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- Buckeyes play No. 2 Penn State at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
James Franklin isn’t sure how long J.T. Barrett has played for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
“I think this is his 16th year, maybe going on 17,” the Penn State coach said Tuesday. “One of the most successful quarterbacks in school history, if not the most.”
Franklin missed the mark by a few years, but he made a good point. It only seems as if Barrett, now a fifth-year senior, has been around forever.
Barrett arrived on Ohio State’s campus in January 2013. He debuted in the 2014 season opener against Navy, taking the place of the injured Braxton Miller. He will appear in his 44th game and make his 38th start at 3:30 p.m. Saturday when No. 6 Ohio State (6-1, 4-0) plays No. 2 Penn State (7-0, 4-0) at Ohio Stadium.
Barrett owns most of Ohio State’s career passing records: yards (8,219), completions (667) and completion percentage (63.7) to name a few. He is tied with Purdue great Drew Brees for most career touchdown passes in the Big Ten (90).
Despite his struggles in Ohio State’s most recent big games against Michigan, Clemson and Oklahoma, Barrett is still poised to make a run at the Heisman Trophy, the Big Ten championship and the third playoff berth in his career.
“You have got to just completely respect everything that that guy’s been able to do in his career,” Franklin said, “and everything I know about him and have heard about him, he’s a class act. That’s going to be a challenge for us because he can beat you with his legs, he can beat you with his arm, he can beat you with his mind. His touchdown-to-interception ratio right now is excellent. He is doing some great things.”
TV GUIDE: Where to watch the games this weekend
Barrett has thrown 21 touchdown passes and one interception. He threw that one interception in the 31-16 loss to Oklahoma in the second game of the season Sept. 9. In the last five games, all blowout victories, he has 18 touchdown passes.
Of course, a large part of Barrett’s legacy hinges on what he and the Buckeyes do against Penn State, the highest-ranked opponent to play at Ohio Stadium in Urban Meyer’s six seasons.
Penn State leads the nation in pass-efficiency defense. It ranks seventh in the country in fewest passing yards allowed per game (167.6). Opponents have thrown three touchdown passes against the Nittany Lions. Last week, Penn State held Michigan’s John O’Korn to 166 passing yards and sacked him seven times.
This will be the first true test for Barrett since the Oklahoma game.
“He’s been very consistent other than that one game,” Meyer said. “As I’ve said for many, many years, the quarterback gets too much blame and too much, you know, success aimed at him. It’s really because we protected much better the last few weeks. The receivers are doing an excellent job. But what have you done for me lately? We’re going to find out against this team.”
Penn State at Ohio State, 3:30 p.m., FOX, 1410