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J.T. Barrett thoroughly dominated Nebraska and looked like 2014 Barrett in the process

The quarterback was excellent against the ‘Huskers.

Ohio State v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

2014 J.T. Barrett is back.

It’s not about the [lack of] competition anymore when talking about Barrett’s recent success. It’s his poise, decision making and confidence that will allow him to do what he did against Nebraska, against anyone. He has full confidence in his offensive line, his pass catchers and his arm, which will cause defensive coordinators to lose sleep at night.

We haven’t seen this J.T. Barrett since the 2014 season, but get used to it, because this type of play is here to stay.

J.T. Barrett Passing Chart vs Nebraska

Designed Runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions Total TD Scrambles Overthrows Throwaways
Designed Runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions Total TD Scrambles Overthrows Throwaways
4 38 26 6 7 2 1 1
Pressured Sacked Hit PBU Batted at LOS Drops Turnovers Defensive PI
3 1 2 1 2
  • Quickly looking at the chart outside of Barrett, the one major thing that stands out is the offensive line. They haven’t been talked about much this season — which is typically good for an offensive line -- but they’ve been playing extremely well. Against Nebraska, Barrett was only pressured three times, hit twice and sacked once. That’s an incredible number for 38 dropbacks. In fact, the first pressure they allowed came at the 2:24 mark of the third quarter. They’re keeping him upright and opening throwing windows for Barrett.
  • Barrett’s lone poor throw of the day occurred when he almost got Parris Campbell killed on a screen. The defensive back quickly diagnosed the screen (Ohio State didn’t have the numbers) and popped Campbell right away, ending his night prematurely. Barrett has to make sure he has the numbers advantage before throwing the screen pass to the perimeter.
  • For the first time in a long time, it looked like Barrett was told to hand the ball off on the zone read, rather than making the correct read throughout the night. On a number of instances, Barrett just handed the ball off to J.K. Dobbins or Mike Weber, rather than making the read. The staff most likely wanted to save the quarterback from contact with Penn State on the horizon — they also only called four designed runs.
  • If you were watching the broadcast, you most likely heard the color announcer talking about Kevin Wilson’s “Mesh Concept.” Here’s a great view from behind the quarterback that shows this concept and how confused it makes the middle of the opposing defense. As we’ve seen through the first half of the season, Johnnie Dixon continues to be open in the middle of the field when the linebackers continue follow the crossers out of the middle of the field.
  • It’s more than just the quarterback who’s improved; it’s also the receivers. They’re gaining separation on the perimeter, making tough catches in traffic and winning their one-on-one battles. Here’s a terrific route by Austin Mack — who has improved every single week — to move the chains. For as much garbage as we’ve given Zach Smith in the past, he’s done a tremendous job since the Oklahoma game. The whole core of receivers are dependable and consistent — something we’ve been unable to say since 2014.
  • What’s been so impressive about Barrett has been his poise in the pocket and his knack to keep his eyes downfield. Here, he looked like vintage Johnny Manziel in the pocket by buying time in the pocket and finding Dobbins for the first down.
  • A few weeks ago, Barrett would have quickly checked down to Dobbins here. Now, Barrett trusts his eyes, his arm and his receiver to rifle a pass into an area where four defenders are present. His confidence is soaring right now.
  • Barrett’s perfectly thrown pass to Terry McLaurin is the deep ball connection we’ve all been waiting for. He could have thrown it a second earlier, but it still had great placement where only McLaurin could make a play on the ball.
  • The best part of all of this is the confidence that Barrett has in every single pass catcher on the field right now. Eight players have double digit receptions and 10 different receivers have reached the end zone. Barrett is throwing to the open guy whether it’s Campbell, Dobbins, Rashod Berry, Binjimen Victor or Weber. This is the first time since 2014 where Barrett feels comfortable with every player on the field and it’s showing on the scoreboard.