J.T. Barrett will start at quarterback for No. 1 Ohio State in Saturday's game against Rutgers, replacing Cardale Jones.
Coach Urban Meyer made the not-so-surprising announcement Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches' call with reporters.
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"Cardale is going to be a very active part, too," Meyer said. "Hopefully, we'll keep him very much involved. So, it was a difficult decision. But red-zone production and third-down production were the two areas that made the difference. (Barrett) earned that with the way he played Saturday."
The Buckeyes (7-0) are 81st in the nation in converting third downs into first downs at 37.5 percent. They are 72nd in converting red-zone trips into touchdowns at 60.7 percent (17 for 28), and most of those TDs have come with Barrett on the field.
Barrett is a quicker runner and better at running the zone-read option that is such a big part of Ohio State's offense. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Jones has one of the strongest arms in college football, but the Buckeyes have not been able to use it to exploit defenses down the field.
"I have two great guys that I have a tremendous amount of respect for. I'm just trying to do the right thing," Meyer said.
Barrett lost a closely watched quarterback competition to Jones that started not long after the Buckeyes won the national championship in January. Jones started the last three games of Ohio State's title run after Barrett was brilliant in the regular season.
Jones earned the start in the opener against Virginia Tech, but he never took firm hold of the job. He has seven touchdowns passes against five interceptions and ranks 48th in the nation with a passer rating of 141.23. He threw for just 84 yards in last week's win over Penn State and was replaced by Barrett for good after two series in the third quarter. Barrett was responsible for four touchdowns last week and seven in the last two games.
Jones also was benched in the second half of the Northern Illinois game, but Barrett wasn't particularly effective, either, and Jones continued to start.
Against Maryland two weeks ago, Jones started and played the big part of the field and Barrett entered when the Buckeyes reached the red zone. Barrett ran for three touchdowns in that game.
Barrett got tossed into the starting job at the beginning of last season on short notice after Braxton Miller injured his shoulder during preseason camp. After some growing pains early, Barrett went on to become the Big Ten player of the year and set a conference record by accounting for 45 touchdowns.
He broke his ankle against Michigan and Jones took over. Jones helped the Buckeyes beat Wisconsin (Big Ten title game), Alabama (College Football Payoff semifinal) and Oregon (national championship game).