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Review: J.T. Barrett had some hits, misses in Big Ten Championship Game

Could Dwayne Haskins have given the Buckeyes a statement win—enough to get OSU to the College Football Playoff?

Big Ten Championship - Ohio State v Wisconsin Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It’s incredible and a miracle that J.T. Barrett was able to undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee injury just six days before his first ever Big Ten Championship Game and play well enough to defeat the nation’s best defense. But, Urban Meyer’s decision to play a hobbled and rusty Barrett might have been the difference between playing in the Cotton Bowl against Southern California or Clemson in the College Football Playoff down in New Orleans.

Make no mistake about it, Barrett played his tail off and left it all out on the field — as he has in all 49 games that he’s donned the scarlet and gray — but Dwayne Haskins might have made the throws to blow Wisconsin out of the water that might have convinced the committee to take a two-loss conference champion over a one-loss Alabama squad.

In this situation, Meyer should have trusted his eyes over his heart and started the redshirt freshman with the rocket arm, over his three-time captain whose knee was surgically repaired just days before the game. There were multiple instances throughout the game where Barrett’s knee limited him as both a passer and as a runner — not to mention that Wisconsin dared him to beat them throughout the game.

Here’s how it looked:

J.T. Barrett Passing Chart vs Wisconsin

Designed Runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions Total TD Scrambles Overthrows Throwaways
Designed Runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions Total TD Scrambles Overthrows Throwaways
15 30 12 13 3 4 4 1
Pressured Sacked Hit PBU Batted at LOS Drops Turnovers Defensive PI
5 0 2 3 0 1 2 1
  • The offensive line did a tremendous job against the nation’s best defense. They created monster creases in the run game and protected their quarterback. Even with Barrett’s limited mobility, they allowed ZERO sacks on the night.
  • Here’s a great example of the offensive line’s dominance on J.K. Dobbins’ 77-yard run. As a cohesive unit, they blew the Badgers’ front three-to-four yards off the ball on this play — which is incredible.
  • This has to be the easiest read/touchdown of Barrett’s career, right? The defensive back read the swing pass and thought that the inside slot receiver would block. Instead, two verticals were ran, and Barrett had a touchdown to either receiver. He hit McLaurin in stride for an easy score.
  • On this roll out, at no time was the linebacker out of position. Binjimen Victor ran a clean route and created space on the corner, but the linebacker was in position from the beginning to make a play on the football.
  • One could argue with 5:33 remaining in the first half, this was the most important sequence of events that might have changed Ohio State’s potential playoff future. The Buckeyes got the ball back on their own 8-yard line with all the momentum. They led 21-7 and had a chance to score before halftime, before getting the ball back after half. This was their chance to make a statement and blow the doors off the No. 4 team in the country — which could have stated a stronger case in them propelling over Alabama. Then, Mike Weber fumbled, which led to a Wisconsin field goal. Still, leading 21-10, Ohio State had a chance to go up 28-10, but Barrett was unable to take advantage of the favorable situation.
  • With 51 seconds remaining in the half and Wisconsin DARING Barrett to beat them over the top — even after allowing a deep touchdown pass earlier — Barrett overshot a wide open K.J. Hill, who was open at his release off the line of scrimmage. Wisconsin played Cover 0 with far inferior athletes on the perimeter, and Barrett was just unable to make them pay.
  • After Dobbins converted this insane fourth-and-one that he had no business converting, the Buckeyes were still rolling and were looking to score before halftime.
  • After missing the deep throw earlier in the drive, Barrett was given a second chance and once again could not hit the open receiver to blow out the Badgers. The inability to properly execute when a defense is allowing receivers to run free is maddening, and I fully believe that the committee recognized the lack of execution in this offense.
  • For someone who has consistently made the smart play throughout his career, Barrett needs to throw the ball away here. Throw it into the stands, pin the Badgers inside the 10 and get the ball back around midfield.
  • Why did Urban Meyer decide to go for it on fourth-and-one at the Wisconsin 12 with 7:47 remaining in the game, only to kick a field goal on fourth-and-one from the 4-yard line with 5:29 remaining? The field goal only put the Buckeyes up six points. If they went for it and didn’t get it, do you really think that Wisconsin would drive 96-yards for a game winning touchdown? Baffling decision to only go up six with that much time remaining.
  • After stopping Wisconsin on the ensuing drive, Ohio State got the ball back and had a chance to put the game away. Barrett had Dobbins wide open in the flat which would have definitely moved the sticks and maybe would have resulted in six. Instead, he missed a wide open Dobbins.