The Ohio State quarterback carousel extended to Week 9, when newly named starter J.T. Barrett was suspended for one game following his Halloween eve arrest. With Barrett up in the coach's box for Saturday night's game against Minnesota, Cardale Jones got another chance to challenge Barrett for the starting gig, but the 6'5 signal caller did not strengthen his case.
Excluding two drives, the offense lacked the tempo, momentum and execution that they showed with Barrett against Rutgers. Jones did not play terribly, but he missed a couple makeable throws, took two bad sacks and the group as a whole looked sluggish.
Barrett will be back in shotgun next week against Illinois, which will allow the offense to gain some momentum for the upcoming showdowns against Michigan State and Michigan, in hopes of another Big Ten Championship Game berth.
|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
- The numbers were solid yet unspectacular for Jones. I thought the offensive line gave him time for the most part, but once again, he missed some big throws that should have been completed. Five out of his nine incompletions were due to his inaccuracy.
- The first dropback of the game Jones was sacked. Reminiscent of most of the sacks that he has taken this season, he held on the ball for a bit too long, as he had Ezekiel Elliott open in the flat. Jones has to have an alarm clock in his head that should go off while he is scanning the field, to either throw the ball away or make a decision.
- On the second dropback, Jalin Marshall ran a solid route on third down where he found a soft spot in Minnesota's zone and sat down at the sticks. Jones' pass sailed high and incomplete for a three-and-out on the first drive.
- Another big error from the Glenville product came on a dual cornerback blitz. He needs to do a better job at making pre-snap reads and communicating to his receivers to run hot routes. When both corners came on blitzes, it left the remainder of the secondary in single coverage. That had the potential to be a big play for the offense if Jones saw the blitz.
- Jones missed Michael Thomas on the first play of the second quarter. Thomas ran a crisp five-yard slant and created good separation at the top of his route, but Jones threw it behind Thomas, for an incomplete pass.
- The signal caller made a nice play on 3rd-and-18 when he ran for 19 yards. He showed solid vision by setting up a defender that he juked out, then used his size to barrel ahead for a first down.
- He showed his arm strength on an out pattern to Nick Vannett. Almost every other quarterback in the country would have thrown a pick-six on the play, but Jones' ball got there a half second sooner than most. His arm talent flashes at times, yet the consistency is what stems frustration.
- The series at the end of the first half was the best for Jones. He had the two previous plays, then he sat in the pocket and laid a nice touch pass out to Marshall on a fly route, while taking a hit from a blitzing linebacker. Elliott then scored on the following play. When Jones' gets into a rhythm, the offense starts to roll and it showed on that drive.
- But the momentum from the final drive of the first half did not carry over to the second half. The first drive of the second half became stagnant and it reverted back to the poor drives that this offense has been accustomed to with Jones under center.
- As Meyer noted in Monday's press conference, Jones is not the runner that Barrett is but he does shine in slower developing designed runs, such as delayed quarterback draws. He showed this a few times on Saturday night.
- "12 Gauge" showed his touch and accuracy on the fade ball to Thomas for the touchdown. He put it where only his receiver could make a play on the football.
- I also thought Jones made a nice back shoulder throw on a deep ball to Marshall; unfortunately, the defender made a terrific play to break it up.
- On Jones' fumble, Chase Farris got beaten badly on the play. It was unfortunate because Minnesota was in Cover 0 and Jones was locked in on Thomas, who was wide open.
- Jones had a chance to ice the game on a flag route to Curtis Samuel, but he underthrew him. Samuel gained separation on the top of the route and had two steps on the corner but the ball was underthrown, even though the quarterback had maximum time in the pocket.
- As noted above, the slower developing quarterback runs worked against Minnesota and it sealed the game after the Gophers cut it to seven.
Running backs/ H-backs
- The offensive line did not have their greatest game against a defense that they could have done more against in the running game, but it is nice to have Elliott, who ran hard and made a lot out nothing. Elliott had his typical all-around game; rushing, catching the ball out of the backfield and blocking.
- Braxton Miller was used a couple of times as a decoy and it worked well. As one can see below, when Miller runs jet motion, the whole left side of the defense reacts to it, which opened up a crease for Elliott.
- It was great to hear on Monday that Miller is expected to play against Illinois. He made a great catch and held onto the ball after his head violently bounced off the turf.
- I still want more screens on the perimeter with Samuel, Miller and Marshall. Samuel had a nice play on a screen and I think they need to get those premiere athletes in space on the perimeter.
- It is tough will the endless supply of weapons, but Jalin Marshall needs more touches. He has been electric this season as a punt returner and whenever he has touched the ball on offense. Get Marshall five-plus quick hitters per game, along with a deep shot, and good things will happen.
- Thomas was once again terrific. He had one drop on the tunnel screen, but he showed off his excellent hands on a few occasions. He is a great hands-catcher and made a few full extension grabs on fastballs by Jones. His route running is superb and he improves every single week.
- The Jeff Greene, Terry McLaurin combination got a few snaps against Minnesota.
- After not recording a reception the prior three games, Nick Vannett finally got on the statsheet with two receptions. Vannett and Baugh have been solid blockers and need to be rewarded with touches. Their big bodies and soft hands should be redzone targets.
- Baugh made a nice stock block on the safety, on Jones' game sealing touchdown run. Stock blocking is not always about a knockout shot or being overly physical and Baugh shadowed the defender and gave Jones just enough time and space to make a play.