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The Ohio State rushing attack made life easier for J.T. Barrett versus Michigan State

J.T. didn’t have to do it all on Saturday.

Michigan State v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

After not being able to get the ball into J.K. Dobbins’ or Mike Weber’s hands against Iowa, Kevin Wilson made it a point early and often to get the ball to his two playmaking running backs — and it won them the football game. Wilson was able to get Dobbins into space, while also pounding them in between the tackles.

The dominant running game took the ball out of J.T. Barrett’s hands for the first time in a few games, which will be a good thing moving forward. The running game has always opened up the passing game in Urban Meyer’s offense, and Wilson got back to those roots against the Spartans.

J.T. Barrett Passing Chart vs Michigan State

Designed Runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions Total TD Scrambles Overthrows Throwaways
Designed Runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions Total TD Scrambles Overthrows Throwaways
6 27 16 7 4 2 1 1
Pressured Sacked Hit PBU Batted at LOS Drops Turnovers Defensive PI
4 0 4 2 0 0 2 2
  • The offensive line was dominant on Saturday. Three of the four pressures they allowed came on RPOs, while only one came on a true dropback. They also did not allow a true sack on Barrett — the only one came on a bad snap over Barrett’s head.
  • After not throwing one wide receiver screen against Iowa, Wilson got Barrett going early with one to J.K. Dobbins — who was lined up in the inside slot in the trips formation. The horizontal pass game opens up the middle of the defense and especially the safeties, who have to be aware of the perimeter.
  • The multiple handoffs to the running backs — including Weber’s first long touchdown run — opened up Barrett to keep the ball on zone-read plays. As shown below, the defensive end crashed hard on the running back, leaving Barrett with the obvious and easy decision to keep the football and walk into the end zone.
  • Dobbins showed terrific balance and leg strength on this run. Almost every single freshman running back in the country would have been stopped for a three-yard gain. Not Dobbins.
  • This was a designed screen play out of trips, where Dobbins was able to have three lead blockers in front of him. Keep an eye on Parris Campbell in the inside slot. Campbell engages onto the first defender then drives him into a second defender, opening up a cutback lane for Dobbins to find the end zone. The receivers did a great job of blocking downfield against the Spartans.
  • This was an egregious interception by Barrett. He had K.J. Hill in single coverage with a free safety — which is a win for Hill just about every single time. Instead of leading Hill and putting some air under the throw, Barrett puts it on a rope and underthrows it into the safety’s arms. Instead of a pretty easy touchdown, it’s an interception for Sparty.
  • Barrett’s second interception was also on a play that shouldn’t have occured. Binjimen Victor has a height and wingspan advantage on every corner in the country, yet Barrett didn’t get enough air under the throw, which led to his second interception. If you throw it high to Victor, only two things can happen: A touchdown or an incomplete pass.