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Barrett leads No. 1 Ohio State to 49-7 win against Rutgers
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) J.T. Barrett has brought peace to Ohio State's volatile quarterback situation - at least for a couple weeks.
Barrett was nearly flawless in his first start of the season, throwing three touchdown passes and running for two scores as No. 1 Ohio State trounced Rutgers 49-7 on Saturday night.
Ohio State (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) extended its winning streak to 21 games, best in the nation, and heads into its off week with no doubt who the starting QB will be when Minnesota comes to Columbus on Nov. 7.
It will be a nice change for coach Urban Meyer, who started Cardale Jones in the first seven games of the season before making the switch to Barrett this week. Facing one of the worst defenses in the Big Ten, Barrett went 14 for 18 for 223 yards and ran for 101 yards on 13 carries. Jones entered in the fourth quarter when the score was 49-0 and completed all three of his passes for 24 yards.
''J.T. Barrett came in and played very well, energized us,'' Meyer said.
Rutgers (3-4, 1-3) missed a short field goal on its first possession and didn't get past the Ohio State 40 again until late in the fourth quarter.
The latest phase of Ohio State's long-running quarterback soap opera has Barrett as the Buckeyes' leading man.
''I didn't really feel pressure to know I was going to play well or not,'' he said. ''It was just letting the game come to me.''
Meyer made the switch this week after the Big Ten player of the year had lost a preseason competition to Jones, who led the Buckeyes to the national championship after Barrett broke his ankle against Michigan last year.
Jones was inconsistent as a starter, but Barrett didn't really make a case to reclaim the job until accounting for seven touchdowns in relief during the past two games.
Meyer said he is starting to see in Barrett the player who set a Big Ten record by accounting for 45 touchdowns last season.
''I think he's full swing now,'' Meyer said.
Barrett gives the Buckeyes more of a running threat and a better ball-handler on their zone-read plays. He scooted 39 yards with a keeper on his first carry of the game.
Barrett doesn't have Jones' powerful arm, but he is no liability in the passing game. When the Buckeyes opened it up, they found big plays against Rutgers' injury depleted secondary. Barrett hooked up with Michael Thomas on a short throw that turned into a 50-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 in the second quarter.
Barrett was a little short on a deep sideline throw to Braxton Miller, but the quarterback-turned receiver made a juggling 45-yard grab. A couple plays later, Barrett scooted in from a yard and it was 21-0.
''He is the prototype dual-threat quarterback and he put a tremendous amount of stress on your defense whenever he has the football because he can run it like a running back and he throws it very well as a quarterback,'' Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said.
The deep ball looked better from Barrett next time. He found Curtis Samuel, who grew up in nearby Brooklyn, in the end zone for a 30-yard TD to make it 28-0 less than two minutes into the second half.
''They threatened us to throw the ball deep,'' Meyer said.
Ezekiel Elliott ran for 142 yards and two scores in his 13th straight 100-yard game.
The Buckeyes first trip ever to Rutgers drew a sellout crowd of 53,111 at High Point Solutions Stadium and their scarlet-clad fans blended in nicely with the Rutgers supporters - until a corner of the stadium broke into an ''O-H! I-O!'' chant. By the end, they were pretty much the only ones left.
It was the first time since 2002 the Scarlet Knights hosted the No. 1 team in the country and the first time as a member of the Big Ten. The prime time, nationally televised game was exactly what Rutgers hoped for when it joined the Big Ten a couple years ago. The move has no doubt been good for the bottom line, but on the football field, the Scarlet Knights are still running a deficit against the Big Ten's best.
Ohio State has outscored Rutgers 105-24 the past two seasons.
After weeks of dealing with this quarterback quandary and the constant questions about it, Meyer admitted it brings him some comfort to feel as if things are somewhat settled.
''It really does. I don't want to admit that,'' Meyer said, ''but it does.''
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP
AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org
TDEzekiel Elliott rush for 2 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. (Jack Willoughby extra point is GOOD.)
TDJ.T. Barrett pass to Michael Thomas for 50 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. (Jack Willoughby extra point is GOOD.)
TDJ.T. Barrett rush for 2 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. (Jack Willoughby extra point is GOOD.)
TDJ.T. Barrett pass to Curtis Samuel for 30 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. (Jack Willoughby extra point is GOOD.)
TDJ.T. Barrett rush for 10 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. (Jack Willoughby extra point is GOOD.)
TDJ.T. Barrett pass to Jalin Marshall for 1 yard for a TOUCHDOWN. (Jack Willoughby extra point is GOOD.)
TDEzekiel Elliott rush for 55 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. (Jack Willoughby extra point is GOOD.)
TDHayden Rettig pass to Andre Patton for 4 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. (Kyle Federico extra point is GOOD.)
