J.T. Barrett returned to form on Saturday night. The star of last season brought a threat of running from the quarterback position, tempo to the offense, a comfort with the skill players and a sense of stability and poise in the pocket (he completed 75 percent of his passes under pressure).
This does not mean that the storybook career of Cardale Jones will come to an abrupt end though, as Barrett carried the ball 11 times and had an injury scare on the night, which may force "12 gauge" back into action before the season ends.
Here is the breakdown:
|Designed runs||Dropbacks||Completions||Incompletions||TD pass||Scramble||Overthrow||Underthrow||Throwaway|
|Pressured||Sacked||Hit during throw||Pass break-up||Batted at LOS||Drops||Turnovers||TD run||Defensive PI|
*Tap passes do not count as pass attempts
- Barrett had a very accurate night from the pocket. Out of his four incompletions, two of them were on target; one was dropped and one was broken up. He faced some pressure but I also credited the sack to the quarterback because he stepped up into the rush, instead of rolling out of the pocket. He was hit four times after/during the throw and pressured twice into throwing early.
- 10 designed runs and a scramble is way too much on Barrett's body and it is only hurting him in the long run. It's nice to have a quarterback run option, but especially the eight designed runs in the first half is just too much for a player who was making his first start since breaking his ankle.
- Excluding the disastrous third down attempt on the first drive, where he must have had a flashback to his ankle injury, he constantly made the smart reads, like here:
- The captain's vision was a little shaky and he missed three big throws.
- He had Miller streaking down the middle of the field, uncovered for what would have been a sure touchdown.
- Here, the nickleback covering Jalin Marshall (red arrow) blitzed off the edge. Barrett should have recognized that and hit Marshall right away, as the hot read, for the easy third down conversion.
- Here, Barrett missed another cornerback blitz. The corner covering Michael Thomas came off the edge and Barrett did not see it coming. He would have hit Thomas for a touchdown. Overall, the quarterback showed some rust with his pre-snap reads and I guarantee this will be fixed during the bye week.
- On the first play of the second drive Barrett lofted a ball downfield that hit Michael Thomas in the hands, but it was dropped. Barrett did a nice job of stepping up in the pocket to avoid the rush and put it right over the safety and the cornerback. It was a tough grab to make but I credited Thomas with the drop, his first of the season.
- After a Braxton Miller rush down to the one-yard line, Barrett went under center and executed a quarterback sneak for a touchdown. I believe that was the first time that any Buckeye quarterback took a snap from under center in 2015.
- Overall, Barrett had a solid game running and passing the ball. His mistakes are fixable and I am sure he will gain back some of the elite awareness that he showed last season.
Running backs/ H-backs
- It is not his time yet to make his mark as a full-time player, but Curtis Samuel is already a playmaker. I liked that he got a few carries at tailback and I think him and Mike Weber will be splitting duties there in 2016.
- Speaking of Samuel, he benefited from Ezekiel Elliott gashing the Rutgers' defense in the second half. He badly beat the defensive back when he bit on play-action for an easy touchdown reception. Kudos to Barrett, who stayed in the pocket and took a huge cheap-shot from a blitzing linebacker (who should have been ejected, in my opinion).
- Miller made two huge plays, one on a diving, juggling reception and one on a nice carry as the Wildcat quarterback. Three touches is not nearly enough for a player with Miller's playmaking ability.
- Sorry, but I've ran out of compliments for Ezekiel Elliott.
- The biggest takeaway from Saturday night was the run-blocking wide receiver package of Jeff Greene and James Clark. With the first offense, they were only in on obvious running situations, they will have to be in on pass plays to break the tendency. Look for play-action with them in the future. Greene showed soft hands on his only reception of the night and Clark is known for his speed. If this was a trial run for this package, it succeeded with flying colors.
- The slant to Thomas clicked and that route worked wonders last season. Barrett and Thomas have great timing and they are on the same page when it comes to that pattern.
- Marshall finished the drive when he took a tap pass from Barrett, faked the pass and darted through the Rutgers' defense for a score. If Thomas was open on the play and Marshall threw him the ball, it would have been a penalty due to two forward passes. Good thing he didn't.
- The block of the year so far came when walk-on Kato Mitchell performed a crack-block on a Rutgers' linebacker. Shades of Evan Spencer's block versus Alabama, albeit the stakes were a little higher in that game.
Kato Mitchell doing his best Evan Spencer impersonation. https://t.co/OFTFMzmhq6— Christopher Jason (@cjason112) October 25, 2015
- 12 personnel (2 tight end, 2 wide receiver) was used early and often. They were in it on seven of the first 16 plays in the first quarter. They went away from it in the second quarter, but brought it back again in the second half when they were bleeding out the clock. 12 personnel with the two big tight ends, plus Greene and Clark, paved the way for Elliott.
- Marcus Baugh is bigger than I thought he was and does real well as a run blocker. Here he is on Elliott's first touchdown, sealing off the end and the linebacker:
- The defense started off a little shaky, especially Eli Apple's missed tackle on the first drive that resulted in Rutgers' only true big play of the night. Apple's effort was concerning on that attempt, but he finished the game nicely.
- Gareon Conley got lucky on the first drive when the Rutgers' quarterback overshot Leonte Carroo after he had Conley beaten by a few steps. Conley bounced back with a nice individual effort on a punt block and an interception where he showed unbelievable instincts and ball skills, cutting across a crossing pattern for the turnover.
- The third-and-long NASCAR package of Tyquan Lewis- Joey Bosa- Adolphus Washington- Sam Hubbard is frightening for opposing offenses. Mix in Darron Lee coming off the edge or dropping in coverage and it's an athletically unfair front seven.
- It is too bad that Rutgers' star wide receiver Leonte Carroo re-aggravated his ankle injury. He had three receptions on six targets and he would have provided a real test for Conley and Apple.
- One of my favorite recruits of the 2014 class, Marshon Lattimore had two real nice plays. He sandwiched quarterback Chris Laviano on a cornerback blitz with Washington and displayed great technique on a pass break-up, where he pinned the receiver to the sideline and made the play.