Ohio State is playing musical chair quarterback again.
Yahoo! Sports is reporting that freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett suffered a fractured ankle injury against Michigan in the Buckeye’s 42-28 victory. Barrett was caught from behind from the first play from scrimmage in the fourth quarter by three Michigan defenders. Barrett’s right foot got caught under one of the defenders as the other two pulled Barrett to the ground, thus breaking his ankle.
Barrett laid on the field for a while as medical staff secured his ankle with an inflatable cast. Before being carted off the field, Barrett rallied his teammates and continued to support them.
This comes at a very critical time for the Buckeyes. Ohio State had already lost incumbent starting quarterback Braxton Miller to a severe shoulder injure during preseason camps. Barrett assumed the starting quarterback job, and started slowly, but came into his own and started flourishing in coach Urban Meyer’s offense. Barrett had even garnered some talk about receiving Heisman Trophy votes later this year.
Barrett ends the season with 2,834 yards and a school-record 34 touchdowns, and he rushed for an additional 938 yards and 11 touchdowns. Barrett ends the season with 3,772 total yards and 45 total touchdowns. Barrett’s 45 touchdowns is a Big Ten record.
CBS Sports is reporting that this puts a definite crimp in Ohio State’s championship plans, both National and Big Ten. It wouldn’t be a big stretch for the Buckeyes to make the new Championship Playoff format, but to do so after losing both Miller and Barrett would be quite a feat.
The Buckeyes now must get ready for the Big Ten Championship against Wisconsin, with third string Cardale Jones leading the way. Wide receiver Jalin Marshall may also take some direct snaps from center running a form of Wildcat offense. If they can win the Big Ten Championship, do the Playoff voters vote them in because they won with three different quarterbacks, or leave them out because they had to use three different quarterbacks?
When asked, coach Meyer said, “I didn’t think of it until you said it. We won the game. I think it’s all going to be how we play next week. And I think we’re going to have Cardale ready to go next week.”
Currently ranked sixth, Ohio State now goes to Indianapolis without Barrett for the Big Ten Championship next week to try to improve that ranking and their chances of getting into the Playoffs.
[Image courtesy of The Big Lead]