In the wake of Ohio State's resounding 38-10 victory over Penn State this past Saturday, perhaps the only thing an oft greedy Buckeye fanbase wanted in the wake there of was confirmation that the guy, at least amongst the majority of the fanbase, have been clamoring for all season would officially be the every down quarterback.
A season after rewriting the record books, J.T. Barrett lost the Ohio State quarterback competition to last year's postseason hero, Cardale Jones, and whether the two were alternating in successive series or Jones' inconsistency was forcing the OSU braintrust to give Barrett some burn, wasn't able to play consistently better enough to take the reins for good.
With Jones playing the kind of game fickle Ohio State fans had been catastrophizing his other "lowlights", Barrett played arguably his best -- or at least most consistent -- of the 2015 season. Urban Meyer said as much in the aftermath that Penn State just didn't seem ready for the option look Barrett provided, and though Barrett hardly lit the box score up from a passing vantage, was so effective as a runner against a confused Nittany Lion defense, it's easy to see why Buckeye faithful would want to continue riding that hot hand.
And the coaches seem inclined to do this that.
To the delight of your uncle on Facebook, J.T. Barrett will guide the Buckeyes as their starting quarterback moving forward.
Hardly playing coy in a Monday press conference, Urban Meyer said the staff looked at the tape and came to the same conclusion many fans had been calling for for so many weeks.
Since the Maryland game, in which Barrett became a closer of sorts after the Ohio State offense struggled in the red zone under mostly Jones in previous weeks, the Bucks have gone 11-for-11 the past two weekends with 10 touchdowns in which Barrett has guided the ship on all but one of those. And though he didn't exactly light the box score on fire passing the ball Saturday, the Bucks looked the best they had in any non-Maryland game against a real flesh and blood opponent under Barrett's guidance.
Though he rewrote just about every Buckeye freshman quarterback record (and even some league records) a season ago, Barrett's road here wasn't some elaborate conspiracy to prove that you know more about football than a head coach with three national championships.
Even accounting for short dumpoffs/jet sweeps and the like, Barrett's been a worse passer than his counterpart, averaging a lower completion percentage, lower quarterback rating, less yards per attempt, and a similar number of interceptions given how many balls he's thrown. But there's no questioning the intangibles.
Though Cardale Jones is beloved in the locker room because of his personality, J.T. Barrett has the respect of his teammates on and off the field alike. Despite losing the Buckeye starting quarterback competition, he was voted a team captain by his teammates. And when Barrett's been in, there seems to be an almost unquantifiable confidence amongst the other 10 players you just don't see when he's not.
Barrett also brings a dimension to the Ohio State offense Jones simply can't. A nimble runner and a quick decision maker, the Buckeyes are able to introduce a zone read element that just isn't part of Jones' game when Barrett is in. Though Jones has had some success bowling over opposing defenders when plays breakdown, designed runs for him have been tedious to watch at best. Barrett's long scoring (or score enabling) runs became a staple of OSU highlights a year ago, and we've seen flashes of those already again this season.
While Barrett won't be a cure all, particularly when he runs into the kind of defenses that limit what he does best but may have been more vulnerable to Jones' deep vertical passing threat, he'll help stop a debate that Urban Meyer himself acknowledged as "exhausting" a week ago. And you'll likely be hard pressed to find any Ohio State fans not glad it's over either.