Ohio State Football: JT Barrett must carry offense vs. MSU


After the senior’s dreadful performance last week, JT Barrett must rally Ohio State against a team chasing a Big Ten East title.

Last week was the perfect storm of complete failure for the Buckeye offense (and defense but that’s another story). Iowa exposed each and every flaw Ohio State possesses in the crushing, 55-24 loss. Now, the Buckeyes must rely on the arm that was responsible for a lot of the problems last week to defeat a formidable opponent this Saturday.

When the No. 12 Spartans roll into Columbus they will bring the nation’s third-best rushing defense. In fact, the Michigan State front is allowing just 87 rushing yards per game; they held Saquon Barkley to 63 yards on 14 carries.

It’s hard to imagine the Michigan State defense will be any more forgiving to Mike Weber Jr, JK Dobbins, and even JT Barrett on the ground.

So, it’ll be on the arm, not the legs, of Barrett if the Buckeyes are to win on Saturday. It’s not something the Buckeyes haven’t done before, as they heavily relied on Barrett’s arm in victory over Penn State. 

More from Scarlet and Game

Where JT Barrett performed so well prior to the Iowa loss was in the intermediate passing game. Sometimes, he found success underneath or over-the-top, but Barrett works best in the 10-19 yard range.

Now, don’t take the Michigan State secondary as any chumps. Corner David Dowell is a menace in the passing game and will avoid getting beat deep at all costs. Dowell has 4 interceptions on the year, along with 4 deflected passes.

Barrett, who threw 4 interceptions last week faces not only Dowell, but a defense with 9 INTs and 6 fumbles recovered this season. Furthermore, he’s facing a defense that ranks 12th in the country in passing-yards-allowed, averaging just 304 yards through the air.

Game planning for Michigan State means calculating the moments where the reward is worth the risk. Binjimen Victor (for size) and Johnnie Dixon (for speed) each deserve a shot-or-two on fly routes at some point in this game; Kevin Wilson must choose those moments wisely.

Next: DE Nick Bosa needs to create pressure vs. Spartans

Last week represented the worst of Ohio State’s quirky passing offense. Michigan State certainly  won’t roll over this Saturday, so JT Barrett had better find receivers early and often.