In a game where tackling was discouraged early on, both the Scarlet and Gray offenses were on display for the 80,134 fans on hand with the Scarlet taking a 38-31 win over the Gray on April 15 at Ohio Stadium.
The game featured just 31 rush attempts to 74 pass attempts, as the Scarlet scored the winning touchdown with 4:48 to play in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard touchdown run by freshman quarterback Tate Martell, which broke a 31-31 tie.
J.T. Barrett got the start for the Gray team and played three drives, leading the Gray to a scoring drive on the opening series of the game, when he threw a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end A.J. Alexander. The drive, and the entire first quarter featured quick whistles as the starters were whistled down before they could be tackled to the ground.
On offense for the Scarlet, Joe Burrow got the start, but split the first few series with Dwayne Haskins. On the opening Scarlet drive, Haskins found wide receiver Johnnie Dixon for an 18 -yard score that tied the game at 7-7.
Barrett returned for a second drive and led the Gray team into field goal range before a fade route to Binjimen Victor in the corner of the end zone fell incomplete. Kicker Sean Nuernberger, competing for both teams, knocked in a 33-yard field goal to give the Gray team a 10-7 lead with 1:44 remaining in the first quarter.
After Haskins found Dixon for an 8-yard gain on the Scarlet's next drive, Burrow stepped back in and delivered a 35-yard touchdown pass to Ke'Von Huguely to give Scarlet its first lead of the game at 14-10.
Barrett came out for his third and final drive of the game and on the first play from scrimmage, his own lineman Matt Burrell, was driven back into him as he threw the ball, which was intercepted by Damon Arnette. Barrett finished the game 8 of 12 passing for 71 yards, one touchdown and the interception to Arnette.
Following Barrett's final series, Burrow took over the Scarlet offense on his own, while Haskins changed teams and occupied the Gray backfield. Following Barrett's interception, Burrow found Dixon for a 44-yard touchdown pass. Dixon beat JUCO transfer Kendall Sheffield on a fly route for the touchdown in the southwest corner of the end zone to give the Scarlet a 21-10 lead.
Haskins then went three-and-out on his first series for the Gray, which led to a Drue Chrisman punt, which carried 44-yards and was fair caught by K.J. Hill. Burrow then led another touchdown drive which was capped by a 40-yard touchdown pass to Demario McCall, who got open on a wheel-route against blown coverage by the Gray defense. On the drive, Burrow completed 4 of 5 passes, including strikes to tight end Luke Farrell and Hill.
Trailing 28-10, the Gray team responded with three straight darts from Haskins. After early enrollee running back J.K. Dobbins opened the drive with a 3-yard carry, Haskins completed consecutive passes of 22, 10 and 30-yards, the last of which resulted in a touchdown pass to Terry McLaurin on a post pattern over the middle for a score against Shaun Wade.
Burrow then led the Scarlet team back into the red zone with a flurry of passes, but on 4th and goal to go from the 6-yard line, Burrow was sacked by Johnathon Cooper to end the drive. Haskins then marched the Gray squad down the field, converting a key 3rd and 10 pass to Elijaah Goins for a gain of 30-yards before finding McLaurin for a 22-yard score the following play to bring the score to 28-24 heading into halftime.
Burrow then came back out for the second half, and led the Scarlet team into field goal range before attempting a screen pass to Antonio Williams, which was blown up by Sheffield, who delivered a thundering blow to break up the pass. Nuernberger came on and converted on a 42-yard attempt to give Scarlet a 31-24 lead with 7:08 left in the third quarter. More than a minute more would run off the clock as Nuernberger attempted two more practice attempts, splitting the pair which didn't count toward the game score.
After taking a sack and throwing incomplete on the first two downs of the ensuing drive, Haskins found Eric Glover-Williams for a 27-yard gain on a deep out-route to extend the drive on 3rd and 16. Haskins again extended the drive on a 3rd and 3 to Glover-Williams, this time for 8-yards before the Gray team was able to tie the game at 31 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Dobbins later in the drive. With a running clock, Dobbins scoring run was the last play of the third quarter.
On the first drive of the fourth quarter, Burrow led the Scarlet team down to the Gray 20-yard line. On 3rd and 10, Burrow threw a pass to a wide open Williams out of the backfield, but Williams dropped what would have been a walk-in touchdown. On the following play, Burrow threw a fade to Austin Mack in the end zone that was broken up, but not before a flag was thrown to give the Scarlet team the ball 1st and goal from the 5-yard line. At that point, freshman signal caller Tate Martell made his first appearance, and on his first play from scrimmage, scored on a designed QB run to give the Scarlet a 38-31 following the extra point.
Haskins and the Gray squad failed to put the ball in the end zone on the ensuing drive, as a Haskins pass into the end zone on 4th and goal from the 10-yard line fell incomplete intended for Victor. Haskins finished the day completing 26 of 37 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns, while Burrow completed 14 of 22 passes for 262 yards and three scores. Martell, who earned one final drive to close the game, completed one of his two pass attempts for 11 yards and rushed for 24 yards on two attempts.
Dixon led all receivers with 108 yards receiving on six catches, tallying two scores while McCall rushed for 83 yards on six carries while also adding 48 yards receiving on two receptions.