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Ohio State football: Breaking down the offense vs. Rutgers

The Buckeyes were once again rolling on all-cylinders, scoring 56 points and racking up 585 total yards vs. Rutgers.

Jamie Sabau

J.T. Barrett

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD passes Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
3 34 19 12 3 4 2 4 1
Pressures Hit during throw Sacked Pass break-up Batted at LOS Drops Intercepted TD run Defensive PI
5 3 0 2 0 1 0 2 0
  • J.T. Barrett started the game off excellent, going 9-9 passing with 2 touchdowns. His first incompletion came at the 10:11 mark of the second quarter.
  • After completing his first nine passes and his first 13-16, Barrett finished the game 6-15 passing which is most likely why Meyer did not grade him out as a champion. I thought he still made good decisions but his accuracy dipped when the game was in control. Meyer wants his team to play the full 60 minutes without taking their foot off the gas.
  • Barrett's worst throw of the game came on a deep wheel route to Dontre Wilson, he had the speedster wide open for an easy six but vastly underthrew the ball. Wilson had his man beat by about 7-yards but the ball was released awkwardly and it fell to the turf.
  • On the broadcast they talked about how Coach Tom Herman said Barrett has made the right decision 85% of the time on the zone read, on whether to hand the ball off or keep it. That is outstanding.
  • He had a great scramble for a first down on second-and-two with 7:00 left in the first quarter where he felt pressure from an unblocked blitzer from the blindside. Barrett spun away from the defender, kept his eyes downfield and picked up the first down with his legs. His maturation in every facet of the game is astounding.
  • Barrett is extremely comfortable in the pocket, going through multiple progressions and trusting his offensive line to give him time. He is making the proper reads at the line of scrimmage and then trusting the players around him to do their 1/11th.

Running Backs

  • Barrett has done a nice job of checking down to Elliott on swing passes, it is always good to have a running back with reliable hands out of the backfield.
  • Since the first game, it seems that Elliott has ran harder and with more power, gaining yards after contact on almost every play. He may not be Carlos Hyde right now but he is improving in every aspect of the game, every single game.
  • I really like Rod Smith as a short yardage/ goal line back. He is a big bodied power back and has a good forward lean that allows him to pick up tough yardage. If Elliott is fatigued, Smith is a very solid number two power back.
  • It was easy to forget about Curtis Samuel, who had a solid couple of games before losing a fumble and getting injured vs. Cincinnati. It will be interesting to see if he can earn the coach's trust back to gain more carries as the season moves on.
  • An underrated part of Elliott's game is his downfield blocking on Barrett quarterback keepers. He always seems to lay a key block to spring Barrett for extra yardage.

Wide Receivers

  • This was a breakout game for Jalin Marshall, securing three of his four targets for 58 yards. He is a great weapon on slants and short passes, getting the ball in his hands quickly to make a play after the catch.
  • Marshall took over the punt return duties from Dontre Wilson, returning four of them for an average of 11.3 yards.
  • Wilson took his first wildcat snaps of the season after Marshall took on those duties against Cincinnati. He carried the ball four times for 21 yards.
  • Wilson played 13 snaps in the first half compared to Marshall's 11 snaps. Wilson got his bell rung on a kick return with 6:30 remaining in the third quarter and did not return. Marshall had 19 snaps to Wilson's 16 snaps when he went out of the game.
  • Michael Thomas is very reliable on 5-yard slant patterns and his size allows him to break tackles after the catch. He runs nice routes and finds a way to make separation on opposing defensive backs.
  • Evan Spencer continues to be the best downfield blocker on the wide receiver corps. Although he only had two receptions, (including a nifty one-handed touchdown catch) his blocking effort was rewarded with seven targets in the passing game.

Tight Ends

  • Jeff Heuerman gets all of the hype at the tight end position but as I noted last season, Nick Vannett is not far behind and he seems to be one of Barrett's favorite targets.
  • Vannett was targeted twice vs. Rutgers and both went for touchdowns. His second touchdown came on a play-action pass in the seam, a route that Heuerman ran last year for multiple scores in the red zone.
  • I thought we would see more double tight end sets but they did not have to go to the power run game in the first half with the way that Barrett was throwing the ball.

Offensive Line

  • The offensive line was excellent in the first half, giving Barrett ample time to throw the ball and survey the field. They allowed only one pressure to go along with no sacks or hits on 15 quarterback dropbacks,
  • They paved the way on the ground for 324 yards on 40 carries, an 8.1 average per carry.
  • ESPN's Todd McShay pointed out a play where Barrett was able to check down to his fifth progression on a completion to Heuerman. The offensive line is light years ahead of where it was vs. Virginia Tech.
  • Taylor Decker and Billy Price had a miscommunication that led to Barrett getting hit pretty hard on an incomplete pass in the third quarter. They got tangled up in a stunt which allowed the Rutgers' defensive end to get a clean hit on the quarterback.
  • The line needs to get away from mental mistakes, jumping offsides a couple of times.
  • The offensive line gave Barrett 3.11 seconds (an eternity) to let the play develop and complete this deep post to Devin Smith.
  • I thought it was interesting (yet obvious) that they used Daryl Baldwin at tight end and Heuerman at right tackle when running a quarterback sweep on fourth-and-short. It was easily converted but against a well coached team, that may not work.

Defensive Tidbits

  • Raekwon McMillan is the best middle linebacker on the team. Grant started but McMillan played the majority of the snaps. His best series came on Rutgers' second offensive series where he made two straight tackles in the run game by fighting off blocks and keeping his outside shoulder free, then he came up to make a stick on a crossing route before the first down marker on third down. McMillan is living up to his 5-star hype and I believe that the staff will continue to give him more and more snaps each game. His instincts are off the chart for a true freshman.
  • Speaking of the linebackers, the linebackers are very good at timing their blitzes, especially Joshua Perry and Darron Lee. Both have great instincts when blitzing and resemble another great player that Urban Meyer coached in the past when it came to timing blitzes, Brandon Spikes.
  • I did not chart defensive pressures but Rutgers' quarterback Gary Nova seemed to be running for his life on the majority of his dropbacks.
  • The secondary is improving every game, forcing turnovers and showing better technique than we have seen in the past few seasons. They have 10 interceptions on the season, tied for the 13th most in the nation. They also have allowed only 181.7 passing yards per game this season, tied for the 16th best mark in the nation.