It pains me to write this being a lover of Michigan State University but greatness should be recognized. It’s college football’s most deadly 3 headed monster. Ohio State’s star offensive trio: Junior QB Cardale Jones, Sophomore QB J.T. Barrett, and senior former QB turned WR/Wildcat HB Braxton Miller. Seems like the perfect dilemma to have right? Maybe not. With OSU pulling out a 42-24 win over Virgina Tech despite being down 17-14 at the half, they look like early favorites to repeat as champions in 2015-2016 with their extremely talented roster and relatively cupcake schedule (Other than top 5 Michigan State of course). The focus of this post, however, is their Quarterback blessing or curse, however you choose to see it.
Just for some context, Braxton Miller was supposed to start the 2014 season but was sidelined with a shoulder injury for the entire season. Then it was J.T.’s time to shine. Blossoming into a bonafide superstar and Heisman trophy candidate throwing for almost 3000 yards and 34 touchdowns and running for an additional near 1000 yds and 11 more TDs. Then tragedy struck and it looked as if The Ohio State’s run to the first ever College Football Playoff was over when Barrett was declared out with a broken ankle near the end of the season. Then here comes this relatively unknown, but very large sophomore QB Cardale Jones. Coming in at 6’5″ and 250 lbs, Cardale is a physical beast with a rocket arm. He, along with star RB Ezekiel Elliot, led the Buckeyes through the postseason. Jones put up 257 yards and 3 TDs in the Big 10 championship game against Wisconsin, 243 and 1 TD against favorites Alabama in the CFP semi final, and 242 and 1 TD and an additional rushing TD against my Oregon Ducks in a commanding 42-20 win to win the National Championship.
Moving to this current season, the Ohio State QB situation was the talk of the town in the college football world. Braxton Miller showed great adaptability by volunteering to switch to receiver. And then there were two, Jones and Barrett. Jones definitely looks like the prototypical passer, but Barrett has proven to put up numbers over an entire season.
Against VT, To my surprise, Jones started and received most of the reps behind center throwing for 186 yds and 2 TDs. The star of the show, however, was Braxton Miller, who caught 2 passes for 78 yds and 1 TD, and rushed mainly as a wildcat HB for 66 yds and a TD run that included this jaw-dropping spin move.
It will be interesting to see how this season will go for the Buckeyes but my prediction is that they will hoist the trophy again in January 2016 as National Champions and Cardale will be a top pick in the 2016 NFL draft, leaving the team solely in J.T.’s hands next season.
-Credits: ESPN.go.com (Statistics) and Paddy Pamona on YouTube for the video