On September 9th, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett had one of his most underwhelming regular season games since losing to Virginia Tech in his first year as a starter. In a 31-16 loss to Oklahoma, Barrett threw the ball 35 times, completing only 19 passes for 183 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. The lack of a passing game made the Buckeyes extremely one-dimensional and rendered the offense completely ineffective.
Showing a clear inability to complete almost anything over 10 yards, some fans began to wonder whether it was time for Urban Meyer to make a switch at the quarterback position. Barrett, the six-foot-two 220 pound fifth-year senior out of Wichita Falls, Texas, faced tremendous pressure to improve, especially with the hype surrounding backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Since that time, Barrett has absolutely proved the doubters wrong.
Since the Oklahoma game, Barrett has been lights out. In the five games after the loss, Barrett has thrown for 1,351 yards and 18 touchdowns without a single interception. He has also added another four touchdowns on the ground. The accuracy and decision making that led the Buckeyes to the playoffs in 2014 and 2016 has seemingly been restored. The Ohio State passing game, which early in the year looked miserable, is now carrying an offense averaging 47 points per game.
Barrett is actually now having one of the best statistical seasons of his career. In seven games, he has thrown for 1,827 yards with 21 touchdowns and one interception. He has also added another 370 yards and five scores on the ground. With five games still to go, Barrett is just three passing touchdowns shy of his total last season, where he threw 24 touchdowns and seven picks through all 13 games. Barrett’s completion percentage of 66.5 and passer efficiency rating of 173.7 are both career highs.
With Barrett filling up the record books game after game, he should definitely begin to get national recognition as one of the premier players in college football. Can he rebound from a rough start and get his name onto the 2017 Heisman watch list? Just how does he stack up with other Heisman Trophy hopefuls? Three other quarterbacks with their names in the hat include Baker Mayfield, Luke Falk and Lamar Jackson.
Mayfield made his biggest statement of the year beating Barrett’s Buckeyes in Ohio Stadium, a game in which he threw for almost 400 yards and three touchdowns. On the year, Mayfield has thrown for 1937 yards with 17 touchdowns and one interception. He has rushed for another 101 yards and a touchdown. Mayfield’s Oklahoma team took their first loss of the season last weekend, when they fell to Iowa State at home despite Mayfield having a good game.
While Mayfield’s numbers stack up pretty well with Barrett’s, both Falk and Jackson had extremely rough weeks that could have huge impacts on their Heisman chances. Falk’s Washington State team suffered a 37-3 blowout loss to California. Falk played absolutely terrible in the game, throwing five interceptions and being sacked nine times. Jackson’s Cardinals fell 45-42 to Boston College to lose their third game of the year, now 1-3 in conference.
Ohio State’s remaining schedule will be a true test of Barrett’s abilities, including ranked matchups against No. 2 Penn State, No. 18 Michigan State and No. 19 Michigan. That will afford more than one opportunity for Barrett to have his true Heisman moment. If the Buckeyes can somehow run the gauntlet and finish the season with just the lone early loss, they would certainly make the College Football Playoff. If Barrett can continue his impressive play and lead his team into the playoff for the third time in four years, there is a definite chance we will see the Buckeyes quarterback in New York come trophy time.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new Ohio State Football article is published, fill out our email notification form.