Seven reasons Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett can win the Heisman

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Seven reasons Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett can win the Heisman

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Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett arrives at Ohio Stadium before a game against Penn State on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff

The Ohio State Buckeyes won’t mail flyers to promote J.T. Barrett as a Heisman Trophy candidate. They won’t put their quarterback’s photo on a billboard in Times Square.

At Ohio State, coach Urban Meyer said Monday, you don’t have to do those type of things. Everyone knows about Barrett. The No. 3 Buckeyes (7-1, 5-0) just played in the second most-watched college football game of the season, rallying from a 35-20 deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Penn State 39-38 on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

There’s also the small matter of the Heisman race trailing a number of other priorities for Meyer.

“We’re in the hunt for a lot of big things right now,” Meyer said. “The target is Iowa on the road at 3:30.”

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Meyer won’t even talk to Barrett about the Heisman. That might be a conversation he had with an immature player, not with a fifth-year senior breaking Ohio State and Big Ten records every week.

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“J.T., he’s a man’s man,” Meyer said. “If I ever went up to J.T. and said, ‘What do you think about the Heisman? Let’s have a conversation.’ He’d look at me like I had seven heads and say, ‘Who are you to talk to me about something like that? Let’s go find a way to win this next game.’”

Winning the next game and the ones that follow will help Barrett’s cause. Here are seven reasons he can become the first Buckeye to win the trophy since Troy Smith in 2006:

1. Passing stats: Barrett ranks third in the nation in passing touchdowns (25). That’s two more Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and three more than Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, two other quarterbacks considered Heisman contenders.

Mayfield ranks second in passing efficiency. Barrett is third. Rudolph is fourth. McKenzie Milton, of Central Florida, leads in that category.

2. Rushing stats: Barrett is a dual threat whose running numbers top the other two quarterback candidates. He averages 56.8 rushing yards per game and has scored five touchdowns. Mayfield averages 23.8 yards per game and has four touchdowns. Rudolph averages 7.8 yards per game and has rushed for seven scores.

3. Momentum: The Buckeyes have won six games in a row since their 31-16 loss to Oklahoma. Barrett has 22 touchdown passes in those games and no interceptions. He has thrown only one interception all season.

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4. Marquee performance: Against No. 2 Penn State, Barrett completed 33 of 39 passes for 328 yards and rushed for 95 yards. He completed his last 16 passes and was a perfect 13 of 13 in the fourth quarter.

5. Big picture: If career numbers factor into the discussion at all, Barrett has all the candidates beat. He’s 33-5 as a starter. He owns 33 Ohio State records and four Big Ten records. He’s tied for 14th in NCAA history with 130 touchdowns (rushing and passing). He’s 24th in NCAA history in rushing yards by a quarterback (2,919).

6. More chances: Barrett gets at least four more games — five if Ohio State reaches the Big Ten championship game — to impress voters. One of those games will be on the road against Michigan. A strong performance in a victory there would help Barrett.

If Ohio State beats an undefeated Wisconsin team — the Badgers are 8-0 right now — a week later in Indianapolis, Barrett would have another line on his resume just before the voting deadline on Dec. 4.

7. Wide-open field: No one is running away with the Heisman at this moment. Bovada, the online bookmaker, still lists Penn State running back Saquon Barkley as the favorite with 4-7 odds. Stanford running back Bryce Love has 4-1 odds. Barrett has the third-best odds at 9-2.

Also on Bovada’s list are: Mayfield (15-2); Notre Dame running back Josh Adams (10-1); Rudolph (33-1); and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson (40-1).

Ohio State fans rush field after victory over Penn State David Jablonski - Staff Writer
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