The marquee matchup in the Rose Bowl was supposed to be Dwayne Haskins against a talented Washington secondary.
So naturally Mike Weber stole the show early in Ohio State’s 28-23 win.
The junior running back ran for 56 of his 96 yards in the first quarter, averaging 9.3 yards per carry while Haskins was a pedestrian 5 for 9 passing for 54 yards.
“Mike ran the ball really efficiently and got a lot of first downs with him,” Haskins said. “Opened up the passing game for us, giving us some wide-open lanes and as far as impacting the zone coverage.”
He narrowly missed his second 1,000-yard rushing season, finishing with 954 yards on 172 carries, but he did move up the Ohio State career rushing yards list.
Weber, who announced before the game he intends to enter the NFL draft, finished his Buckeye career with 2,676 yards, passing Raymont Harris (2,649) for 13th place in OSU history.
Senior receiver Parris Campbell agreed Weber’s early work helped him find room to operate.
“I think in every game, you know, a big thing we want to do is establish the run early. Just from speaking from a receiver standpoint, having defenses worry about the run early on definitely makes it easier on us because defenders play a little soft, they might want to load the box, and it makes it easier on us.”
Campbell also left his mark on the record book
The senior from Akron caught 11 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown, breaking David Boston’s single-season record for catches (85 in 1998) along the way.
Campbell, who finished the year with 90 catches for 1,063 yards, also became the fifth Ohio State receiver to go over 1,000 yards in a season, joining Boston, Terry Glenn, Michael Jenkins and Middletown grad Cris Carter.
He moved up to sixth on the school’s career receptions list with 143 — one behind current teammate K.J. Hill — and passed Cedric Anderson and Cory “Philly” Brown to move into 15th on the career receiving yards list (1,768).
Campbell’s 11 receptions tied for fifth most in a Rose Bowl game.
Sophomore Brendon White made history even before being named the defensive most valuable player of the Rose Bowl.
His start at safety made White and his father, William, the second father/son duo to start in the Rose Bowl for Ohio State.
They join Howard “Hopalong” Cassady and his son, Craig.
Hopalong Cassady was a Heisman Trophy-winning halfback for Ohio State in the 1955 game while his son was a defensive back in ‘76.
The younger White ended up with eight tackles — all solos — including two for loss. He also was credited with one of Ohio State’s seven pass breakups.
His father was a star safety for the Buckeyes who started in the 1985 Rose Bowl.
The Huskies made a run at the biggest comeback in Rose Bowl history, a mark set last season when Georgia recovered from a 31-14 deficit to Oklahoma in one of the national semifinals.
The Bulldogs ultimately won 54-48 in double overtime.
Washington trailed 28-3 entering the fourth quarter but outscored Ohio State 20-0 in the final stanza.