"I've said it a million times, he's just a natural leader. He's just got something about him that people want to follow him. J.T., when he talks people listen."
- Taylor Decker via Doug Lesmerises, Northeast Ohio Media Group
The quarterback conundrum might have started with J.T. Barrett on the bench, but that never stopped him from being himself. Barrett's character and attitude stayed the same despite being benched in favor of Cardale Jones earlier this season. But now Barrett has managed to play his way back into the starting quarterback position and is set to lead Ohio State where he left off last season. With fans well aware of his persona, it shouldn't shock people that Barrett has been the fiery leader giving the pregame speeches to the offense whether he's started the game or not.
After all, Barrett was giving those inspiring speeches to the team before Ohio State faced Alabama and Oregon. It's a tradition that leaves his teammates ready to go. There's a different feel with the offense when Barrett is leading the charge, and it's something that can only be explained as great leadership. That's a quality Barrett takes pride in.
"We're doing the best we can with him. Two months ago, just getting lined up and getting in a stance (was a challenge). We are so committed to getting that guy (ready). He's done so much for this program. I am very pleased with the way he's blocking and the way he's catching the ball. He's really getting good at his route-running. I'm very excited for him."
- Urban Meyer on Braxton Miller via Ari Wasserman, Northeast Ohio Media Group
Braxton Miller may not be shattering records on Ohio State's offense anymore, but the senior H-back is certainly making the most of shattering ankles with his superb playmaking ability. With his transition to his new position, along with some wide receiver looks, Miller has been making the most of his time in the scarlet and gray. While it remains to be seen whether or not NFL teams will be interested in taking Miller on, there's absolutely no question when it comes to his impact with the ball in his hands.
So far this season, Miller has accumulated 19 receptions for 280 yards and three touchdowns through the air. He's also carried the ball 30 times for 207 yards and one touchdown. But it seems that every time the ball is thrown or handed off to him, Miller continues to add to his already impressive highlight reel, whether it be a spectacular catch or a jaw-dropping spin move.
"On Saturday, it was a 55-yard touchdown in the second half that reminded you why Elliott was considered a Heisman Trophy favorite this year."
- Bill Landis, Northeast Ohio Media Group
Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott is well on his way to cementing his legacy as one of the top running backs to come through Columbus. Elliott went over 1,000 rushing yards on the season against Rutgers this past Saturday, which gave the junior back a nation-leading 13th consecutive game of 100 or more rushing yards. In all, Elliott has rushed for 1,130 yards and 13 touchdowns so far this season, with four games remaining in the regular season. In his career at Ohio State, Elliott has totaled over 3,000 yards and 33 touchdowns up to this point.
While his Heisman Trophy campaign is still going strong, the team success is more of what Elliott cares about. The Buckeyes are sitting pretty atop the polls as the number one team in the country. With an 8-0 record, Elliott is a big reason for the team's success. With J.T. Barrett stepping in at quarterback, Elliott could see a slight increase into his usage, which has already been pretty high.
"College Football Playoff: Ohio State"
- Brian Bennett, ESPN
The Big Ten bowl projections following this past weekend have been released and Ohio State is the only team from the conference projected to make the College Football Playoff. Michigan State is currently projected to go to the Rose Bowl, with Iowa headed to the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. Michigan is slated for the Outback Bowl, while Wisconsin looks to make an appearance in the National University Holiday Bowl. Penn State is listed as going to the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
Filling out the remaining teams in the Big Ten, Northwestern goes to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, with Illinois headed to the Foster Farms Bowl. In total, eight Big Ten teams out of 14 are projected to make the cut, leaving two spots that are designated for Big Ten teams wide open. Teams such as Indiana, Rutgers, and Minnesota all have a very slim chance, but need to start winning games in order to be considered.
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