One of the burning questions heading into the game versus Illinois was whether the Buckeyes would put more plays on film for Michigan to game plan for, or play a vanilla offense so as not to show too much.
Ohio State wasted no time in showcasing a number of misdirection plays leading into The Game. In fact, the Buckeyes were running misdirection simply for the sake of running misdirection, as it was not intended to set up additional plays, nor was it the result of a stifled running game to jump start the offense.
The most interesting play was a wrinkle off of Jet Sweep motion.
In the past, we have seen this play as a touch pass to the wide side of the field with no other window dressing except for speed to the edge. Versus Illinois, this play was utilized a number of times to Parris Campbell and K.J. Hill, and instead of a touch pass to the motioning receiver, Barrett is able to carry out a fake to the running back before throwing to the same motioning receiver to the flat.
The fake to the running back holds the linebackers as they have to respect both Barrett and the back. With the secondary playing Man Coverage, the defender is forced to trail the receiver though the “wash” created by the linebackers in the middle of the field. The outside receiver sells a short route before blocking down, as any blocking before the pass is delivered would be an offensive penalty.
This play will be a valuable addition moving forward as it allows J.T. Barrett the built-in reads needed for a successful Read Option, including keeping it himself, while stretching the defense horizontally in an all-encompassing RPO.