Barrett fuels Buckeyes to rout of Penn State
Final: No. 1 Ohio State 38, Penn State 10
Key play: Saquon Barkley stopped on key third down
Just as they did all night, Joey Bosa and Raekwon McMillan both stepped up with a huge stop when the Buckeyes needed it badly. The Lions were threatening to make it a one-possession game after the Ohio State offense stalled to start the second half. But they prevented Barkley from slipping away and forced a crucial Penn State punt. The Lions had all the momentum to that point and it was quickly squashed on one play.
Telling stat: Cardale Jones has zero touchdowns, J.T. Barrett has four
Let’s just accept the fact that we’re always going to have a quarterback controversy. Urban Meyer put J.T. Barrett into the game for good in the third quarter. It wasn’t even that Cardale Jones struggled has much as he has in previous games. He completed 9-of-15 passes but the Buckeyes started to dominate on the ground. Meyer went with the hot hand, which Barrett and Ezekiel Elliott were. The Buckeyes won the battle at the line of scrimmage, which meant it made more sense to keep Barrett in the game. He and Elliott both finished with 100-yard games, which is probably a formula some would like to see Meyer turn to going forward.
-Joshua Perry goes down with leg injury in first quarter
The Buckeyes have avoided major injuries all season. On Saturday night, they might’ve gotten their first. Joshua Perry went down with a right ankle injury in the first half and was carted off after he wasn’t able to put pressure on it. That’s a troubling sight for Buckeye fans. Darron Lee and McMillan are both studs, but Perry is the unquestioned leader of this unit. Dante Booker played well, but the Buckeyes need Lee stop the B1G’s better offenses.
-Akeel Lynch, Barkley is back
The former is mentioned, but the latter was clearly the feature back. Saquon Barkley was the Lions only offensive hope against the Buckeye defense. If there was any worry that the freshman wasn’t going to look like himself playing for the first time in a couple weeks, that was washed away. We saw Barkley’s breakaway speed throughout the night, and he could’ve had an even bigger night had a long touchdown run not been called back by a holding penalty. This is Lynch’s backfield, and for the Lions, that’s a very good thing. Unfortunately Penn State could have to rely on Barkley more than they’d like if Christian Hackenberg’s knee keeps him out of any action.
–Carl Nassib made himself some money
The nation’s sack leader shined on the biggest stage against the most high-profile team in the country. As Nassib’s tackles for loss went up, so did the 6-7 defensive end’s bank account. The former walk-on became a household name for those who haven’t been watching him all year. As long as Nassib stays healthy, he’s going to be setting himself up for a pretty penny next spring.
What it means: The Buckeyes are bucking offensive trends
Throw what you know about conventional systems out the window. Nothing about the Buckeye offense is conventional anymore. It isn’t even 2006 Florida, anymore. I don’t care what that jump pass told you. Barrett’s role is clearly important. Meyer still might not even start Barrett moving forward, but does it matter? Just as Meyer has said all year, he’s going to be involved. Neither quarterback is a polished passer. This team is 7-0 with the B1G’s best offense, and it’s led by one of the nation’s best tailbacks. That’s about all we can conclude with this unit.