It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t easy. But the Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0) won their season opener against the Navy Midshipmen (0-1), 34-17. J.T. Barrett struggled at times, throwing an early interception and failing to get an offensive touchdown in the first half. By the third quarter, however, he found his way and led the Buckeyes to a strong finish.
Barrett finished the game 12-of-15 with 226 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Not bad for a redshirt freshman that’s stepping in for injured quarterback Braxton Miller, two-time Big Ten player of the year.
Barrett threw an 80-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and it seemed to instill confidence in the ailing offense. The Buckeyes scored 14 points in a seven-minute span during the fourth quarter and totaled 28 points in the second half. Buckeye nation took a sigh of relief.
Barrett led Ohio State in rushing with nine carries for 50 yards, but he may be one of the least mobile quarterbacks Urban Meyer has worked with in a long time. Barrett was an efficient and effective leader of the offense — especially after he settled in. He may not win games in the same way that Braxton Miller did, but Barrett certainly won’t lose them.
Ezekiel Elliott got the most touches in the Buckeyes’ run game with 12 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown. Curtis Samuel added seven carries for 45 yards. No Buckeye receiver exceeded three receptions.
Navy led an admirable rushing effort against the Buckeyes’ front seven, accruing 370 of their 390 of offensive yards in the run game. Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds showed poise, leading the triple-option attack. However, he had one fumble returned for a touchdown in the first half. Ryan Williams-Jenkins carried the ball seven times for 118 yards, including a 67 yard touchdown that led to Keenan Reynolds touchdown.
The Buckeyes are undefeated and continue to charge for the College Playoffs at home against Virginia Tech on Sept 6.