It wasn’t the start either J.T. Barrett or Ohio State hoped to have, but, suffice to say, the redshirt junior found a way to very loudly bounce back.
The quarterback’s second pass of the season was intercepted by Bowling Green’s Brandon Harris and returned 63 yards for a touchdown to give the Falcons an early 7-0 lead in Columbus. After that, and with the exception of another pass that should’ve been picked and could’ve been another Pick Six, it was all Barrett.
Barrett, who inexplicably lost his starting job to Cardale Jones last season before rightfully regaining it, tossed four first-half touchdown passes in helping to lead the Buckeyes to a 35-7 halftime lead over the MAC school. All four of those touchdowns went to four different receivers, and it marked the fifth four-touchdown game of his career. That breaks the school record previously held by Troy Smith.
Barrett also added a late touchdown run to push the lead out to four touchdowns.
In addition to the touchdowns, Barrett also passed for 244 yards in completing 66 percent of his 21 pass attempts. Barrett also added 30 yards on six carries for good measure as well.
Mike Weber, making his first career star, led both teams with 84 yards on the ground. All-purpose back Curtis Samuel led the team with 94 receiving yards, while also adding 67 yards on the ground
It wasn’t just the offense and its 456 yards as the defense held the Falcons’ potent attack to just 166 total yards while also producing one highlight turnover.
It wasn’t all puppy dogs and rainbows for the Buckeyes, unfortunately, as starting defensive lineman Tracy Sprinkle went down with a right knee injury in the first quarter of the contest. Sprinkle has already been ruled out for the remainder of the game, and the tackle could be sidelined for an extended period of time.
Ohio running back Maleek Irons was arrested over the weekend for his role in fleeing a possible drunk driving accident.
The Athens News reports Irons was arrested Saturday morning by police responding to a call about “an intoxicated male driving a vehicle, colliding with other vehicles, and fleeing the scene.” The vehicles connected to the call was found off the road at 3:39 a.m. When police discovered the car, Irons got out of the car and started to run tow a dorm on Ohio’s campus, failing to stop when commanded by the officer.
Irons has been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, resisting arrest and obstructing official business. He was released on bond and has a court appointment scheduled for Tuesday morning. There has been no statement from Ohio on his status with the program, although an indefinite suspension of some sort may be expected as is usually the case when an issue like this arises.
With Irons finding himself in some legal hot water, that means The Fulmer cup season is officially underway.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban may be the most powerful person within the Alabama sports department, but even he has a boss. Now, he will have a new boss.
Alabama Director of Athletics Bill Battle is stepping down into retirement from his current position, although he will remain active in the university as a special assistant to university president Stuart Bell. Battle has been fighting through health issues and completed treatment for cancer last summer. His vacant spot in the athletics department will be filled by Arizona Athletics Director Greg Byrne. A formal announcement has not been made as of yet, but multiple reports have confirmed the pending Byrne hiring. (UPDATE: Alabama has since formally announced the hiring of Byrne)
”Bill has done a tremendous job as director of athletics, and has accomplished so much during his career,” Bell said, according to the Associated Press. ”His business expertise, coupled with his coaching experience and his strong understanding of the role an athletic department has in the daily fabric of a university, has allowed us to achieve the great successes we have enjoyed during his tenure. We are blessed to have the continued benefit of his counsel.”
The hiring of Byrne takes Alabama outside its own foundation to bring in an outsider to lead the sports department. Byrne is an Idaho native who has worked in an administrative role in two SEC schools, so he will be familiar with the landscape the conference has to offer. Byrne was the athletics director of Mississippi State from 2008 through 2010 before moving to Arizona for the past six years. At Mississippi State, Byrne hired football coach Dan Mullen. Byrne also held an associate AD role at Kentucky, where he directed development and fundraising efforts for the Wildcats.
It’s not yet Signing Day, but Notre Dame has already secured a major commitment for what Brian Kelly hopes is a major bounce-back 2017 season.
Offensive lineman Quenton Nelson announced Sunday he is returning for his senior season. “Excited for this team to grow every day this offseason by putting in nothing but hard work and grinding together. When we reach our full potential, look out,” Nelson wrote in an Instagram post. “I’m right behind you Coach.”
Nelson, who hails from “Westeros, GOT,” according to his Twitter bio, is a two-year starter at guard for the Irish. Notre Dame finished tied for 62nd nationally in yards per carry this season, but ranked eighth in that same metric a year ago en route to earning a finalist not for the inaugural Joe Moore Award — given to the nation’s best offensive line unit — and a Fiesta Bowl appearance.
Former California head coach Sonny Dykes is set to join TCU’s staff in a to-be-determined role, multiple outlets reported Sunday evening. Jeremy Clark of TCU’s 247 site broke the news.
Dykes, of course, was the head coach of the Golden Bears through last Sunday, when the school abruptly fired him. He was 19-30 in four seasons with Cal.
With Doug Meacham off to Kansas and Sonny Cumbie running the show for the Horned Frogs’ offense, Dykes is a natural fit to slide in and assist Cumbie. Dykes was an offensive assistant of Mike Leach at Texas Tech from 2000-06, and Cumbie played for the Red Raiders as a quarterback from 2000-04. Sharing the same first name can’t hurt, either.