Ohio State coach Urban Meyer announced Tuesday that for the first time this season, sophomore J.T. Barrett will be the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback instead of junior Cardale Jones.
Meyer said he based the decision on “sheer production.”
“Cardale’s going to be an active part too,” Meyer said. “It was a difficult decision, but red zone production and third down production were the two areas that made a difference.”
Ohio State is 7-0 and ranked No. 1 in the Amway Coaches Poll, but Jones has not excelled in various aspects of the game in recent weeks.
On Oct. 17 against Penn State, Jones was 9 for 15 passing for 84 yards before giving way to Barrett, who led the Buckeyes to three second-quarter touchdowns. Barrett replaced Jones permanently after two scoreless drives in the third quarter.
For the game, Barrett had two touchdowns passing and two rushing.
Overall, Barrett is Ohio State’s second leading rusher and has rushed or passed for nine touchdowns in intermittent action. He is completing 61.4% of his passes compared to Jones’ 62.4 and is averaging 7.9 yards per rushing attempt. Jones has thrown for seven touchdowns and rushed for one, but he also has thrown seven interceptions.
Meyer said he’s never at peace with the position during the season, but “I’ve got two great guys who I have a tremendous amount of respect for, and I’m just trying to do the right thing.”
Ohio State plays at Rutgers on Saturday (5 p.m. ABC).