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Today is Monday, Oct. 31, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call.
J.T. Barrett is consistent
Although he hasn’t had a start that deserves Heisman Trophy conversation since Week 1, Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett has been nothing short of consistent lately. With a completion percentage hovering around 65 percent, he has thrown for more than 215 yards in his last two starts against Penn State and Northwestern.
However, the stat that usually determines a quarterback’s success has not been there. Barrett has only thrown one touchdown pass in his last 49 completions and has not rushed for a touchdown since he scored two against Wisconsin on Oct. 15.
Although his play has not been flashy this season, Barrett has found success moving the ball downfield, especially in the 24-20 win against Northwestern Saturday.
“You have to take the intermediate and short routes and basically move the ball down the field,” Barrett said. “That’s what we are trying to do. Like I said, I’m comfortable with that.”
That is the offensive game plan these days. In the win Saturday, Barrett threw for 223 yards, averaging just over 10 yards per completion. In the past two games, his longest pass has only been for 34 yards.
J.T. Barrett's first run came with more than 11 minutes left in second quarter. Smart to limit his exposure to injury.
— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) October 30, 2016
Although his play may not generate a lot of highlights, if Barrett continues to move the ball down the field, points will be scored.
A vocal Slob
“No, the sky is not falling. Amazing.”
Ohio State OL Billy Price is not one to hold back what he is feeling. He has also become one of the vocal faces of the offense as a whole, especially after the Penn State loss.
One of his main points after the game in State College was how this team would bounce back after the loss. According to Price, they did exactly that against Northwestern.
“You can’t take winning for granted,” Price said. “We went out there this week and didn’t take it for granted, prepared well during the week and executed.”
However, with No. 9 Nebraska coming to town Saturday for a highly anticipated primetime matchup, Price started to set the tone for how he wants the next week to go.
“There are still things to correct, but that’s the fun thing about football,” Price said. “You always have things to correct during the week and you are going to go out and showcase your skills on Saturday.”
However, he will not go much further than this week’s game. As far as the Buckeyes’ playoff hopes, Price has a simple response.
“Week by week.”
A look at Nebraska’s passing game
The Ohio State secondary had a tough job against Northwestern’s passing offense, especially with the duo of QB Clayton Thorson and WR Austin Carr. Carr had 158 receiving yards on eight catches. However, the secondary, highlighted by a 14-tackle performance from S Malik Hooker, limited the Wildcats passing game to one touchdown. After facing the third-best passing offense in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes should be more than ready for Nebraska’s seventh-ranked passing offense.
Senior QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. leads the Huskers passing attack. He has a 53 percent completion rate with 11 touchdowns. He also is not known for the deep ball.
Those are not the numbers that the Silver Bullets are excited about, though. Armstrong has thrown seven interceptions this season, including six in his last four games. The Buckeyes, with the third-best pass defense in the Big Ten, has 12 interceptions this year, including nine from Hooker, CB Gareon Conley and CB Marshon Lattimore combined.
Tommy Armstrong's passing:
First 5 games: 58.9% completions, 230.2 yds/game, 9 TD, 2 INT
Last 3 games: 44.3%, 204.3 yds/game, 2 TD, 5 INT
— Dan Hoppen (@danhoppen) October 30, 2016
Armstrong has spread the love a bit in terms of receivers, but he has a clear target when the Huskers get into the red zone. Senior WR Jordan Westerkamp leads the team with four touchdown receptions while averaging a career-high 18.1 yards per catch.
Jordan Westerkamp fully healthy, raring to go Saturday night vs. Wisconsin .. see this kid with bright NFL future #Huskers
— Rich Cirminiello (@RichCirminiello) October 28, 2016
With big-play capabilities from both Westerkamp and WR Stanley Morgan Jr., the Ohio State secondary will be busy Saturday night. However, with the turnover problems that Armstrong has had lately, the Buckeyes secondary could be in for a big day.
RIP John Hicks
On Sunday morning, the Ohio State family lost one of its own. Former Buckeyes OL John Hicks died at the age of 65.
A two time All-American, Hicks had a historic season in 1973. Not only did he win the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy, but he finished second in Heisman voting. That is unheard of for a lineman. He later went on to be drafted in the first round for the New York Giants.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer paid tribute to Hicks.
RIP to Buckeye legend John Hicks. First round draft pick, Outland/Lombardi award winner, and runner-up for the Heisman trophy. pic.twitter.com/BtRsj7LIFi
— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) October 30, 2016