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Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett was on point against UNLV

J.T. Barrett accounted for five touchdowns against the Rebels.

NCAA Football: UNLV at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

It’s tough declare that the Ohio State offense is “back” after putting up 54 points against the same UNLV defense that made Howard’s Caylin Newton look like his older brother, but it was still a step forward for J.T. Barrett and the ever-developing passing game.

One could tell on Barrett’s first passing attempt that there was a clear talent discrepancy between the Buckeyes and the Rebels, but it was what came after Parris Campbell’s 69-yard untouched screen (aided by a terrible angle from the UNLV defender) that should give Buckeye fans hope for the rest of the season.

J.T. Barrett Passing Chart Vs UNLV

Designed Runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions Total TD Scrambles Overthrows Throwaways
Designed Runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions Total TD Scrambles Overthrows Throwaways
4 19 13 5 4 0 1 2
Pressured Sacked Hit PBU Batted LOS Drops Turnovers DPI
3 1 1 0 1 0 0 0
  • After completing 12-of-12 passes on or behind the line of scrimmage against Army, Barrett’s lone pass attempt on or behind the line of scrimmage came on Campbell’s touchdown. It’s clear Kevin Wilson wanted to work on Barrett’s progressions and accuracy in the intermediate and deeper passing game, rather than just taking advantage of Ohio State’s talent advantage in space.
  • Outside of Barrett’s first downfield attempt — which happened to be Barrett’s lone overthrow -- the quarterback showed solid poise, mechanics and smarts in the pocket. But that throw (as shown below) needs to be completed on the regular. He had a clean pocket, stepped into the throw and the receiver found a hole in UNLV’s zone. On that incompletion, Barrett fell to 2-of-12 on throws of 20-plus yards this season, per the broadcast.
  • A big positive that can be taken from this game was the receiver’s awareness to find the open holes in UNLV’s zone defense. Johnnie Dixon did a great job of this on a spot pattern, when he settled in the soft spot and quickly turned up-field for six.
  • The spread offense gurus over at pointed out a wrinkle that the Buckeyes used off a run-pass option. A RPO typically runs off one read, but Barrett got to a second progression on this play — which resulted in a nice effort from Austin Mack.
  • The Buckeyes have struggled in the red zone leading up to this game against UNLV, and Wilson (and Urban Meyer) got aggressive and made some changes. Twice they went for it on fourth down and both times they converted on tough throws from Barrett. The first throw to Binjimen Victor on the fade and the second to Terry McLaurin on the corner pattern will only add to Barrett’s confidence that he can make accurate throws in small windows and on the pressure of turning the ball over on downs.
  • Overall, it’s clear that the key to this season and the success of this offense will be based on Barrett’s ability to complete the intermediate and deep throws. The implementation of RPOs and the horizontal passing game will put the offense in a better position to run the ball effectively and open up the deep passing game. The Buckeye offense will face Chris Ash this week who knows how to defend Barrett better than anyone, so it will be a solid test for Wilson, Barrett and the receivers.
  • During the bye week I will breakdown Dwayne Haskins’ extended performance and if he truly is the quarterback of the future.