What a difference a week makes. After struggling to get a consistent attack going in the Buckeyes’ 31-16 loss to Oklahoma and then enduring seven days of withering criticism from Ohio State fans, J.T. Barrett rebounded Saturday against Army with a record-breaking performance.
With a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Austin Mack, Barrett set the Big Ten’s career record for touchdowns responsible for with the 107th of his career. That mark was previously held by Purdue’s Drew Brees.
Barrett finished the game 25-for-33 passing for 270 yards and two touchdowns, and added 32 yards and another score on the ground. After earning the record by distributing passes to teammates, he spent the postgame interview trying to distribute the credit as well.
“It’s a tremendous honor. I didn’t picture it when I committed to Ohio State,” said Barrett.
“I think, just credit to all the people involved. I think about the time with coach (Tom) Herman back in the day. All the guys who helped me. Devin Smith, tight ends Jeff Heuerman, Nick (Vannett), Jalin Marshall, Dontre Wilson, everybody that was a part of my time here.”
After the game, OSU head coach Urban Meyer said that mark puts Barrett’s career in an impressive light.
“I’ve known about the Big Ten Conference for probably 40-some years, and of all the great players that have played here, to say you’re the number one touchdown maker in the history of the Big Ten Conference, that’s awesome,” said Meyer. “That’s something that — that’s going to be a hard one to break. He’s got a lot of games left.”
Barrett’s teammates were clearly thrilled to see him break the record as well.
“We celebrated with him in the locker room,” said sophomore WR K.J. Hill. “That’s a big accomplishment. You don’t see that every day. I hope we cherish that.”
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“He’s the best at what he does, in my opinion. He’s a winner,” said junior WR Terry McLaurin. “No one can measure his heart, his toughness, and that energy that he brings every day. It fuels our offense, it fuels our team. You can’t deny the numbers. People say this and that about him but the numbers are what they are. He’s a great leader and a great football player and I’m just glad we’ve got him on our side.”
Barrett knows that while his teammates are squarely in his corner, many Buckeye fans are not.
“People have a right to their opinion,” Barrett said. “But they don’t really know all the inner workings that are involved in every single gameplan, every single game, even going down to every single play.”
“I understand that it’s going to be a process, it’s going to be a long journey to get back to where we want to be,” Barrett said.
After the win, Meyer once again sounded like there was little doubt that Barrett would remain the starting quarterback for the rest of that journey.
“The heart of a lion,” Meyer said of Barrett. “And toughness, one of the toughest players I’ve ever been around. That’s pretty good characteristics to have with a guy touching the ball every snap.”