Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was crucial in the Buckeyes' big victory over Michigan last season.
Fast forward to Saturday, not much has changed for Barrett. He is still the lethal quarterback that is capable of making the big play with his feet. The defense will be faced with a difficult situation of trying to stop many of OSU's playmakers in order to walk away with a victory in Columbus. U-M safety Dymonte Thomas thinks he knows the way to stop the potent Buckeyes offense.
Make Barrett throw the ball.
"He's a great player and we all know that," Thomas said of Barrett. "The way to stop him and the Buckeyes is to make him get rid of the ball, to make him try to throw. We know he's a good runner and we know he's a good thrower as well. He beats a lot of teams with his foot so we have to stop him from running. When he carries it we have to make sure he feels us, feels the presence we've got and just make sure we don't let him beat us."
Making Barrett throw the ball is one thing, completely shutting down a Buckeye offense is another. With many different playmakers capable of breaking off a big play, the defense must come prepared. Thomas says that Barrett is able to do his own thing with the offense, which could make things difficult to scheme for.
Regardless of what happens, Thomas says that the defense must be ready to hit and punish Barrett for wanting to run with the ball.
"They've just got so many weapons and one of the things that Ohio State does is they let J.T. control the offense," Thomas said. "They let him run the ball, let him throw it. They kind of let him do his own thing. We just have to make sure we hit him, make sure he doesn't want to carry the ball so he gives the ball up. We have to take away a few big plays here and there, that's in their offense and see how it goes for us."