Whenever a player is carted off the field, fans hold their breath hoping that the injury isn’t as severe as it appears.
Today, Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett was taken to the locker room on a medical cart with an apparent right leg injury. Barrett waved and clapped to the crowd as he was escorted off the Horseshoe turf and his leg immediately wrapped with a cast.
Ohio State fans have already endured heartbreaking loss like this, when senior quarterback Braxton Miller’s final campaign ended early at a late-August practice. Today, with Barrett and Miller unavailable, the Buckeyes turned to their bench for guidance against arch nemesis Michigan.
Barrett entered the Michigan contest as a top Heisman Trophy candidate, collecting a nation-leading 42 total touchdowns, doing so as the shadow of former quarterback Braxton Miller looms large. Miller, a star in his own right, was expected to guide the Buckeyes to the promised land, but a shoulder injury ended his season before it ever began. Now, with Barrett at the helm, Ohio State had built another 10-win season and found a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Earlier this week, reports – none of which were confirmed – leaked that Miller would transfer to the Oregon Ducks once the season had ended. After Barrett’s emergence as a starting-caliber QB, speculation grew that Miller would pursue new pastures and immediate eligibility. That speculation aside, if a serious injury did occur to Barrett, Miller, however, could elect to stay at Ohio State and retain his spot atop the depth chart.
Still, the sixth ranked Buckeyes need major help if they hope to qualify for first-ever College Football Playoff. Ohio State must hold on against the Wolverines today before topping the winner of today’s Wisconsin Badgers and Minnesota Gophers matchup. Furthermore, two of the top five teams would also need to lose on Championship weekend in order for a spot to open up for the Buckeyes.
***Update, 6:10: Barrett suffered broken ankle, will miss rest of season
*Section Photo credit to Jamie Sabau, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to FootballWithdrawal