Barrett, Dobbins Earn B1G Rewards
The Ohio State football program spent much of the offseason trying to reshape its offense after being stifled and shut out in a 31-0 loss to Clemson in a College Football Playoff semifinal on New Year’s Eve.
In the 2017 season opener at Indiana, the Buckeyes got back on track in a 49-21 win. Along with the important jump on the rest of the Big Ten, the reward was recognition from the conference as quarterback J.T. Barrett and running back J.K. Dobbins were tabbed with the first Offensive Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week awards from the Big Ten.
Barrett actually was the co-POW on offense, sharing the award with Penn State preseason All-American Saquon Barkley, who racked up 172 yards and two touchdowns in a rout of Akron. Still, it was appropriate for Barrett to receive the mention since he upped his career yardage total to an OSU record 9,211 yards and accounted for four touchdowns and 365 yards of total offense in the victory at IU.
The senior QB from Wichita Falls, Texas, threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 61 yards and another score. He is now responsible for 104 career touchdowns (rushing and passing), two shy of the Big Ten record held by Purdue’s Drew Brees.
Barrett earned his seventh Big Ten POW award, fourth-most in conference history. He’s the first Buckeye to take the honor since former H-back Curtis Samuel was singled out on Nov. 7, 2016.
Meanwhile, Dobbins may have been the true headliner after his historical debut. Playing in his first collegiate game – not to mention first road appearance and conference clash – the La Grange, Texas, frosh turned 29 handoffs into 181 rushing yards, setting a record for most yards rushing by a freshman in his opening game. Dobbins also caught two passes out of the backfield for 24 yards, giving him 205 all-purpose yards on the night. His two longest runs – of 35 and 27 yards, respectively – both led second-quarter scores.
Dobbins recorded an average of 6.2 yards per carry with a long run of 35 yards. He added a pair of receptions for 24 yards. Ironically, the last OSU freshman to win the award was Mike Weber last year. Weber didn’t play at IU because of a hamstring injury, paving the way for Dobbins’ emergence.
The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week was Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell, who logged a game-high 14 tackles, including seven solo stops, in the Hawkeyes’ 24-3 win over Wyoming.