J.T. Barrett wasn’t on the field for Ohio State, but he still had an impact on the Buckeyes’ 28-14 win against Minnesota.
The sophomore captain, known for his emotional pregame speeches, wasn’t able to deliver one before the Buckeyes took the field because of a one-game suspension that relegated him to watching the game from the press box. He wasn’t completely shut out, though, addressing the team at halftime with OSU holding a 14-0 lead.
“I was thinking it was kind of weird (when he wasn’t there to give a pregame speech),” running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “He gave one before the second half though. Cardale did a great job of picking up where J.T. left off and getting us motivated before we step out on the field.”
Ohio State prepared for a challenge against the Gophers, who gave Michigan all it could handle one week prior, and Barrett’s advice was to stay the course and finish the game strong.
“Just that they were playing the way they practiced against and we’ve just got to execute and make plays,” Elliott said of Barrett’s message. “Any time one of my guys gets up there and speaks form the heart, it gets me going.”
It culminated a week in which Barrett was forced to help the team in ways other than his on-field play. Offensive coordinator Ed Warinner declined to elaborate on Barrett’s halftime talk but said the Texan spent the previous week at practice trying to help his fellow quarterbacks prepare for Minnesota.
“He’s there every day,” Warinner said. “He’s trying to be a positive influence, trying to help young Joey Burrow and Cardale with thought processes and working the game and things like that. So he just tried to provide his knowledge and leadership and observations from a player’s perspective.”