The starting quarterback job at Ohio State is J.T. Barrett’s now. Though maybe for now is more appropriate.
The never-ending story of this college football season entered a new chapter Tuesday. Coach Urban Meyer announced Barrett would replace Cardale Jones as the starter when No. 1 Ohio State plays at Rutgers on Saturday.
This was no unexpected plot twist. The move seemed inevitable after Barrett accounted for four touchdowns in relief of Jones against Penn State last weekend during a 38-10 victory.
“Cardale is going to be a very active part, too,” Meyer said Tuesday during the Big Ten coaches’ conference call. “Hopefully, we’ll keep him very much involved. So, it was a difficult decision.
“But red-zone production and third-down production were the two areas that made the difference. (Barrett) earned that with the way he played (last) Saturday.”
Barrett ran for two touchdowns and threw two more in six red-zone trips for the Buckeyes. The other resulted in a field goal.
The Buckeyes (7-0) are 81st in the nation in converting third downs into first downs at 37.5 percent. They are 72nd in converting red-zone trips into touchdowns at 60.7 percent (17-for-28), and most of those touchdowns have come with Barrett on the field.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Jones has one of the strongest arms in college football, but the Buckeyes have not been able to use it to exploit defenses down the field.
“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.
Braxton Miller, a two-time Big Ten player of the year, also figured to be in the mix at quarterback if his surgically repaired shoulder allowed. He dropped out of the race in July to become a receiver.
Jones has seven touchdowns passes against five interceptions and ranks 48th in the nation with a passer rating of 141.23. He threw for 84 yards during last week’s victory and was replaced by Barrett for good after two series in the third quarter.
North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz will miss the rest of the regular season after breaking a bone in his throwing wrist.
Wentz will have surgery today on the wrist he hurt last Saturday during the team’s 24-21 loss to South Dakota, Bison athletic department spokesman Ryan Perreault said. Wentz has a “non-displaced fracture.”