Third Down Efficiency
Third Down Made
Third Down Attempts
Third Down Percentage
66% (2 / 3)
Fourth Down Efficiency
100% (1 / 1)
Fourth Down Made
Fourth Down Attempts
Fourth Down Percentage
Total Net Yards
Total Offensive Plays
Average Gain per Play
Net Yards Rushing
Average Gain per Rush
Net Yards Passing
Average Gain per Pass Play
Sacked Yards Lost
Gross Yards Passing
Punt Return Attempts
Punt Return Yards
Kickoff Return Attempts
Kickoff Return Yards
Interception Return Attempts
Interception Return Yards
Time Of Possession
FIVE THINGS: BARRETT EXPLODES FOR FIVE TD AS BUCKS SILENCE KNIGHTS
With J.T. Barrett making his first start of the year Ohio State churned out 528 yards of offense and the Silver Bullets came within seconds of a shutout in a 49-7 beat down of Rutgers.
The win marked number 150 for Urban Meyer – in just the 14th season of his coaching career – and improved his record to 46-3 at Ohio State.
Dominating from start to finish, Ohio State tallied two 100-yard rushers and one 100-yard receiver while the defense held Rutgers to under 300 yards and one meaningless touchdown coming with just 13 seconds left in regulation.
The Buckeyes now sit at a perfect 8-0 and have a bye week before hosting Minnesota in another prime time tilt. Before we dig into the Gophers, here are Five Things from a near-perfect night in Piscataway.
O-H WHAT A NIGHT
Making his first start since last year's Michigan game, J.T. Barrett looked at ease – and maybe more importantly so did his teammates – as the offense rolled with Barrett at the controls.
The redshirt sophomore was still not quite 100% during fall camp which played a role in Cardale Jones being tabbed the starter to open the season but last night Barrett left no doubt he's the best man for the job posting 324 yards and five touchdowns.
Through the air he was nearly perfect completing 14 of 18 passes for 223 yards and two scores. Not that a 78% completion percentage isn't great but he was actually better than that as one of his incompletions – while slightly underthrown – fell victim to a waved-off pass interference call and another was a perfectly thrown bomb to Mike Thomas but the defender pulled on Mike's left arm (PI, anyone?) keeping him from making the grab.
In addition to that well-placed ball to Thomas, Barrett looked sharp on a few other deep throws including a 45-yard strike to Braxton Miller and a 30-yard teardrop to Curtis Samuel hopefully putting to bed some of the chatter that he isn't good enough on shots down the field.
On the ground it was business as usual for the read-option specialist as he racked up 101 yards on 13 carries with two scores while his running mate, Ezekiel Elliott, churned out 142 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns giving the Buckeyes a lethal combo in the backfield.
SHUT 'EM DOWN
Rutgers, despite their general suckery, actually came into the game featuring a decent offense but the Buckeye defense wasn't having any of it.
It would've been nice to hang on to the shutout but what matters most is when the starters were in Rutgers couldn't move the football. In fact, through the first 10 Rutgers possessions (their TD was the 11th) the defense registered a four-and-out or better on seven of them including four three-and-outs and an interception by Gareon Conley of the first play of another.
With 4:34 left in the third quarter the defense had yielded only six first downs and one 3rd down conversion in nine tries along with 150 total yards, 62 of which came on the game's opening possession.
It can't be discounted that stud wide receiver Leonte Carroo was hobbled but it's still worth noting the pass defense held the Rutgers passing attack to about 100 yards under their league average and nickel Marshon Lattimore seems to be gaining comfort in his role complementing the rest of the secondary.
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MR. HANKY
Through the first five games Ohio State was ranked 104th in the country committing an average of eight penalties per outing which was a bit overshadowed by the turnover woes (2.6 per game, ranking 117th).
The flags contributed to the offense's woes as the playbook got off-schedule while the defense allowed opponents to extend drives with their own mental miscues.
Last night, for the first time this season, the Buckeyes played penalty-free football.
In fact, it was Ohio State's first flag-free game since week three of the 2010 season when the Buckeyes posted a donut in a 43-7 win over Ohio University.
The perfect night was the culmination of a three-week trend of improved mental focus as the Buckeyes tallied six flags against Maryland before dropping to five in the win over Penn State last weekend giving them a 3.7 penalties/game average over the span.
A staple of Urban Meyer's offense is the ability to create chunk plays which include runs of 10+ yards and pass plays of at least 15 yards.
Against Rutgers the Buckeyes churned out 12 such plays with Barrett involved in eight of those including six in the first half.
Barrett unleashed a 39-yard run on the opening drive thanks to a nifty move at the line of scrimmage. Later on he added runs of 11, 16 and finally a 10-yarder for a touchdown to make it 35-0.
Through the air Barrett hit Thomas on a perfectly thrown slant for 20 yards on Ohio State's first scoring drive. Two possessions later he found Thomas on a short route but Mike used a mean stiff-arm and fleet feet turning it into a 50-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
On the ensuing OSU possession Barrett found Miller on a 45-yard streak down the right sideline. It was more of a great catch than a great throw but just like Jones last year, Barrett put the ball out there and let his receiver make a play on the ball. Two snaps later it was 21-0. Finally, to start the third quarter, Barrett hit Samuel with a pretty throw for a 30-yard score and a 28-0 lead.
