Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins was 26 of 32 for 293 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s spring game at Ohio Stadium. ASSOCIATED PRESS
COLUMBUS — Quarterback J.T. Barrett played in his final spring game Saturday, but it was the competition behind him that added intrigue to Ohio State’s final practice.
The battle between Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins for Ohio State’s backup quarterback — and likely Barrett’s successor as the Buckeyes’ starter — will continue into the summer.
The Scarlet team defeated the Gray team 38-31 on Saturday at Ohio Stadium, and Burrow and Haskins made a compelling case for the backup spot during the game. The pair threw for 555 combined yards and five touchdowns. Neither threw an interception.
As Ohio State concluded its spring camp, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer thought that Burrow and Haskins played well and that there is no rush to a make a decision just yet.
“I want to watch the film and have conversations with our coaches. We haven’t had that yet,” Meyer said. “I know it is very close.
“I’m not prepared to say who’s two, who’s three yet.”
Haskins, a redshirt freshman, completed 26 of 32 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns in the game, and he played for both the Scarlet and Gray teams.
VIDEO: Ohio State spring game
Burrow went 14 for 22 for 262 yards and three touchdowns, including a 44-yard score to Johnnie Dixon.
Barrett threw 12 passes before departing.
Meyer said all four scholarship quarterbacks, including freshman Tate Martell, “have been exceptional” during the final three weeks of practice.
Although both backup options looked feasible in the game, the Burrow vs. Haskins debate seemed too close for a decision.
“It’s definitely close,” Haskins said. “That’s up to the coaches to decide who wants to be No. 2, but I think I’ve done everything I could possibly do during the spring to show what I can do.”
Ultimately, one will win the job during fall camp, but Burrow said there has been no ill will between quarterbacks.
“We’re all great friends. We hang out on the weekends, go to dinner, do all of that off the field,” Burrow said. “Obviously on the field, we’re competing with each other. But off the field, we’re great friends.”
Haskins and Burrow echoed the same sentiment: There is no use in worrying about the other player. Although the competition is a two-man game, both said they were focused on themselves first and foremost.
“Basically every day I’m going to better myself,” Haskins said. “I’m not worried about how J.T. throws or how Joe or Tate throws. It’s all about me getting better every day.”
RECRUITING TRAIL: The Buckeyes picked up good recruiting news throughout the day.
Before the game, Tennessee offensive tackle Max Wray — a four-star talent — verbally committed to Ohio State against offers from a number of Southeastern Conference schools, including Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana State, and Tennessee.
During halftime, OSU received a surprise commitment from Oklahoma safety Josh Proctor, also a four-star player. Proctor had offers from Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, plus Michigan, Florida, and Georgia, among others.
Wray and Proctor became the sixth and seventh members of Ohio State’s 2018 class.
ALMOST FULL: Ohio State announced an official attendance of 80,134 fans. The stadium had more than 20,000 seats unavailable because of restoration work to the upper level, C deck, on the east side of the stadium.
Earlier in the week, OSU said 84,000 seats were available for the game.
LIGHT START: The Buckeyes started the spring game with what amounted to padded two-hand touch, or no tackling.
For the duration of the first quarter — which featured most of the Buckeyes’ starters, including Barrett — officials blew the play dead any time the ballcarrier and a defensive player converged.
Ohio State did something similar after the 2014 season, and it did so again to avoid unnecessary contact.
“It’s either you don’t play the guys or you restrict the tackling and keep guys up,” Meyer said. “I wanted them to experience the crowd and play and finish a good spring.”
KICKING GAME: Former starting kicker Sean Nuernberger was perfect, making field goals of 33, 42, and 47 yards and converting all nine of his extra-point attempts. (The 47-yarder did not count toward the score.)
Nuernberger lost his starting job to Tyler Durbin last season.
Blake Haubeil, who signed in February, has not yet enrolled but is expected to compete for the job during the summer.
Ohio State receiver Parris Campbell, left, attempts to get away from linebacker Chris Worley during Saturday’s spring game in Columbus. ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett throws a pass during Saturday’s spring game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. Barrett attempted only 12 passes. ASSOCIATED PRESS