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J.T. Barrett’s knee injury versus Michigan showed us a glimpse of the future

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Dwayne Haskins shined in his first real test.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

After rewatching ‘The Game’ with a fixated eye on J.T. Barrett’s injured right knee, Dwayne Haskins would give Ohio State the best chance to win on Saturday night against Wisconsin — barring a mid-week health miracle.

No, this has nothing to do with who I believe is better — Barrett gives them the better chance to win if he were healthy — it has to do with Barrett not being able to push off his damaged right knee when throwing the ball, and his inability to make a cut when running the ball.

Check the tape:

J.T. Barrett Passing Chart vs Michigan

Designed Runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions Total TD Scrambles Overthrows Throwaways
Designed Runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions Total TD Scrambles Overthrows Throwaways
9 15 4 5 2 3 2 0
Pressured Sacked Hit PBU Batted at LOS Drops Turnovers Defensive PI
7 3 3 1 0 1 0
  • The offensive line did the injured J.T. Barrett no favors, as they allowed seven pressures on only 15 dropbacks and allowed the [good] Michigan defensive line to wreak havoc in the backfield for the majority of the afternoon.
  • After learning about Barrett’s camera incident, one could definitely see that Barrett’s knee bothered him throughout the game. The first play of the game it was apparent when he faced pressure and couldn’t really accelerate off his right leg. He was forced to sort of skip off his right leg before being tackled behind the line of scrimmage.
  • It was also apparent when Barrett created space in the pocket and had a WIDE open Terry McLaurin, but severely underthrew him. Barrett could get no velocity behind his throw and underthrew McLaurin by about 10-15 yards.
  • Here’s a third example of where Barrett was unable to drive off his back leg and ends up limping after the throw. He moved up in the pocket and did not look natural when throwing the crosser.
  • As you saw on the touchdown scramble, Barrett was fine running north-south. But, he faced his biggest challenge when going side-to-side and pushing off his right leg on pass attempts. Hopefully this is a quick heal, because they won’t be able to move the ball against Wisconsin’s tough defense if he looks the way he did against Michigan.
  • One thing that did not favor Barrett, was the lack of separation by the receivers, which resulted in at least one or two of the sacks. The quarterback was forced to go through his progressions, but hang onto the football.
  • Barrett couldn’t do much through the air, but it helped on this touchdown to Marcus Baugh. The linebackers bit hard on the play fake, leaving Baugh wide open down the seam for an easy pitch and catch.
  • Once Barrett was forced out of the game with the knee injury, it was time for Dwayne Haskins to face the first real test of his career.

Dwayne Haskins Passing Chart vs. Michigan

Designed Runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions Total TD Scrambles Overthrows Throwaways
Designed Runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions Total TD Scrambles Overthrows Throwaways
2 8 6 1 0 1 1 0
Pressured Sacked Hit PBU Batted at LOS Drops Turnovers Defensive PI
2 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
  • Even though he doesn’t possess the same mobility as a healthy Barrett, Haskins was able to successfully maneuver in the pocket, and it showed on his scramble that set up the eventual game-winning touchdown.
  • It’s tough to say whether Kevin Wilson told Haskins to hand the ball off on just about every read option, but this will need to change if he starts the title game. Haskins only kept the ball twice, while handing the ball off double digit times. It would make sense if Wilson just wanted to make the playbook as vanilla as possible and give Haskins as few reads as possible.
  • This is a throw that Barrett simply cannot make. Haskins placed the ball in the only spot where Austin Mack could make a play on the football — in between the corner and the safety. To even attempt this throw on third-and-13 showed the confidence that Haskins has in his arm, and his roommate.
  • The redshirt freshman showed some really good poise in the pocket to complete this crosser to K.J. Hill on third-and-seven. He had multiple defenders in his face before beating the rush and completing the pass, moving the chains.