The Ohio State Buckeyes improved to 6-0 on the season with a 49-28 win over Maryland this past Saturday, much in part to backup quarterback J.T. Barrett being used in the red zone over starter Cardale Jones. In the game, Barrett rushed for 62 yards and three touchdowns on just 12 carries.
When asked by Eric Seger of Eleven Warriors if Barrett being used in the red zone would become a regular occurrence, coach Urban Meyer gave a fairly straight answer.
Getting Barrett involved more often certainly wouldn’t hurt a Buckeyes squad whose offense has sputtered at times with Jones under center. Keep in mind that Barrett was the starter last year before breaking his ankle in the regular season finale against Michigan, and Jones led the No. 4 ranked Buckeyes to wins in the College Football Playoff and then the national championship game before winning the starting job in camp this year.
But what Jones has in overall size at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Barrett makes up for in speed. In his collegiate career, he has run for 1,064 yards and 14 touchdowns while throwing for 3,053 yards and 36 scores. Jones this season, on the other hand, has rushed for only 146 yards and a touchdown and is starting to look fairly statuesque in the pocket.
Thus, no matter how you look at it, using the speedy Barrett in the red zone is a great idea and gives him the chance to stay fresh while Jones handles the duties of getting the team that far downfield.
The No. 1 Buckeyes look to go 7-0 this weekend when their Big Ten rival Penn State Nittany Lions pay a visit to Columbus. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports