Oklahoma's Kyler Murray, Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins sharp in 2018 debuts as starters
Despite losing Baker Mayfield and J.T. Barrett, respectively, Oklahoma and Ohio State will be just fine
Oklahoma and Ohio State both entered the 2018 season with lofty expectations, but those high hopes came with a couple of big question marks. Would they be able to replace the production and leadership of quarterbacks like Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and J.T. Barrett?
Well, if the first game of the season is any indicator, yes. Yes, they will.
For a while, you had to wonder if Murray would ever fail to complete a pass as he picked apart the FAU defense with his arms and his legs. Even when he was in trouble, he wasn't in trouble.
Oklahoma's first five possessions of the season with Murray ended with a touchdown, and after a missed field goal ruined a perfect start, the seventh possession found the end zone again. Murray performed so well that he cost himself nearly an entire half of production as the Sooners didn't see a need to risk him in the second half. He finished the game having completed nine of his 11 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns. He also used his legs to pick up another 23 yards on the ground as Oklahoma cruised to a 63-14 win.
Then there was Haskins. Like Murray replacing Mayfield, Haskins brings a different skill set to the Ohio State offense than it had with Barrett. Gone are the designed quarterback draws; in are vertical routes Ohio State hasn't seen since Cardale Jones.
Haskins torched Oregon State through the air on Saturday. He only played into the fourth quarter due to Ohio State's big lead on the Beavers, but he finished with 313 yards and five touchdowns through the air. He became the first Ohio State QB in history to throw for over 300 yards in his first career start.
Haskins averaged 10.4 yards per attempt on the day, and while it's only one game, for the sake of comparison, Barrett averaged 7.8 yards per attempt during his career. So, as you can see, Haskins will be able to help the Buckeyes stretch the field vertically more than they could with Barrett.
His performance, along with that of Murray, should alleviate any concerns about either Ohio State or Oklahoma as they look to replace their QBs.
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