Tag Archives: J.T. Barrett

Takeaways From OSU’s Sloppy Win Over Maryland

Linebacker Dante Booker surveys the Maryland offense in the 62-14 win over the Terps. Photo Credit: OhioStateBuckeyes.com

The Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Maryland Terrapins 62-14 Saturday in The ‘Shoe, but the game wasn’t as smooth or pretty as the final score would lead you to believe. During this stretch of the schedule where the Buckeyes are clearly the more dominant team, it’s more important how you look winning than just to get the W. Ohio State will have to be more impressive in their wins against inferior completion in order to impress the College Football Playoff Committee, especially with the Oklahoma Sooners losing.

With that being said, here are my takeaways from the Buckeyes win over the Terps.

* The Special teams unit was anything but, and is likely to get the brunt of the verbal attacks from the coaching staff this week. Everyone knows how seriously Coach Urban Meyer takes that unit. They allowed a 100-yard kickoff return by TY Johnson after scoring their second touchdown. On kickoffs, I always hated how they justified the lineup tight and to the left. Most teams spread the formation to create lanes of containment across the field.

From there the miscues poured in like a spring shower. A botched snap and hold on the extra point after their third touchdown, blocked kick on their fourth possession, shanked punt for 21 yards on the fifth possession, false start on a kickoff with 4:48 remaining in the 2nd quarter, and a 29-yard missed field goal by Sean Nuernberger on their first drive of the second half.

Individually these mistakes would be enough to drown the Buckeyes against a better opponent. Much like the block field goal at Penn State last season that essentially lost that game. This unit has been a problem for a while now. The two missed field goals against Michigan made that win more difficult than it had to be. And as much as I’d like to forget it, the two missed field goals against Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal preserved the 31-0 shut out for the eventual National Champions. Sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better. And it’s at its absolute worst right now. Coach Meyer cut his teeth on special teams and I have no doubt that he’ll correct these mistakes before it cost them again in 2017.

* Like last week, the penalties piled up for the Scarlet and Gray. Against Rutgers the Zebras hit them up 10 times for 106 yards. This week against Maryland it was 8 penalties for 85 yards. So I guess you can there was some improvement. The Buckeyes are 95th out of 130 in the NCAA in penalties, and are the most penalized team in the B1G.

* Speaking of penalties, the targeting rule is the worst rule in ALL OF SPORTS!! No hyperbole. Denzel Ward was ejected for putting his shoulder into the chest of Taivon Jacobs after he made a catch causing him to flip backwards and lose the ball­–it should have been called a fumble–which Ward picked up and was running for a TD when the play was called dead and the flag thrown.

Here’s my suggestion to improve the rule. Go ahead throw the flag and review it on the field.But there should be two levels of discipline like flagrant fouls in basketball. Flagrant one: for incidental contact above the shoulders and to the head and neck area. That would result in a 15-yard penalty. Flagrant two, the more egregious attack on the head and neck area that would bring a 15-yard penalty and ejection of the offending player. I think that would be pleasing to all parties. I agree that a rule is necessary to encourage player safety, but since its use in play the application of it has been ridiculous flubbed by officials.

The rule also shouldn’t come with an automatic suspension. The Monday after the game, have the play reviewed by the higher-ups at conference commissioners’ office, someone other than the game officials. Then decide if the offense is warranted of a suspension for the upcoming game.

* JT stays steady. Buckeye Nation is split on Barrett’s ability to put this team on his back and carry them back to the College Football Playoffs and a National Championship. But he just continues to get the job done. Saturday he connected with seven different receivers while throwing three touchdowns for 261 passing yards on 20 completions against 31 attempts. Oh and he ran for 59 yards and a touchdown.  Buckeye Nation, Just Touchdowns Barrett is fine!

* The defense was stout once again. Maryland was only able to gain 66 (50 rushing; 16 passing) 26 of those came in the first half when the first string was still in. They also only allowed 7 points. Defensive Coordinator Greg Schiano’s unit has not given up 100 yards passing since losing to Oklahoma. I don’t care about the level of competition they’ve face since. In this era of College Football when everyone is putting up video game numbers, their play is very impressive.

It’s on to Lincoln, Nebraska to face the Cornhuskers. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:37 pm.

OTHER NOTES

Urban Meyer is now 10-1 versus his former assistant coaches turned head coaches. Maryland’s head coach D.J. Durkin was on Meyer’s staff at Bowling Green (2001-2002) and at Florida.

In their four game win streak, the Buckeyes have outscored their opponents 210-42.

