Ohio State Buckeyes

Thoughts on Buckeyes win, Barrett, Darnold and Ward

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Ohio State quarterback JT Barrett celebrating after a 24-7 victory over USC in the Cotton Bowl (photo via ElevenWarriors.com)

The Ohio State Buckeyes won the 2017 edition of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic defeating the USC Trojans by a final of 24-7.

The Buckeye defense dominated USC all night sacking quarterback Sam Darnold eight times and forcing four turnovers which Ohio State capitalized into 21 points.

That puts their final record at 12-2 on the season and should assure them a final ranking inside the top 5 once the playoffs are completed.

It was a successful season for the Buckeyes but no doubt that blowout loss from Iowa will haunt the Buckeyes for a while as to why they didn’t make the College Football Playoff but in honesty, the way the offense has performed in their last two games it was likely a blessing they didn’t make it.

Barrett’s legacy

JT Barrett played in his final game as an Ohio State and capped off a stellar career in Columbus with a two touchdown performance and breaking another Big Ten record in the process.

Barrett finished the game 11 of 17 for 114 yards passing and added 66 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns on 16 carries.

He surpassed Drew Brees’ Big Ten total offense record of 12,692 yards with a 20-yard strike to tight end Marcus Baugh early in the fourth quarter. Barrett finishes his career with 12,697 total offense yards as well as 147 touchdowns responsible for which is also a Big Ten record.

There’s no doubt Barrett cemented his legacy as an all-time great quarterback for Ohio State as well as the Big Ten Conference and the argument is there for him to be the greatest ever in both categories.

Over his career at Ohio State he’s accomplished this:

  • 9,434 passing yards
  • 3,263 rushing yards
  • 104 passing touchdowns
  • 43 rushing touchdowns
  • Three-time captain
  • All American
  • Three-time Big Ten Quarterback of the Year
  • Two-time Big Ten Champion
  • National Champion
  • 38-6 record as starter
  • 4-0 record against Michigan (First QB ever in OSU history)
  • Fiesta Bowl Champion
  • Cotton Bowl Champion

That’s quite the resume for Barrett and I don’t think anyone can question what he’s done for the program.

He does that national championship that he was apart of in 2014 and there’s no doubt the Buckeyes wouldn’t have been there without him but he wasn’t the quarterback that ultimately led them to it and I think that’s the one thing that’ll some will dispute Barrett’s greatness because of it.

Now he turns his attention to the NFL, he’ll participate in the East-West Shrine game in three weeks to try and impress NFL scouts he can contribute at the next level. As it stands right now, he’s projected as a 5th-6th round draft pick and the seventh rated quarterback according to NFLDraftScout.com.

Darnold’s performance

All Browns fans had their eyes on USC quarterback Sam Darnold as he took on the Buckeye defense Friday night and if this was the first time you seen the redshirt sophomore play, I’m sure you weren’t impressed.

Darnold went 26 of 45 for 356 yards and an interception in the loss against Ohio State. He got beat up by the Buckeye pass rush with eight sacks and three forced fumbles as the Trojans offensive line couldn’t hold them off.

I did watch Darnold very closely as he’s my second rated quarterback behind UCLA’s Josh Rosen.

Darnold made some great throws and his accuracy and ball placement at times showed why he’s a top rated quarterback but you still see the signs that he needs more time.

He needs to learn how to protect the football and 22 turnovers this season will subject him to criticism for sure if he declares for the draft.

Ultimately, Darnold should return to USC for another season but if he does declare for the draft, he needs to go somewhere he can sit. Cleveland hasn’t been the best situation for a rookie quarterback to come and sit and learn because of circumstances out of the player’s control.

If the Browns can find a stable veteran quarterback like an Alex Smith, it would be a great spot for Darnold to come to if they choose to take him with the first overall pick.

Ward sits out bowl game

The rumor had been out there that Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward would sit out the Cotton Bowl to protect his draft status and avoid the risk of an injury much like it did to former Buckeye safety Malik Hooker last year among others.

When Ward didn’t participate in warm ups prior to the game, I think that assured everyone he wasn’t playing. He went to social media prior to kickoff to confirm it.

 

His absence didn’t clearly set the Buckeye secondary back when Damon Webb picked off Sam Darnold and took it to the house for a Buckeye touchdown.

I know a lot of people criticized him for his decision but Ward was thinking about his future and wants to assure he can help himself and his family financially for their futures because ultimately we don’t know what their situation is so it’s not fair to criticize.

Ward is currently the top pure cornerback prospect in the draft and will likely go in the top half of the first round in April’s NFL Draft.

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