After a week of hype and recognition as a legitimate Heisman candidate, J.T. Barrett went out and had possibly his worst game since the week two loss against Virginia Tech in Saturday's 42-27 win vs. Indiana. The crazy thing about that statement, though, is that he still threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns.
So why was it a bad game for him?
Two interceptions and some badly missed passes left some wondering whether the attention may have gotten to his head a little bit. As a redshirt freshman, who could blame him? Certainly not Urban Meyer.
“He's a neat kid. And we hear the word ‘Heisman,’ I've been there a few times and watched what goes on there,” Meyer said after the game. “Your mouth starts to go dry and all those kinds of things when you mention Heisman. Did that happen with him? I'd like to think not. But I also have been around for a while. So probably. We've got to manage through that stuff.”
Despite the offense playing quite stagnant for parts of the game, including seven straight drives without a score at one point, Meyer and staff will have a lot to manage as Barrett broke two more school records Saturday.
A week after breaking Braxton Miller’s record for total touchdowns responsible for in a season, Barrett broke Troy Smith’s record of 30 passing touchdowns and Miller’s record for most total yards in a season.
Barrett currently has 42 total touchdowns (tying Drew Brees' Big Ten record), including 33 through the air, and 3,507 total yards accounted for. That’s three school records he has set with at least three more games left in the season. Oh, and has it been mentioned that this is his first year playing Division I football?
The best part about it could be how humbly he handled everything after the game.
“I guess it is, like, cool,” Barrett said of breaking Smith’s touchdown record. “I was happy we got the win. It is all about the team and winning games. The other individual stuff and records, it wouldn’t have mattered if we didn’t win.”
While Barrett remained in a modest state afterwards, senior tight end and captain Jeff Heuerman made sure to give tons of praise afterwards.
“I don’t think there’s anybody better suited than J.T. Barrett for the role he had to come in and play,” Heuerman said. “Great coaching and all the time he’s put in, you look at how much time we put in, he’s probably put in twice as much. Having to step up and be the quarterback at the Ohio State, especially in an offense like this, the things he does and the things he knows and the time he puts in it’s really second to none. I’m just so happy for him.””
Setting aside the records he’s broken and remarkable play, the most impressive thing Barrett has done this year could be taking the reins as the leader of the offense.”
Being able to step up and have the confidence to shake off early struggles is a sign of a player way beyond his years, but Barrett has already proven that he’s no ordinary freshman.