Buckeyes Trounce Scarlet Knights

Johnnie Dixon III, scores on a 70-yard TD pass, his first of two vs. Rutgers. Photo Credit: Ohiostatebuckeyes.com

As expected, the Ohio State Buckeyes beat the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 56-0 in Piscataway, New Jersey to move to 4-1 on the season and 2-0 in the B1G. It was a sluggish start for the Scarlet and Gray, almost as if they were playing down to the level of competition. The offense only mustered seven points in the first quarter before exploding for 28 in the second stanza.

J.T. Barrett got things going and had typical night by his standards completing 14 of 22 passes for 275 yards and 3 touchdowns. With that performance he passed Art Schlicter for first on the Buckeyes All-Time Passing Yards list. He also rushed for 89 yards. As a team they put up 618 total yards (276 rushing and 342 passing). That averages out to 9.1 yards per play.

The Silver Bullet defense got the shutout while allowing only 209 total yards (117 rushing and 92 passing). 77 of those yards came in the 1st half. For the game Rutgers averaged 3.1 yards per play. The Buckeye D also picked off freshman quarterback Johnathan Lewis twice and had nine tackles for loss.

Even with the shutout, it wasn’t a perfectly played game. Coach Meyer won’t be pleased with the amount of penalties. The Buckeyes were dinged eleven times for 121 yards. That will be their detriment if they continue to be that sloppy against the top teams in the conference.

I was posed the question this week, “is the lower level of competition hurting the Buckeyes?” My answer, yes in the polls and no on the field.

This team is finding a rhythm and its confidence in the last three weeks versus Army, UNLV and Rutgers. As I said last week, these are the type of teams that Ohio State normally plays in the first couple of weeks of the season to prepare for an Oklahoma or a Big Ten road opener. They didn’t get the chance to ease into the season and it showed against the Indiana Hoosiers and the Sooners, especially in pass defense.

Now they’re starting look like a team that’s found its identity. That identity is an old school power running game via the spread formation that opens up the passing attack. While allowing a stout defense to terrorize opposing offenses.

Lesser competition or not, the Bucks are rounding into form with their focus on that late October matchup with Penn State. Hopefully that’s when Buckeye Nation will see the fruits of their current labor.

It’s on to Maryland (3-1), next Saturday in “The ‘Shoe.” Kickoff is set for 4:07 pm.

OTHER NOTES

In addition to becoming OSU’s All-Time Passing yards leader, Barrett now has 10,000+ career total yards (rushing & passing). He is the first in Buckeye history and only the 11th B1G player to reach that milestone.

Mike Weber returned from an injured hamstring to run for three touchdowns in the first half. He finished the game with the game with 44 rushing yards on ten carries.

OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE GAME:

Johnnie Dixon III, 3 catches for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns and DeMario McCall, 11 carries 103 rushing yards a touchdown and 1 catch for 35 yards and a touchdown.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME:

Linebacker Dante Booker had an interception and a sack.

 

No Surprises in UNLV Victory 

Dixon was one of seven different WRs to catch a TD pass vs. UNLV. Photo Courtesy: Ohiostatebuckeyes.com

54-21. That’s the team Buckeye Nation has been expecting to see since they began the 2017 season as the number two-ranked team.  44 points, 361 total net yards and 6 touchdowns came in the first half alone.  They finished the game with 664 total yards, 474 in the air on 10.8 yards per pass play. Very impressive for a unit that has struggled mightily in that department through the first three games of the season.

UNLV, like Army last week, are the type of teams the Buckeyes would normally play to open the season to tune up for a top five team or B1G opener. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Ohio State did what it did to the Rebels.  OSU has more depth, talent and speed than UNLV, who’s at the bottom of a mid-major conference (Mountain West). The Bucks third-team would be starters at UNLV.

The flaws that were exposed in the defensive secondary by Indiana game one, and on the offensive line in game two by Oklahoma, would’ve have been cleaned up against Army and UNLV had the last two games been flipped with the first two. Who knows how different the vibe would be around “The ‘Shoe” right now if they were able to correct them against inferior opposition before being exposed in the national spotlight.

There’s nothing really to analyze from this game. So I’ll take a different approach to this matchup.

However there are other things worth mentioning…

J.T. Barrett is a very, very, good COLLEGE quarterback. J.T. completed twelve of his seventeen pass attempts for 209 yards passing, moving him to 2nd All-time in career passing yards in Ohio State history, before he exited late in the first half. He completed a pass to eight different receivers. All five of his touchdown passes were caught by different receivers.

