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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett does not allow himself to get too high or too low when it comes to praise or criticism. He knows that the quarterback position always gets all of the praise when things are going well and all of the blame when things are not.
The Buckeyes have rebounded after a week two loss to Oklahoma and while the schedule since then has not put up any major hurdles to date, the Ohio State offense seems to be finding its groove as the calendar is closing in on October and Ohio State's next 'biggest game of the year' is just a few short weeks away when Penn State invades Ohio Stadium.
Games against Army West Point and UNLV have seen the Buckeyes score a combined 92 points while Barrett has thrown for 479 yards on 37-50 passing for seven touchdowns and zero interceptions in a little less than six quarters of work.
Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day have managed to get a deep passing game without having to throw the deep ball with screens to playmakers like Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon and others who can turn a routine short throw into a 60-yard touchdown. It all shows up in the final book the same as a 50-yard strike down the sideline. It doesn't matter to Ohio State's senior quarterback who said he is just here to help his team win games.
Barrett knows there will be detractors that will never be satisfied with the offense and will complain that the offense should be scoring points at-will.
"I think I just try and do my best to get the ball out of my hands quickly," Barrett said. "Get it to the open guy… I would say that I am not the crazy risk taker, I think there is a time and place for that and I feel that I can do that. But accurate passer, get it out of my hands quick, get it to open guys and they can go do their job."
Barrett's legacy likely will not be noticed or appreciated by many until he has exhausted his eligibility after the season and has moved on for several years. A look at the Ohio State record book shows that J.T.'s time in Columbus has been productive.
The Wichita Falls (Texas) product holds the record in pass completions, career TD passes, career passing yards per game, 200-yard passing games, total offense for a career, total offense per game over a career, touchdowns responsible for, touchdowns responsible for in a game, games of going for 200 yards of total offense over a career and games of going for 300 yards of total offense over a career, to name a few records.
And Barrett is on the verge of several more records including passing Art Schlichter for career passing yards (needs 200 yards), needs 14 yards to break the 10,000-yard mark in total offense, needs two more 300-yard games to overtake Joe Germaine for career 300-yard passing games and is second in completion percentage behind Todd Boeckman (by four percentage points).
Barrett has not gotten caught up in the records and soon-to-be records and does not go out to actively look at where he stands against former players to play the same position.
"I think if anything that if I am tagged in something on Twitter, I will look at it real quick," Barrett added. "But as far as going out on my own and seeing where I am at, no."
Setting records was never part of the plan for Barrett. If it happened, that is great but his focus is on each game. That does not mean he does recognize what it means to be a fixture in the career passing record book for several entries.
"I feel like it will be a huge honor. Did I picture it like this? Not really," Barrett said humbly. "I just try and go out there and do my best and win football games as a quarterback. To be up there with those names, people that have done great things here at Ohio State, that is a tremendous honor."
The records are nice but fans want wins and the next opportunity is against Rutgers, a team that Ohio State has had the upper hand with since joining the Big Ten just a few short years ago.
It would go a long way to soother the fragile nerves of Ohio State fans if the Buckeyes could continue to build on successes from the last two weeks in the passing game. Regardless if it is Barrett, Dwayne Haskins or Joe Burrow out there, there have been some things that have been working that the Buckeyes need to continue to build upon for continued success.
"We are not holding the ball and the O-line does not need to hold on to extra blocks," Barrett said. "I think that is one of the main things. Also doing a great job on the perimeter blocking with the receivers and tight ends, so the YAC yards after the catch, all that comes into play."