The perception of Justin Fields has seemed to flip 180 degrees over the last few weeks. When Ohio State started the 2020 season back in October, the quarterback looked every bit as good as expected — a potential threat to win the Heisman Trophy and become the No. 1 overall selection in 2021 NFL Draft.

Oh, how a few weeks have changed all that.

Because of Ohio State’s rocky season in terms of game cancellations, Fields has struggled at times throughout this season. Most notably, the junior gunslinger threw 3 interceptions in the Buckeyes’ win over Indiana and also had some issues in the B1G Championship Game against Northwestern. All of a sudden, draft experts are bumping Fields lower on their NFL Draft lists.

ESPN college football analyst Desmond Howard is one of several who have been critical of Fields’ performance this season. On ESPN’s Get Up, Howard said that he’s not seen great performances against some of the tougher opponents on Ohio State’s schedule this season.

“He didn’t reach those expectations,” Howard said. “He just hasn’t had a great season. When he played against teams that had a competitive pulse like Indiana or in the Big Ten Championship Game with Northwestern, he didn’t play well. He played so badly that they won those games in spite of how he played, not because of how he played. When you’re looking at a guy not playing well in the big games, then that’s going to knock his draft down some. That’s what he’s experiencing now. (The Clemson game) is a huge money game for Justin Fields.”

Believe it or not, Fields is actually averaging more total yards per game this season (299.2) than he did in 2019 (268.4). He also owns a higher completion percentage this year (72.6%) than a year ago (67.2%). But the number that everyone looks at is interceptions. Through six games, Fields has thrown 5 picks, compared to just 3 interceptions a season ago.

All 5 picks were thrown against Indiana and Northwestern.

Fields has an opportunity to quiet the naysayers on New Year’s Day, when Ohio State gets a rematch against Clemson from last year’s Fiesta Bowl. If the Buckeyes QB has a big game and leads his team to the national championship game, maybe there will be a change in tune from Howard and others.