Cardale Jones will start at quarterback for Ohio State when the Buckeyes host Western Michigan on Saturday in Columbus.
The starting job was once again up for grabs this week after both Jones and J.T. Barrett played poorly in an ugly 20-13 win over Northern Illinois last weekend, but head coach Urban Meyer announced Wednesday that Barrett has yet to beat Jones out and that Jones will start for the fourth time in four games this season.
“Cardale’s going to start at quarterback for us,” Meyer said Wednesday.
Jones threw two early interceptions against NIU, and he was removed from the game and replaced by Barrett, who also couldn’t do much to get the Buckeyes’ offense going, throwing an interception of his own in the second half.
But Meyer reiterated Wednesday that Jones continues to win the competition against Barrett, dating back to the end of last season when he led the Buckeyes to three postseason wins including a win in the national championship game.
"He was the quarterback of the team when we finished the season last year," Meyer said. "He was the quarterback in spring practice, the only healthy one. And he finished training camp as the starting quarterback. And at times he's played very good, other times he has not. To replace him, the other guy's got to pass him up, either (at practice) or in games. That hasn't happened."
Neither quarterback has had a good start to the 2015 season after both were sensational in 2014. Jones has thrown two touchdowns and three interceptions while starting three games, all Ohio State wins. Barrett has two touchdowns and one interceptions in limited time as the No. 2.
Jones beat out Barrett for the starting job following a preseason position battle that captivated the attention of the entire college football world. But Barrett has seen the field plenty, leading many to criticize Meyer for his apparent desire to play both guys as much as he can rather than picking one player and sticking with him.
That strategy seems to be continuing this week.
“It’s like any position,” Meyer said. “If someone replaces you, they’ve got to beat you out. That’s the approach we’re taking, and they’re both ready to go.
“You don’t anoint people. ‘Let’s give that guy a shot.’ When I hear that, of course that person’s never coached for a living. ‘Give him a shot.’ You have to earn things. It’s close, they’re both working their tails off.”