Oh, how times have changed in Columbus. This week, all Buckeye fans were talking about was JT Barrett’s heroic performance in the 39-38 comeback thriller against #2 Penn State. Next week, it’s going to be endless talking about how JT Barrett played one of the worst football games ever. After last week, Barrett was arguably hotter than any player in college football. Before the game against Iowa, Barrett had thrown 22 touchdowns and no interceptions since the loss to Oklahoma in the Buckeyes’ second game of the season. It seemed that no one could stop him. Then, he met the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Buckeyes hoped to get off to a better start than they did against Penn State when Saquon Barkley took the opening kick back 97 yards to give Penn State an immediate 7-0 lead with 14:45 left in the 1st quarter. However, it took Iowa only 8 seconds to get into the end zone after JT Barrett’s first pass was intercepted by Amani Hooker and taken 30 yards back for an opening pick-six. However, Barrett seemed to settle in on his next drive, marching the Buckeyes right down the field for a 6 play, 80-yard drive to even up the score. The first quarter ended at 10-10.
The second quarter was the beginning of the end for Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ usually-tough defense looked incapable of making a stop against Nathan Stanley and Iowa. The Hawkeyes took a 17-10 lead, which the Buckeyes immediately matched to even the score. Iowa then scored two more touchdowns to hold a 31-17 lead at halftime against the #6 Buckeyes.
The third quarter had no scoring until the 2:30 mark when T.J. Hockenson caught a two-yard touchdown to give the Hawkeyes a 38-17 lead. At this point, Iowa had scored 21 unanswered points and the Ohio State offense looked stagnant. JT Barrett couldn’t move the ball and the game seemed over at this point. Ohio State fans were trying to remember the exact position they were sitting in when they trailed by double digits heading into the 4th quarter against Penn State.
Any hope for Buckeye fans almost immediately ended when the Hawkeyes took their opening drive in the quarter for yet another touchdown to put Iowa ahead 45-17. Barrett’s next two drives ended in interceptions and the final score was 55-24 Hawkeyes in the most surprising outcome of the 2017-2018 season.
JT Barrett went from hero to zero so quickly, it made my head spin. For a few moments, the “Bench Barrett” crowd (which has included myself for 2 years) was silent after a 33-39, 328-yard, and 4-touchdown game. It seemed that elite JT might be ready to show the country what he can really do when he believes in himself. The first play pick-six brought everyone’s expectations for JT back down to earth. Barrett ended the game 18-34 for 208 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. A team needs a leader who can show up at all times and Barrett didn’t show up today. In fact, Buckeye fans are wishing he hadn’t shown up at all so Dwayne Haskins or Joe Burrow could have had their shot at Iowa.
The Buckeyes’ dreams of returning to the College Football Playoffs for the third time in four years are effectively dead. This is their second loss and the committee already wasn’t high on OSU, placing them at #6 in the first CFP rankings of the year. They will be lucky to be placed in the top 15 next week and need absolute mayhem to occur if they hope to be playing football in January. There is certainly an overwhelming veil of disappointment now surrounding this Buckeyes team. Any team that plays like that against an unranked team like Iowa doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near the top 10.
I may seem like a disappointed parent here, but I hope that JT Barrett goes to his room tonight and thinks about what he has done. He played one of the worst games of his career in a game that should have been a leisurely stroll in the park. I was expecting Barrett to put up close to 300 yards, 3-5 touchdowns, and 0-1 interceptions against an average Iowa defense. The blame can’t all be placed on his shoulders due to the atrocity that was the Buckeyes defense, but JT needed to have a much better game than he did.
R.I.P. Hero Joseph Thomas Barrett IV (10/28/17-11/4/2017) – TAKEN TOO SOON