So, does this mean the Buckeyes’ quarterback controversy is over?
Cardale Jones got the start in Saturday’s game against Western Michigan and was very good, leading No. 1 Ohio State to a 38-12 win. Most importantly, he wasn't pulled from the game.
Jones completed 19 passes for 288 yards and a pair of touchdowns, rushing 10 times for an additional 32 yards. He helmed an Ohio State offense that looked worlds better than its sloppy showing a week prior in an ugly 20-13 win over Northern Illinois. The Buckeyes accumulated 511 yards of total offense, with other stars emerging besides the quarterback. Ezekiel Elliott was fantastic, rushing for 124 yards and a touchdown — and hurdling a pair of defenders. Curtis Samuel had a big touchdown run, too. Jones showed off his big arm, finding Michael Thomas and Jalin Marshall for touchdown tosses of 37 and 38 yards, respectively.
But Jones wasn’t exactly perfect. He underthrew a lot of balls on the afternoon and turned the ball over twice, fumbling once and throwing an interception.
Urban Meyer’s decision to keep Jones as the starter came after the quarterback threw a pair of interceptions in that game against Northern Illinois, two picks that earned Jones a quick hook, replaced the rest of the way by J.T. Barrett. But Meyer stuck with Jones, and Jones rewarded that decision with a good showing Saturday.
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“Overall, I thought Cardale played OK,” Meyer said after the game. “He threw for 288. I still give him (just) the OK because we have high expectations and a couple turnovers.”
It’s obvious the quarterbacking isn’t where Meyer wants it to be, and that’s still an almost unbelievable shock after the way Ohio State quarterbacks have played in three seasons under Meyer. Braxton Miller was twice the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Barrett was remarkable through 12 games last season and Jones was terrific in those three postseason wins en route to a national championship.
But Jones, and Barrett, too — Barrett threw an interception in Saturday’s game, as well — have just been off.
But for one week, perhaps there won’t be a quarterback controversy in Columbus. When Meyer named Jones the starter this past Wednesday, he still talked about competition and about how Barrett has to win the job if he’s going to supplant Jones.
Jones, though, was good Saturday. And while there still seems to be a ways to go before we get back to the level of quarterback play we saw in the last three seasons, at least Buckeye fans and observers can take a break from the sky-is-falling routine that accompanied last week’s win.
“I definitely felt more comfortable,” Jones said. “We’re starting to get on the same page as not just receivers or offensive line or things like that. I think everyone felt way more comfortable today.”