The first-team defense held the Rebels scoreless in the first thirty minutes, while also registering a safety and two interceptions that led to touchdowns. Coming into the season all the experts said the Silver Bullets were the strength of this team and they did not disappoint. UNLV was only able to muster 264 total yards, while giving up four sacks.

The only thing we really learned on Saturday is that Dwayne Haskins can be as good as we all think he can be. But he’s not ready. To me he looks like a more athletic Cardale Jones, no disrespect to Jones who is athletic in his own right. But, Haskins has the speed to run the read option like J.T. and sling it with power like Cardale. He did throw an easy pick six and had several missed throws playing in garbage time versus inferior opposition. So for all the fans that want him to replace Barrett now, simmer down and allow him to wait his time. We still don’t know if he can beat out Joe Burrow.

All in all, a great win, but pretty much what was expected. It could’ve been worse had Parris Campbell and Rashod Berry had not fumbled inside the five-yard line while going in to score touchdowns. But it’s on to B1G play and Rutgers under the lights.

J.K., This is Your Team Now

J.K. runs 52-yards for his second touchdown against Army. Photo Credit: Ohiostatebuckeyes.com


Fifth-year Senior J.T. is NOT the focal point of the Buckeye offense. 
The Freshman J.K. is. He proved that in the Buckeyes 38-7 bounce back victory over Army.

Buckeye Nation learned how special Dobbins was in the season opener against Indiana when he rushed for a freshman debut record 181 yards, breaking a record set by Maurice Clarett in 2002. Dobbins was just as impressive against Army, going for 172 yards on 13 carries while getting into the end zone twice, one a 52-yarder.

Young J.K. is special like Ezekiel Elliott, the previously mentioned Clarett, Eddie George and dare I say Archie Griffin. Redshirt-Sophomore Mike Weber Junior has officially been Wally Pipped. Sorry, I’m not sorry.

The freshman is different. This is a man-child. He’s one of those rare backs that could’ve played in the NFL right out of high school, like Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson, Adrian Peterson, Leonard Fournette and Derrick Henry. At 5’10” 208 pounds, he’s got the power to run over defensive lineman, the wiggle and the break away speed to beat out defensive backs. 

Ohio State’s offense looks and runs better, pun intended, when they play through the freshman. The passing game opened up in the second half versus Army after Dobbins successfully ran over and around every Black Knight defender. J.T. Barrett rebounded from last week’s poor performance against the Oklahoma Sooners with a stat line of 25 of 33 passing for 270 yards and 2 touchdowns. Those Scarlet and Gray receivers were a lot more open when there were more defenders in the box and less in the secondary in coverage. 

Barrett may have 24 Ohio State passing records, and the B1G record for most touchdowns (107) responsible for in a career, but running the offense through Dobbins is the only way the Buckeyes will be able to run the table, win the conference and get back into the National Championship picture. Think of it like 2014 when Urban Meyer and then Offensive Coordinator Tom Herman ran through Zeke. 

There are several similarities to the 2014 story for this 2017 squad. An embarrassing home loss in a highly anticipated night match-up (Virginia Tech 21-35), followed by a blowout win. That season they also beat a Service Academy (Navy 34-17). Hopefully the coaching staff will follow the same formula by focusing the “O” on their supremely talented running back.

Thankfully for Ohio State fans, they’ll have three more seasons of Dobbins to be the lead dog. OSU is Running Back University once again.

Enough With the J.T. Bashing 

I’m not proud to be a Buckeye today. It’s not because they lost 31-16 to the Oklahoma Sooners in “The Shoe.” It’s not because of the blatant disrespect by the very sensitive Baker Mayfield when he planted the OU flag into the middle of the field after their victory.

It’s because of how Buckeye fans have reacted in the wake of the loss. Especially towards quarterback J.T. Barrett. Or as I like to call him, Just Touchdowns Barrett.

Barrett struggled mightily versus the Sooners. That was obvious. He did so in his last three game, against the Indiana Hoosiers for a half last week, and the entire night against the eventual National Champion Clemson Tigers. I can’t ignore that.

But what I can say is it’s not entirely on him. Most fans don’t watch all twenty-two players on the field. Most don’t know how to read what’s happening and why. So all they pay attention to is the guy with the ball. And who has it the most? The QB. That’s why they unfairly get all the blame, and undeservedly get all the credit.

So let me tell you what I see. I’ve seen an offensive line that hasn’t given Barrett enough time to throw. Especially the right side of the line. I see wide receivers with elite speed, but poor route running not get separation from defensive backs, while also dropping touchdown passes on the few occasions they got behind coverage and J.T. had enough time to sling it down field. I also saw receivers not come back to the ball when it was thrown to them. There’s also been some lack luster play calling, no matter who the offensive coordinator is. Why hasn’t Urban Meyer been called into question for not making proper adjustments, a la Nick Saban.

