Dwayne Haskins Jr. threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns as Ohio State concluded a turbulent season by building a 25-point lead, then surviving Washington’s comeback attempt in a 28-23 victory Tuesday in the 105th Rose Bowl.
The Huskies were limited to three points over the first three quarters, but tailback Myles Gaskin accounted for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, with the final one coming on a 2-yard run with 42 seconds left.
However, Washington (10-4) could get no closer.
Quarterback Jake Browning’s pass on a two-point conversion attempt was intercepted in the end zone. Peyton Henry’s onside kick was recovered by Johnny Dixon and the Buckeyes ran out the clock for the victory in their first Rose Bowl appearance since the 2009 season.
Haskins was selected as the offensive player of the game for completing 25 of 37 passes. Buckeyes free safety Brendon White was selected as the defensive player of the game for making eight tackles, including two for losses.
The Huskies outgained Ohio State, 444-364, and led 27-22 in first downs and 35:02-24:58 in time of possession before a crowd announced at 91,853.
The victory marked the end of Urban Meyer’s seven seasons as the Buckeyes coach.
The 54-year-old Meyer announced on Dec. 4 that he would retire from coaching because of what he described as “a result of cumulative events,” with his health being the No. 1 reason.
Meyer told reporters he has a cyst in his brain that has grown in recent years, causing him regular headaches. Meyer had surgery in 2014 to drain the cyst.
Ohio State (13-1) never trailed. It opened the scoring on its second possession, driving 77 yards on 11 plays, with Haskins throwing a 12-yard pass to Parris Campbell Jr. for the touchdown.
Following an exchange of punts, Henry kicked a 38-yard field goal with 1:19 left in the first quarter for the Huskies only points until the fourth quarter.
Haskins threw two more touchdown passes in the second quarter, a 19- yarder to Johnnie Dixon with 12:23 left in the quarter and a 1-yarder to Rashod Berry 14 seconds before halftime.
The Buckeyes scored again the first time in had the ball in the second half, driving 80 yards on seven plays, with J.K. Dobbins running the final three yards for the touchdown.
Haskins completed all five of his passes on the drive for 75 yards, including a 34-yard completion to K.J. Hill one play before the touchdown. The pass to Hill was the game’s longest play from scrimmage.
Washington’s comeback attempt began with 12:17 to play. With Browning lined up as a receiver, Gaskin took a direct snap and threw a 2-yard pass to Drew Sample on a fourth-and-goal play.
Gaskin ran 1 yard for a touchdown with 6:42 to play.
Browning completed 35 of 54 passes for 313 yards.
Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave on Aug. 1 while the university investigated claims that his wife knew about allegations of domestic violence against an assistant coach.
Meyer was suspended for the first three games of the season by the Ohio State Board of Trustees after the investigation determined he mishandled domestic assault allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith.
Another reason for retiring Meyer cited in his retirement news conference was “the fact that we have an elite coach on our staff,” referring to Ryan Day, the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, who was introduced as Meyer’s successor the day his retirement was announced. Day will become the coach Wednesday.
Day led the team to a 3-0 record at the start of this season when Meyer was suspended.
Meyer, who has said he believes he will not coach again, has a 187-32 record in his 17 seasons as a head coach for an .854 winning percentage, third all-time behind Notre Dame legends Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy.
Meyer’s .800 winning percentage in bowl games on a 12-3 record is second-highest of all time.
Meyer was 83-9 at Ohio State, including three Big Ten Conference championships and the national championship for the 2014 season. He also coached Florida to national championships for the 2006 and 2008 seasons.
Meyer began his head coaching career in 2001 at Bowling Green, coaching the Falcons to a 17-6 record over two seasons. He spent the next two seasons at Utah, coaching the Utes to a 22-2 record.
Meyer had a 65-13 record at Florida from 2005-10.
The victory improved the Buckeyes Rose Bowl record to 8-7.
Washington was playing in the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 2000 season, with the loss dropping their Rose Bowl record to 7-7-1.
The Huskies were also playing in their 15th Rose Bowl, tying Ohio State and Stanford for third on the all-time list behind USC, which has made 34 appearances, and Michigan, which has made 20.
The victory was the second for a Big Ten team in the last six Rose Bowls matching Pac-12 and Big Ten teams.