Two round of fireworks went off and fans loudly chanted “J-T, J-T” while quarterback J.T. Barrett was the final Ohio State senior introduced before Saturday’s game against Illinois.
The three-time captain rushed out, showered by the loudest cheers for any of the 19 seniors, carrying flowers to deliver to his parents on the field. But for Barrett, the moment he had talked about during the week, did not happen.
“Didn’t see my mom cry,” Barrett said. “I thought today was the day, but no. It’s still 22 years and counting I haven’t seen my mom cry.”
Barrett’s entrance through the tunnel onto the field marked the final time he, as a player, would take to the field in Ohio Stadium.
In the 52-14 blowout of Illinois, Barrett finished the game quickly, as expected.
Barrett had left the game in the second quarter in favor of backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins, but was called back in after the second-stringer proved ineffective. The quarterback, whom some fans wanted replaced with Haskins earlier in the season, was the one to replace Haskins following the backup’s fumble and return for Illinois’ first score.
Head coach Urban Meyer said, “I was pissed,” about the mistakes and said he needed to put the starters back in to prevent the game from turning into a “clown show.”
“[Meyer] was very upset,” Barrett said. “I saw him and then it was like, well he’s definitely known for sending the starters back in, so let me go find my knee brace and go find my helmet because I didn’t have any of those things. I wasn’t shocked by any means, but I knew when my man [Haskins] fumbled the ball, it was like this is not about to be good.”
Barrett entered the game, and after failing to get anything going his first drive back, took the team down the field after Illinois coughed up the punt to extend the Buckeye lead to 45-7.
By the time his night finally came to an end, Barrett had completed 11-of-19 passes for 141 yards and two touchdown passes. He also rushed five times for 33 yards, including a touchdown.
Along the way, he added some more notes to his crowded resume. He set the program record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback, surpassing Braxton Miller’s total of 3,054, and became the first Ohio State quarterback to throw 100 touchdown passes.
When it’s all said and done, Barrett willy be among the most productive quarterbacks in the history of the Big Ten, and the most decorated Ohio State quarterback of all-time. He holds 35 total Big Ten or Ohio State records combined, many of them set in Columbus.
If he has any more records left to break, they will come away from Ohio Stadium.
“There’s a last thing for everything,” Barrett said. “I was trying to do my best while I was playing here in Ohio Stadium and send everyone out there in a good way as far as seniors today.”
The end of Barrett’s time in Ohio Stadium is not the end of his journey as a Buckeye. Though it might be his finale in front of the home crowd, Barrett still has at least three games remaining with the upcoming rivalry game against Michigan, the Big Ten championship against Wisconsin and a bowl game or two.
“It’s certainly not a goodbye,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “When we say goodbye, it’s going to be a tough one. But that was not a goodbye. That was a chance for him to tip his hat.”
Barrett had his moment to tip his hat. And while he certainly will spend time reflecting on his time spent in Ohio Stadium, his attention will quickly have to turn to the week ahead.
As the victory bell started to chime and the band began to play, Barrett, wearing a rain poncho and clutching the Illibuck, walked with the rest of his team in front of the Ohio Stadium student section to sing, “Carmen Ohio” one final time.