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JOE. THOMAS. BARRETT. THE FOURTH

With one flick of the wrist, J.T. Barrett went from much-maligned to the savior of Ohio State’s championship hopes.

Barrett finished off a miraculous Ohio State comeback victory against No. 2 Penn State with 16 consecutive completions while racking up 170 yards and three touchdowns through the air in the fourth quarter.

His final touchdown pass to tight end Marcus Baugh was a masterpiece. It was a beautiful throw right over the outstretched arms of a Penn State linebacker. It was the type of tight window Barrett had been throwing into all evening against the Nittany Lions.

The greatest quarterback in Ohio State history cemented his legacy with a school record 423 yards of total offense in the biggest game of Ohio State’s season.

Barrett was unbelievably good Saturday, but it should never have taken this long for people to recognize his greatness. Buckeye fans have been witnessing a legend in Ohio Stadium these past four years and haven’t even known it.

From Scapegoat to THE GOAT.

The numbers speak for themselves. Barrett is the Big Ten career leader in touchdown passes (94) and touchdowns responsible for (130), passing the great Drew Brees in both categories this season.

And Saturday’s one-point victory was Barrett’s 33rd as a starter, which stands three behind Art Schlichter’s school record of 36.

Somehow, Buckeye fans began scapegoating Barrett after an embarrassing loss to Clemson in the 2016 College Football Playoff. Despite Ohio State firing its offensive coordinator Tim Beck in the days following the unacceptable 31-0 defeat, fans had to find a fall guy on the field.

For those with some sense, it was clear Barrett’s receiving corps and coaching staff was failing him left and right. Barrett’s receivers couldn’t find any way to get open against Clemson’s defense stacked with NFL talent and the play calling was a true abomination.

Still, Barrett took a lot of the blame even after throwing for four touchdowns in a road victory against Oklahoma in September and completing his third victory against rival Michigan in late November 2016.

 

Things didn’t get better when Barrett and the Buckeyes took a thumping from Baker Mayfield’s Oklahoma Sooners, 31–16, in Ohio Stadium early this season. Never mind the fact that no Ohio State quarterback had EVER defeated a top-5 non-conference opponent at home.

And never mind the dropped passes from a poor receiving corps and the coaching staff abandoning the run game. It all fell on Barrett’s back. He had to be the fall guy.

Barrett finally had the chance to be exactly what he needed to be Saturday — perfect.

He had to be perfect in the last 20 minutes of the game to overcome all the special teams mistakes Ohio State made early in the game.

He had to be perfect to overcome his receivers dropping passes and fumbling the ball away to Penn State any chance they got.

He had to be perfect to overcome some of the poorest officiating I’ve seen in a major college football game.

Barrett finished 33-of-39 for 328 yards and four touchdowns, vaulting himself into the Heisman Trophy discussion. And the only thing people can hold above his head is that shiny bronze trophy Troy Smith took home in 2006.

The Pressure’s On, But He Doesn’t Crack

Barrett has won more big time spotlight games during his career than Troy Smith and that’s just a fact.

Smith was way more dynamic from the pocket, but Barrett has simply put the team on his back since day one under center when he took over for an injured Braxton Miller in 2014.

Even after running through the Big Ten with a vengeance in his redshirt freshman campaign, he still had to fight for his job after injuring his leg against Michigan.

And he clearly outplayed national-championship-winning quarterback Cardale Jones to win his starting position back in 2015.

TBE: Put Some RESPECT on His Name

Barrett has the numbers, the wins, the clutch performances, the national championship, and perhaps some new hardware to add at the end of the season.

He’s been breathtakingly good through the air unlike Buckeye greats Terrelle Pryor and Braxton Miller, and his legs allow him to be a dual threat the likes of which Craig Krenzel could only dream about.

He’s the only three-time captain in Ohio State history and with good reason. His poise and leadership are unmatched in college football today.

J.T. Barrett is simply the greatest quarterback to ever put on that scarlet and gray uniform. Put some RESPECT on his name.

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