The past two weeks, Cardale Jones‘ performances have left the door wide open for questions concerning his hold on the starting quarterback job at Ohio State. Urban Meyer gave the redshirt junior a vote of confidence earlier week by solidifying his status as the starter, and Saturday the Ohio native returned the favor.
While the team as a whole is still a bit ragged around the edges, Jones’ arm has been enough for the moment as he’s helped lead OSU to a 24-6 halftime lead on Western Michigan. WMU has shot itself in the foot on a couple of occasions — missed field goal, blocked field, very ill-timed penalties — but Jones, and yet another play by an opportunistic defense, has keyed the double-digit first-half lead.
Through two quarters, Jones has completed 13-of-20 passes for 226 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. While those numbers aren’t exactly other-worldly, they’re a fair piece away from where he’s been the last two games: 16-of-27, 147 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. In each of the last two games; Jones has been benched in favor of J.T. Barrett; through 30 minutes of play, Barrett hasn’t taken off his headset in favor of a helmet.
Early on, the Buckeyes needed Jones’ productivity as they were giving up yards in bunches to the Broncos’ offense. The Silver Bullets, though, shook off their doldrums and added to the points on the scoreboard, with defensive lineman Adolphus Washington intercepting a pass and returning it 20 yards for a 24-6 lead. Washington’s pick-six was the third defensive touchdown scored by the Buckeyes this season.
Ohio State will get the ball back to open play in the second half.