POW Barrett Continues To Reach New Heights

By Jeff Rapp, October 31st, 2017

“I’ve never had a kid play perfect, but damn he was close tonight,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said following the Buckeyes’ 39-38, come-from-behind win over second-ranked Penn State on Saturday night.

That “kid,” of course is fifth-year senior quarterback J.T. Barrett, who already has an undergraduate degree from OSU along with a plethora of school and Big Ten records.

With Barrett gaining a hot hand – blistering, actually – Ohio State fought back from a pair of 18-point deficits and even overcame a 35-20 hole with just minutes left in the game. OSU’s final two touchdowns took just 10 total plays and 2:36 of clock time.

OSU’s “rushmen” package on defense, which applied major pressure to QB Trace McSorley and slammed the door on star running back Saquon Barkley, played a major role in the comeback. But this was Barrett’s finest moment – and a pretty satisfying one at that when you add in the fact that many OSU fans were calling form him to get benched after the Buckeyes’ Sept. 9 loss to Oklahoma.

Barrett finished the night a shimmering 33 of 39 passing for 328 yards and four touchdowns, and he rushed for 95 yards to set yet another program record with 423 yards of total offense. He completed his final 16 passes to set the school record for consecutive completions, including completing 13 of 13 passes in the fourth quarter alone for 170 yards and three touchdowns.

Barrett zipped a perfect pass to Johnnie Dixon on a 10-yard TD pass with 4:20 to play to bring Ohio State to within five points, at 38-33. Then, after Ohio State’s defense held, he directed a five-play, 58-yard drive that was capped when he hit Marcus Baugh with a TD pass of 16 yards.

A product of Wichita Falls, Texas, Barrett put his name squarely back in the Heisman Trophy discussion and even earned some national player of the week plaudits.

Not surprisingly, the Big Ten recognized his effort on Monday and named the veteran signal caller the Offensive Player of the Week for the ninth time. That ties him with former Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne and former Michigan QB Denard Robinson for the most awards in Big Ten history.

Barrett is completing 69.5 percent of his passes this season with 25 touchdown passes and just one interception, and 7-1 Ohio State is now ranked third in The Associated Press poll and sixth in the initial College Football Playoff rankings.

Barrett and the Buckeyes next head to Iowa for a key Big Ten game on Saturday (3:30 p.m. Eastern, ESPN).