PUTTING IT ALL ON THE LINE
It was obviously a total team effort last year when Ohio State marched to the national title but the work done by the offensive and defensive lines may have been the most pivotal factors.
This year the offensive line has had fits of penalties, spotty pass blocking, a handful of bad snaps and a bit of concern at right tackle. On the other side of the ball Ohio State's pass rush has been solid and the trio of Joey Bosa, Adolphus Washington and Tyquan Lewis have been beastly but nose guard position has been a big reason why the Buckeyes have been soft against the run especially up the gut.
Last night the offensive line again did work run blocking as OSU racked up 281 rush yards on 5.7 per carry despite a stacked box and surrendered just one sack. The pass pro effort was aided by Barrett's mobility but is still a step in the right direction for a unit that might finally be turning the corner towards a return to the form shown late last season.
The defensive line held Rutgers to 104 yards on the ground (3.6 per carry) a week after Penn State's Saquon Barkley gashed them for 194.
The 104 serves as the defense's best effort to stop the run since Hawai'i ran for 80 yards on 35 carries in week two.
The improved effort came with nose guard Tommy Schutt on the shelf with a broken wrist paving the way for Joel Hale, Michael Hill and Donovan Munger to see time in the rotation.
How well these two units continue to fare as Ohio State enters the home stretch will be every bit as important as who takes the snaps as the Buckeyes prep for the stretch run.
The sky is the limit for Ohio State with J.T. Barrett at QB
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — As Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett walked off the field late Saturday night, two television cameras shadowing his every step, his face was expressionless.
Barrett remained stoic, focused and not at all caught up in the giddiness of a 49-7 win against Rutgers, his first start of the season. To him, this sort of performance should be routine. To him, the offense should always fire on all cylinders. To him, this was not a unique night.
“There were no nerves,” Barrett said later. “I didn’t really feel pressure to play well or not. It was just letting the game come to me. Pressure is something if you aren’t prepared. If I were not prepared for the game, I’d feel a little pressure. But I feel like we prepared well offensively all week. I prepared myself well.”
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Barrett had prepared himself well each of the past seven weeks, too, he said. He’d put in the time and effort as if he were theBuckeyes' starter, which he wasn’t. He wasn’t because he didn’t beat out Cardale Jones — until now.
“He’s in full swing now,” said Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who officially named Barrett his starting QB this past week. Finally. He said this after he’d watched his offense look like it should. Finally.
And now, the move makes No. 1 Ohio State (7-0) the clear favorite to win a national championship. Finally.
A Barrett-led offense creates something that Jones couldn’t quite manufacture: Fear. Against the Scarlet Knights, Barrett threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 101 yards and two more scores. It’s a small sample size for a starter, but it’s exactly the kind of performance he put on many times over a season ago.
“He is the prototype dual-threat quarterback, and he puts a tremendous amount of stress on your defense whenever he has the football,” Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said. “Because he can run it like a running back, and he throws it very well.”
Meyer termed it this way: Barrett creates a conflict for opposing defenses — particularly when he shows he can throw the deep ball, which he did against Rutgers. Meyer pointed out that his quarterback has to complete those shots down the field, not just take them. He also said his offense is “now” efficient, meaning it wasn’t with Jones.
All offseason and then throughout the first seven weeks of the season, one quarterback couldn’t exist without a comparison to the other. Meyer couldn’t get through a week without questions and some anxiety surrounding the position. As he enters the idle week having just watched Barrett take his offense to heights it hadn’t seen since last postseason, Meyer was asked if he feels more comfortable, now, with certainty at the position making a difference.
“It really does,” Meyer said. “I don’t want to admit that, but it does.”
And it does change things for the players themselves. Barrett said he prepared as if he were the starter every week of the season, just in case something happened to Jones. He certainly seemed ready when he entered the game in red zone situations the past few weeks. But he also reflected on why he hadn’t earned the starting job out of fall camp.
“I just didn’t play well,” Barrett said. “It was a simple as that. I didn’t play to the level I knew I was capable of playing at. I think that was the main thing. It was all on me, just trying to do too much. Coming back, being the No. 1 team in the country, all these great things, high expectations. I was trying to do too much myself. I was forcing stuff, trying to make the big throw or a big run instead of just letting the game come to me. I think that was one of the reasons I didn’t start.”
Now, Barrett feels he’s taking what the defense is giving him. He’s not trying too hard to make a splash; he’s swimming smoothly. He’s leading Ohio State the way he knows how — making smart decisions with the ball, allowing the Buckeyes to ride their rushing attack, develop the play-action passing threat and also “pitch and catch” with receivers down the field.
“That’s how we expect to play,” offensive lineman Taylor Decker said.
It took until Week 8 to do it, but the Buckeyes have found their offensive identity once again. It starts and ends with Barrett under center, just as so much of last year’s success did until his season-ending ankle injury. But this time around, Barrett is the key to the postseason, too.