Urban Meyer names J.T. Barrett starting QB for Ohio State at Rutgers
COLUMBUS, Ohio — J.T. Barrett will start at quarterback for the Buckeyes on Saturday night at Rutgers, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday.
Barrett started 12 games last season for the Buckeyes but was injured against Michigan, opening the door for Cardale Jones to enter the starting lineup and help Ohio State win three postseason games and the national championship.
Jones started the first seven games of this season but was replaced by Barrett in several games, including as the red-zone quarterback the past two weeks against Maryland and Penn State.
Barrett finished the win over the Nittany Lions as the "full-time" quarterback, playing outside the red zone as well.
Meyer added that Jones would remain involved in the game plan but did not explain his potential role.
"It was a difficult decision," Meyer said. "But red-zone production and third-down production were the two areas that made the difference. (Barrett) earned that with the way he played Saturday."
Asked whether he is at peace with the situation now, Meyer replied, "Not necessarily," citing his feelings toward both players.
"I have two great guys that I have a tremendous amount of respect for. I’m just trying to do the right thing," Meyer said.
Barrett lost a closely watched quarterback competition to Jones that started not long after the Buckeyes won the national championship in January. Jones started the last three games of Ohio State’s title run after Barrett was brilliant in the regular season.
Jones earned the start in the opener against Virginia Tech, but he never took firm hold of the job. He has seven touchdowns passes against five interceptions and ranks 48th in the nation with a passer rating of 141.23. He threw for just 84 yards in last week’s win over Penn State and was replaced by Barrett for good after two series in the third quarter. Barrett was responsible for four touchdowns last week and seven in the last two games.
Jones also was benched in the second half of the Northern Illinois game, but Barrett wasn’t particularly effective, either, and Jones continued to start.
Against Maryland two weeks ago, Jones started and played the big part of the field and Barrett entered when the Buckeyes reached the red zone. Barrett ran for three touchdowns in that game.
Barrett got tossed into the starting job at the beginning of last season on short notice after Braxton Miller injured his shoulder during preseason camp. After some growing pains early, Barrett went on to become the Big Ten player of the year and set a conference record by accounting for 45 touchdowns.
He broke his ankle against Michigan and Jones took over. Jones helped the Buckeyes beat Wisconsin (Big Ten title game), Alabama (College Football Payoff semifinal) and Oregon (national championship game).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.