"Ohio State is losing to Navy."
You probably heard that from a few friends or received that text message from a few football fans on Saturday. For a while, that was going to be the headline of Week 1 of the college football season: "Braxton Miller-less Buckeyes upset by Navy, everyone doomed."
But it didn't quite work out that way.
No, Ohio State bounced back from some early struggles and found its footing in Baltimore. The same can be said for J.T. Barrett, the redshirt freshman tasked with replacing Miller at quarterback. Barrett ended up with a fine day, completing 12 of 15 passing attempts for 226 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw one interception, but for that few passing attempts, he had a solid day. He was also the Buckeyes' leading rusher with 50 yards.
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“Coach (Tom) Herman looked in my eyes and told me, ‘Don’t try to be something you’re not. Just go out there and play the game, play with confidence.’ I feel like I did that (Saturday)," Barrett said. "That definitely helped me, settled me down. You’re coming in after practice, and people are expecting you to do some crazy stuff. I’m myself, I’m not Braxton, I’m J.T., so I just went out there and played my game.”
It's obvious that Urban Meyer thinks Barrett has improvements to make following his first career game. But, overall, Meyer seemed to think that Barrett was hardly the most blameworthy for any of the team's struggles.
“J.T. I thought did OK," Meyer said. "We’ll evaluate the film. Every new player’s going to have a certain amount of mistakes. I wanted to open it up a little bit more in the first half, and we didn’t. It wasn’t because of him, it was because of our offensive line. We had a couple mistakes in there, penalties and sacks. We can’t do that.”
But with all those mentions of struggles, let's remember that the Buckeyes won. They dumped 34 points on a solid Navy team, and that's after trailing, 7-6, at the half. Ohio State showed something in that second half, showing that they're not toast without Miller.