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Ohio State football: Breaking down J.T. Barrett vs. Cincinnati

Against a worthy opponent, J.T. Barrett had the most complete game of his young career.

Jamie Sabau

Total Game Summary

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD passes Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
4 43 26 10 4 8 3 1 1
Sacked Pressured Hit during throw Pass break-up Batted at LOS Drops Interception TD run Defensive PI
1 6 3 1 0 3 0 0 0
  • It all starts with the offensive line only allowing six pressures and one sack on the night. They gave J.T. Barrett ample time to throw the ball which allowed him to feel comfortable in the pocket and check down to his third or fourth option on some plays.
  • Against Virginia Tech, Barrett was pressured or sacked a combined 23 times on 46 dropbacks. In his next 80 combined dropbacks against Kent State and Cincinnati, he has only been sacked or pressured a combined 11 times.
  • Barrett was averaging 7.5 designed runs the prior two games and was only asked to run four times versus Cincinnati.
  • He scrambled (not a designed QB run) more against the Bearcats than the prior two games. The majority of his scrambles were from his wide receivers not getting open after scanning the field rather than escaping pressure from the opposing defense.
  • Since overthrowing his target seven times and underthrowing his target three times versus Virginia Tech, Barrett has overthrown his target four times and underthrown his target three times in the following two games.
  • I have charted eight, blatant wide receiver drops in the past three games, which is too many. Most have been wide open and a few have been momentum changing.
  • With the mix of tempo and play calling balance, I thought this was Tom Herman's best game plan since he has been at Ohio State.

First Quarter

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD passes Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
2 10 8 2 1 1 1 1 0
Sacked Pressured Hit during throw Pass break-up Batted at LOS Drop Interception TD run Defensive PI
0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

  • The offensive tempo was moving at a Chip Kelly-like pace, getting to the line of scrimmage right when the ball was spotted which kept the Bearcat defense on their heels.
  • Barrett was a surgeon in the first quarter, completing 80% (8-10) of his passes.
  • It was great to see Barrett hit a healthy Jeff Heuerman in the seam to set up the first touchdown. This play-action call was used a bunch of times last season in the red zone and hopefully this will be the first of many Barrett-to-Heuerman connections.
  • Barrett threw an excellent cut block on a defender on a Dontre Wilson reverse. A play like this will only gain more respect from his teammates.
  • On his first touchdown pass to Devin Smith, he had 2.64 seconds to find his third option in a clean pocket.
  • I still think Barrett needs to make better decisions in the read option game.

Second Quarter

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD passes Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
1 13 7 3 1 3 1 0 0
Sacked Pressured Hit during throw Pass break-up Batted at LOS Drop Interception TD run Defensive PI
1 2 1 0 0 2 0 0 0

  • The downfield blocking was terrific on Evan Spencer's touchdown catch.
  • Barrett scrambled three times this quarter and only once due to pressure. It is hard to see without an All-22 view, but it is clear he did not see an open receiver down the field before tucking and running.
  • At the 7:47 mark, Barrett made an excellent play avoiding multiple rushers after tight end Nick Vannett was initially beaten by an edge rusher. Barrett broke the first tackle, escaped from the pocket, kept his eyes downfield and got to hit as he threw the ball to Smith for a 9-yard gain. In my opinion, this was Barrett's most impressive play of the season, so far.
  • With the offense rolling, the momentum changed on a drop by Wilson, an overthrow to Ezekiel Elliott and a drop by Smith on three consecutive passes. This drive allowed the Bearcats to cut the lead and gain momentum heading into halftime. For all of the good that the wide receivers and running backs do, they are still inconsistent.

Third Quarter

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD passes Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
0 12 7 3 1 2 0 0 1
Sacked Pressured Hit during throw Pass break-up Batted at LOS Drop Interception TD run Defensive PI
0 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0

  • As I noted pre-game, Tommy Tuberville has used the Bear defense in the past versus Urban Meyer (Auburn vs. Florida). After the Buckeye offense carved up the Cincinnati defense in the first half, Tuberville showed the Bear defense to start the third quarter which did not stop the bleeding. I am starting to think that teams will not be using the Bear defense against the Buckeye offense much more.
  • I have been really impressed by Coach Herman and his ability to fix the problems after the Virginia Tech debacle. Football is a copycat game, meaning once a team finds a way to beat another team, other teams imitate that game plan. Coach Herman has not allowed that to happen since the Hokie defense dominated the Buckeyes just three weeks ago.
  • Barrett's freedom to audible out of playcalls was also noticeable in the second half. Urban Meyer said in his press conference that his quarterback changed the play at the line of scrimmage based on the opposing defense over ten times in the second half.

Fourth Quarter

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD passes Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
1 8 4 2 1 2 1 0 0
Sacked Pressured Hit during throw Pass break-up Batted at LOS Drop Interception TD run Defensive PI
0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

  • The play below looks eerily similar to the play versus Virginia Tech where Barrett missed a wide open swing pass to Dontre Wilson. The difference? Barrett stays calm and completes the pass to Elliott for a good gain. Barrett is learning and maturing as a quarterback every single game, learning from his past mistakes.