Chengelis: J.T. Barrett enters Heisman conversation

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Entering the big Penn State-Ohio State clash, the Nittany Lions’ Saquon Barkley was getting all the Heisman Trophy frontrunner attention.

But after Ohio State quarterback J.T Barrett finished 33-of-39 for 328 yards and four touchdowns in the Buckeyes’ come-from-behind 39-38 victory, he has to be close to or at the top of Heisman list. Barkley, who had a 97-yard opening kickoff touchdown, was held to 44 yards on 21 carries, including one carry for 36 yards.

J.T. Barrett of the Ohio State Buckeyes finished 33-of-39 for 328 yards and four touchdowns Saturday against Penn State.

Barrett completed his final 16 passes, a school record as was his 423 yards of total offense.

This season, Barrett has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 2,166 yards, and he has rushed for 454 yards, 30 total touchdowns (25 passing), and, remarkably, one interception in 246 attempts.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer isn’t ready to talk about Barrett and the Heisman. Yet.

“He said the H-word,” Barrett said, according to Cleveland. com. “I’m going to say the same thing, that H-word. I don’t really focus on it. Next week we’ve got to beat Iowa.

“That’s what I’ll go focus on.”

The Buckeyes gained 500-plus yards for a sixth straight game, extending a team record.

“I’m at a great spot right now,” Barrett said. “It’s my senior year being the quarterback at Ohio State. I love the guys in the locker room, love the brotherhood that we have. I tell you all the time I’m just a little cat from Wichita Falls, Texas. People don’t even know where it is on the map. But other than that, I’m grateful for the position God has put me in, and I can’t say how much I’m blessed.”

Minimizing Barkley

The 97-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff was the highlight for Barkley against Ohio State.

The Buckeyes contained him offensively. He had 44 yards rushing and caught four passes for 23 yards. A week earlier against Michigan, Barkley had 108 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and he had 53 yards receiving and one touchdown.

“They were blitzing, bringing pressures, added extra hats in the running game scheme-wise,” Barkley told the Centre Daily Times. “That’s really all I really saw. Their D-line made plays. It’s a talented group. I got to find a way to break tackles, got to find a way to fight for extra yards and make plays.”

Taylor loss a big difference

When Wisconsin lost freshman tailback Jonathan Taylor with an injury to his left leg in the first half against Illinois, the Badgers offense took a dive in the second half.

Taylor entered the game — Wisconsin remains unbeaten with the 24-10 victory over Illinois — leading the Big Ten in rushing with 168.5 yards.

He had 73 yards on 12 carries before the injury. Without him available for the whole game, the Badgers finished with 168 yards rushing on 45 carries, their second-lowest output of the season, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

It is unclear if he will be ready for the upcoming game.

Can’t win the close ones

Purdue lost, 25-24, to Nebraska at Ross-Ade on Saturday night, making four of the Boilermakers’ five losses by eight points or less.

“It ranks up there pretty high, especially as an offense we were in a position to finish it off and we didn’t do it,” Purdue quarterback David Blough told the Journal & Courier.

“Small things, missed opportunities. Yeah, it stings a lot.”

Cornhuskers rejoice

When Purdue couldn’t put away Nebraska, the Cornhuskers took advantage as quarterback Tanner Lee drove the team 70 yards in eight plays with the winning score with 14 seconds remaining.

They came back from a 12-point deficit and scored two TDs in the fourth quarter.

“I don’t know exactly what to say,” offensive lineman Jerald Foster said, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. “We kept pushing, we kept doing what we were supposed to do.”

Nebraska drove those final 70 yards in the final 82 seconds.

The Cornhuskers had 203 yards on four, fourth-quarter possessions.