 

Nobody’s talking those issues. But hey, I’m here to get folks to stop bashing J.T. so I’ll practice what I’m preaching by not bashing anyone else. So back to J.T.

What he is, is a great example of what us Ohio State Alumni want in a student-athlete. Let me repeat that last part. STUDENT-ATHLETE. He’s already earned his bachelors degree, while being the first three-time captain in Buckeye history.

On the field he’s been responsible for more touchdowns than any player in school history (104 as of 9/10) and most passing touchdowns (72 as of 9/10). He’s passed for over 6,800 yards, which is second in the OSU record books, and by the end of this season, if he stays healthy, will pass Art Schlichter (7,547) for first all-time. Most importantly, he’s led the Scarlet and Gray to 27 victories (27-5 record). He also holds 22 Buckeye records and two Big Ten regular season records.

Will he win a Heisman like Troy Smith? Probably not.

Will he play in the NFL like Art Schlichter, Bobby Hoying and Joe Germaine? Highly doubtful.

Will he lead a team to a National Title like Craig Krenzel or Cardale Jones? There’s still a VERY good chance.

Will he beat “That Team Up North” for a fourth consecutive season? I’m pretty confident he will.

Will he finish his career as the most accomplished QB in Buckeye history? Absolutely.

Stop talking about what he isn’t and celebrate what he is. They say you never know what you have until it’s gone. Next season when a new QB debuts for the Buckeyes, I can guarantee you at some point the same Buckeye fans will wish they had another J.T. Just wait.

  

OSU QBs Giving us a Lesson in Unselfishness 

Barrett and Jones are great friends who support each other. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Sports are often touted as being a great way to learn about teamwork, leadership, hard work and sacrifice among other key values. What happens between the lines many times is a microcosm of reality.

But lately, with the 24 hour news cycle, we’ve been inundated with the ugly side. Millionaires arguing with billionaires leading to contract holdouts—in the professional ranks—court cases of unfair labor practices—in the collegiate ranks—and criminal acts across the board ranging from domestic violence, sexual assaults, DUIs, drug and weapon possession and alleged in-game cheating tactics.

But at Ohio State, amidst the most unusual quarterback battle in recent college football history, we are seeing a great example of unselfishness.

First, two-time Big Ten Player of the Year Braxton Miller, as a quarterback, turns down opportunities to leave Columbus as a graduate transfer and immediately star as a quarterback at another high-profile program.

Then in July, Miller bowed out of the QB competition with his 2014 replacement J.T. Barrett and National Championship winning QB Cardale Jones, to become an H-Back/Receiver to help the team. We saw a fantastic preview (2 catches for 78 yards and a TD; 6 carries for 62 yards and a TD) of just how well that might turn out for the team and Miller at the next level.

Then when Urban Meyer sent Jones out with the first team offense Monday night in Blacksburg Virginia, it was Barrett, who accepted the backup role graciously by supporting Jones, greeting him on the sidelines to discuss what was going on out on the field when a drive ended, and mostly sharing smiles with high fives after touchdown drives that eventually blew the game wide open.

Barrett was by Jones’ side all night breaking down offensive possessions. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Monday night was Barrett’s turn to show he’s was a team player with his focus on what’s best for the team, not himself. All offseason, when asked by the media, Barrett and Jones each repeatedly said they were friends and would be happy for the other guy if they weren’t the one to win the starting job.

At the Wednesday press conference after the Buckeyes got revenge Monday for their only loss in 2014 to Virginia Tech, Coach Urban Meyer said “I’ve never seen a situation like that; where they’re both pulling for each other. It’s great to see” when speaking about his quarterbacks.

Remember, these are early 20 something year old kids. Who would blame them for outwardly showing their disappointment? Especially in Barrett’s case, who is the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year with several school and conference records on his resume, and only lost his job because of a fluke injury. He could claim that Jones and the Buckeyes wouldn’t have even had a chance at getting into the College Football Playoff and subsequently winning the 2014 National Title without his performance all season.

What we are seeing with the Buckeyes—and OSU fans hope to continue seeing—in the unselfishness of Miller and Barrett should serve as an example of what we all can do/be if we implement some of the same unselfishness in our society, communities and workplaces. We, like the unanimous number one ranked team in the nation, could be viewed as the very best and virtually unbeatable.