The Gray team took down the Scarlet, 17-7, in front of 61,058 fans at Ohio Stadium for the 2014 Ohio State Spring Game.
Stellar quarterback play from redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett carried the Gray to the victory, along with contributions on the ground from Ball and Dunn. Barrett went 17-of-33 for 151 yards through the air, and though he did not throw a touchdown, Barrett showed a solid control of the offense.
After being sacked by fifth-year senior Rashad Frazier in the end zone on his first snap, Barrett settled in and led the Gray on three lengthy scoring drives.
Barrett's counterpart was not as noteworthy, however. Redshirt sophomore Cardale Jones entered the spring game as the favorite to back up senior Braxton Miller. Jones came out Saturday afternoon and laid an egg in the first half, completely just six passes for seven yards. Many of his passes early in the game seemed to sail over the head of his receivers, possibly due to the fierce Ohio wind.
Head coach Urban Meyer said he was disappointed in Jones' play, but he is still Braxton Miller's backup as of now.
"He had some misses today, but I'm not going to let that ruin the spring," said Meyer. "He's had a good spring for us."
Jones finished 14-of-36 for 131 yards after hitting on a pair of big-gainers in the second half. However, two promising Scarlet drives were stymied inside the five-yard line.
Redshirt junior (and former junior college transfer) Corey Smith was Jones' favorite target on the Scarlet, finishing with five catches and 72 yards receiving. Los Angeles native redshirt sophomore Michael Thomas, a longtime stalwart of spring game excellence, led the way for the Gray with six catches and 64 yards.
Meyer was not pleased with the play of his receiving corp overall. He gave credit to Gareon Conley and Armani Reeves in the secondary, but said he did not see enough from receivers Devin Smith, Corey Smith, and Michael Thomas.
"We're not where we need to be," Meyer said about his pass catching unit. He said he made a concerted effort to get true freshman Johnnie Dixon the ball on deep patterns, but nothing connected.
Meyer wanted to make sure every one was clear that the stats of the game don't really mean much in the grand scheme of things.
"It's more of an individual. I'm not evaluating an offense," Meyer said. "Some of those guys either never play or aren't ready to play now."
Key players like quarterback Braxton Miller, tight end Jeff Heuerman, and H-back Dontre Wilson missed the game due to injury, while senior running back Rod Smith sat our because he was "focused on academics." Wilson had a stinger in a previous practice and did not play, but he did compete at halftime in Ohio State's "fastest student" competition.
The running back competition has been one of this big storylines in the spring, and it heated up a little during the game. Meyer said he was impressed with true freshman Curtis Samuel for the Scarlet team, but it was Ball and Dunn that stole the show for the Gray. Ball finished with 55 yards on eight carries and Dunn finished with 35 yards on six carries.
Dunn said after the game that his goal is to be the featured back on the team, but he knows who ever gets the spot will be well deserving.
"Everybody in my unit – the running back unit – is like my brothers and who ever gets the spot is gonna deserve the spot," Dunn said. "Imma work my hardest to get the starting spot."
Dunn added that running backs coach Stan Drayton does a good job of helping the unit grow closer.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to kick off the 2014 regular season August 30 on the road against Navy in the Baltimore Ravens' M&T Bank Stadium.