but also boasted one of the worst defenses in program history.
The highs were high for this team, but the lows and close calls were mind-boggling and indefensible at times.
It included a ridiculous amount of talent and future draft picks and reached as high as No. 2 in the AP Poll.
It had the offensive makings of a national championship team until one fateful night in West Lafayette, when one of the most convincing upsets in recent college football history took place and shattered the Buckeye season.
Let’s take a look at three defining numbers of one of the most confusing Ohio State teams of this decade.
50: The number of Dwayne Haskins passing touchdowns
Since 1956, only seven players have thrown for 50 scores or more in a season.
Dwayne Haskins is one of them.
It’s pretty simple- look at any 2018 college football summary and Haskins’ name will be all over it.
The sophomore quarterback led FBS players in touchdown passes and passing yards, with 4,831. He was top-five in the country in both passer efficiency rating and passes completed.
After his lone season as a starter had finished, Haskins had set 28 Ohio State records and seven Big Ten records, per the Ohio State media guide. He destroyed the Buckeye single-season records for passing yards and passing touchdowns.
The top-two single-game passing performances in Ohio State history belong to Haskins; his 499 yards passing against Northwestern in the 2018 Big Ten championship game are the most by any Power 5 quarterback in a conference championship this millennium.
Efficiency was a major key to the season Haskins had. But so was volume.
His 533 passing attempts in 2018 are the most ever by a Buckeye quarterback, and his 73 against Purdue hold the single-game record by over 20 throws.
The numbers go on and on, for every statistic imaginable.
No. 1 in Ohio State single-season completion percentage. Two games tied for the most touchdown passes in program history. 14 consecutive games passing for 200-plus yards.
Haskins had the single best season throwing the ball of any quarterback to come through Columbus, and it isn’t very close.
He was a 2018 Heisman finalist, but only finished No. 3 behind two playoff-qualifying quarterbacks, Tua Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray.
Haskins declared for the NFL Draft in 2019, ending his career in Columbus after just two seasons. He had played in 22 total games, and left the program sitting at No. 9 on the all-time passing yards list.
It was an unprecedented of season. In a run-dominated conference, on a team with a history of an offense carried by running backs and scrambling quarterbacks, Haskins put together the best statistical season in Ohio State quarterback history.
49-20: Purdue vs. Ohio State, 2018
Ohio State entered game No. 8 of the 2018 season undefeated, with a pair of top-15 wins against Penn State and TCU.
The outlook was clear: win out the season and make the College Football Playoff.
Then came Purdue.
The game, a night trip to West Lafayette, was never close. By late in the second half, Purdue scored to take a lead that would never be single digits again. Ohio State’s first four drives resulted in three punts and a field goal.
The end result was a 29-point massacre, Ohio State’s fourth-worst loss since 2000. The Purdue offense gained 539 yards in the destruction, also good for the Buckeyes’ fourth-worst defensive performance in over 20 years.
Boilermaker freshman receiver Rondale Moore caught 12 passes for 170 yards in the win, the most receiving yards Ohio State has given up to a single player in a loss since 2014.
Moore became the only true freshman to post more than 150 receiving yards in a game against Ohio State this millennium.
J.K. Dobbins was held to only 24 yards rushing on 11 carries, which ties for the fewest rushing yards Dobbins has registered in a game over his entire tenure as a Buckeye.
Purdue allowed Ohio State to throw as much as it pleased; Haskins gained 470 yards through the air, the second-most passing yards in a game in Ohio State history. It wasn’t nearly enough.
Behind Moore and Purdue senior quarterback David Blough, who threw for 378 yards and three touchdowns, the Boilermakers destroyed Ohio State and its perfect season in the span of four hours.
25.5: Points per game allowed by Ohio State
2018 brought the worst Ohio State defense in 30 years, ranked No. 52 in the country in points allowed. Going all the way back to 1988, no Buckeye defense had allowed more than 25.5 points per game.
Since 2000, Ohio State has given up 500 yards or more in just 10 games. Three of those games were in 2018: against Maryland, Purdue, and TCU. Penn State wasn’t far from joining the club, gaining 492 yards against the Buckeyes.
Ohio State allowed five opponents to score 30 points or more in 2018, the most of any season this decade.
Since 2000, Maryland’s 51 points are the second-most an Ohio State team has allowed in a game. That same Maryland team won five games in 2018.
Terrapins redshirt freshman running back Anthony McFarland had one of the single-best performances of any player in 2018 against Ohio State. McFarland ran the ball 21 times for 298 yards in his team’s one-point loss to Ohio State.
The Ohio State defense gave up 298 yards to a freshman running back on a non-bowl qualifying team. The second-most single-game rushing yards by a player in 2018, the second-most given up by Ohio State ever, and the second-most in Maryland history.
Those 298 yards account for 18.1 percent of McFarland’s career rushing yards in two seasons at Maryland. He ran for 175 yards in the first quarter alone, including runs of 75 and 81 yards in the period.
That was the 2018 Ohio State defense’s biggest weakness: big plays. It gave up seven scoring plays of 75 yards or more, an unbelievable number for a top-10 team.
Even with the historically weak defense, nine players combined from that side of the ball were drafted in the next two years.
If not for Haskins, 2018 would be remembered as a disappointing year for Ohio State football.
Luckily, the sophomore quarterback provided us with some incredible memories from an historically imbalanced Buckeye team, undefeated or not.