The Ohio State offense had their ups-and-downs against one of the toughest defenses in the country, but ultimately passed the test. One could argue that Wisconsin had just about every advantage against the Buckeyes: They had two weeks to prepare for Urban Meyer’s offense, they had them at home — in one of the toughest environments in the country — and inconsistent weather again seemed to slow down the Buckeyes' speed and hurt J.T. Barrett in the passing game. Luckily for Ohio State, they won't face a tougher defense until they play Michigan on November 26. Saturday was a little too close for comfort, but the adversity that they faced should benefit them in the long run.
Here's how it broke down.
|Designed runs||Dropbacks||Completions||Incompletions||Total TD||Scrambles||Overthrows||Throwaways|
|Pressured||Sacked||Hit||Pass break-up||Batted at LOS||Drops||Turnovers||Defensive PI|
*Tap passes do not count as completions
The offensive line had its moments in pass protection. The numbers didn't look great -- 12 pressures, two sacks, five hits and four scrambles on 33 dropbacks -- but they made time for Barrett in big situations and more than did their job in the run game.
On this play, the offensive line gave Barrett 6.18 seconds in the pocket, which led to Barrett’s best throw of his career. He dropped it right over the outside shoulder of Dontre Wilson for a clutch first down, late in the fourth quarter.
Looking at the number of overthrows (six), it was easy to see that the slick ball, combined with nerves and pressure, resulted in those overthrows.
There was no more egregious of an overthrow than on Barrett’s lone interception of the day, which could have resulted in a Buckeye touchdown, or a goal-to-go situation. What was strange about that call, was that it was in the middle of a downpour, during a drive in which the Buckeyes were gashing the Badgers on the ground. Strange play call, but still, Barrett needs to complete that pass to Terry McLaurin, especially because Barrett rolled out towards McLaurin, which made the throw eight yards on a line.
For all of the inconsistency in the passing game, Barrett first made that perfect throw to Wilson and he also made the game-winning throw to Noah Brown, which couldn’t have been more accurate.
It started with the play-call. On 3rd-and-2, Ed Warinner typically dials up inside zone or a designed quarterback run just about 98 percent of the time. Barrett faked the hand off to Mike Weber and they pulled the backside guard, which sucked the linebackers in and creating passing lanes.
It’s strange that Wisconsin played pure man-coverage with no safety help on Noah Brown, who is really the only receiver that Barrett looks to on the goal line. He’s going to win just about every single one-on-one matchup on the perimeter. When the ball was in the air, Brown used his body to box out the corner, while Barrett threw the ball to his back shoulder, where only Brown could catch the ball. If it fell incomplete, they would either be set up with a 4th-and-2 or a very short field goal opportunity.
When talking about the receivers as a whole, they did not help Barrett out much during the course of the game. There were numerous instances in which their quarterback was able to evade rushers and keep his eyes downfield, but they either weren’t able to get open or let the ball slip through their hands.
This happened about three or so times on Saturday night:
J.T. Barrett's modest passing stats vs Wisconsin were a little misleading. WRs had multiple big play opportunities slip through their hands pic.twitter.com/lx3NLwO0eR— CFB Film Room (@CFBFilmRoom) October 17, 2016
If we were to go back to last week’s breakdown, we mentioned that Ed Warinner needs to figure out how to get the ball into Curtis Samuel’s hands more often. This week was quite the opposite. It was nice to see Samuel touch the ball 18 times, but he needs to figure out how to balance the carries between Samuel and Weber. At the half, Samuel had 11 touches, while Weber had four and Wilson had zero. It’s almost like they tend to overcompensate the following game to fix last week’s issues. It shouldn’t surprise us if Weber get the majority of the touches in the first half of next week’s game.
Don’t get me wrong, Samuel touching the ball 18 times is not a bad thing. He’s electric with the ball in his hands and has developed the strength to break tackles and turn nothing into something. The two plays in overtime could have been a disaster, but he found a way to gain 10 and 11 yards on plays where he had no right to gain that type of yardage.
This play should not gain 11 yards:
Overall, it wasn’t easy, but it was a hard-fought win in Madison, against a Top 10 team no less. The offense struggled at times, yet found a way to put up 30 in the rain, against a top defense. Barrett fought through adversity, Brown made a big-time catch, Samuel made plays and Weber converted twice on 4th-and-short.
It was a gritty win against a tough, tough Wisconsin team.