Cardale Jones

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The last time the Ohio State Buckeyes won the national championship…

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Two weeks into the 2014 season, some declared the Big Ten officially eliminated from the College Football Playoff in the first year of the new format’s existence. a little more than three months later, Ohio State made all of those early-season critics look completely silly.

The days of the BCS were officially done and a new four-team playoff format was being introduced in the 2014 season. With a focus on results on the field to impress the selection committee now the emphasis for determining what merits a shot at a national championship, Ohio State took the biggest loss of the playoff format in Week 2 of the college football season. Fresh off a 17-point victory over Navy in Baltimore to open the season, Urban Meyer and the No. 8 Buckeyes were handed one of the more surprising losses when unranked Virginia Tech left Columbus with a 35-21 victory. To complicate things more, Ohio State lost starting quarterback Braxton Miller to a season-ending injury, forcing Ohio State to go with backup quarterback J.T. Barrett. On the same day that saw other potential Big Ten playoff candidates go down (Michigan lost to Notre Dame, Michigan State lost to Oregon), the Big Ten became an easy target for many.

The playoff era was brand new and we had some ideas of how it should work, but nobody two weeks into the regular season should have been taking the plunge off the short plank suggesting the entire conference was ruled out of the playoff race with more than two months of games still to play. So Ohio State kept playing.

A 66-0 victory over Kent State the following week was enough to regain some confidence against a weak opponent, but Virginia Tech jumping up to No. 17 in the polls and then immediately losing at home to East Carolina didn’t do much to change anyone’s opinion. Ohio State may be the best team in the Big Ten, but they are still not good enough for a playoff hunt, some suggested. But the Buckeyes rolled on with blowouts of Cincinnati, new Big Ten members Maryland and Rutgers before heading to Happy Valley for a matchup with the Nittany Lions. Ohio State took an early 7-0 lead on a 10-=yard touchdown run by Ezekiel Elliott and extended the lead to 17-0 going to halftime, but the Whiteout crowd at Penn State kept the energy up as the underdog Nittany Lions drew even at 17-17 in the final seconds of the fourth quarter to force overtime. After Penn State took the lead in the first overtime, J.T. Barrett forced a second overtime with a five-yard touchdown run and gave the Buckeyes the lead with another four-yard run in the second overtime. Joey Bosa sealed the win for Ohio State by pushing a helpless Penn State running back backward and into quarterback Christian Hackenberg for a game-clinching sack. Meyer would later credit the double-overtime victory in Beaver Stadium as the catalyst for Ohio State’s championship push.

Ohio State took care of business against Illinois and won a high-scoring matchup at No. 7 Michigan State to drive right back into control of the Big Ten race. Victories over Indiana and Michigan to close the regular season moved Ohio State to 11-1, but an injury to Barrett in the win over the Wolverines left Ohio State to rely on third-string quarterback Cardale Jones. That wasn’t a problem in a 59-0 Big Ten championship game victory over No. 11 Wisconsin, which helped cement Ohio State as the fourth team in the inaugural College Football Playoff, critics be damned.

Now that Ohio State got one foot in the playoff door, it was time to prove they deserved to be there. Taking down No. 1 Alabama, the prohibitive favorite in the 2014 season, in the Sugar Bowl was all too perfect for the Buckeyes to make some noise. Elliott’s long touchdown run against the Tide will forever be the signature moment of Ohio State’s championship drive.

But much like when Team USA took down the Soviets in the 1980 Olympics, the mission was not yet complete until Ohio State won one more game. After Alabama, Ohio State had to go up against Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariotta and Pac-12 champion Oregon in the national championship game in Arlington, Texas. But as the final score would indicate (42-20), that was hardly a problem. Ohio State gave up an early touchdown to Mariotta and the Ducks but answered with a long touchdown run by Elliott and a Jones touchdown pass. Ohio State took a 21-7 lead and scored the game’s final 21 points to pull away. Elliott scored on the ground each of those three times.

The first year of the College Football Playoff was historic, and it remains the last time a team from the Big Ten won a playoff game. It may not seem all that long ago, but a lot has happened since the last time the Buckeyes won it all.

Last National Championship: 2014 (4 years and counting)

Who was President?

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, was in the White House at the time. It was the second year of his second term in the Oval Office.

Our current president, Donald J. Trump, wasn’t running for the presidency just yet, although some were trying to push him to run for the governor’s office in New York.

What was on TV?

2014 was a pretty significant year in the late-night television scene. Jay Leno stepped down as host of “The Tonight Show,” this time for good. As Leno stepped down, Jimmy Fallon was given the responsibility of hosting “The Tonight Show” on NBC. With Fallon being bumped into the first late-night time slot, Seth Meyers is made the new host of “Late Night.”

The NFL continued to dominate the ratings department, with NBC’s Sunday Night Football being the top-rated television program of 2014. “The Big Bang Theory” held a firm grip on the top spot when it came to sitcoms, and “Empire” and “Scandal” were among the top dramas in the game not part of the “NCIS” franchise.

What movies were hot?

2014 saw the superhero genre in a pretty good spot in 20124. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was a bit of a surprise hit at the box office and Captain America: The Winter Soldier was on its way to being one of the top movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

X-Men: Days of Future Past turned out to be the last good X-Men film too. But this was also the year The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was released, and that was anything but amazing.

But the top movies of 2014 at the box office were American Sniper and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. And The LEGO Movie made sure everything was awesome.

Who was on the cover of NCAA Football?

Sadly, nobody.

The 2014 season was the first season that did not see a release in the NCAA Football video game franchise due to legal issues related to player likenesses. Despite the efforts from EA Sports to provide some form of compensation to players, the NCAA and FBS conferences started pulling their licenses from the game franchise and the game had no more legs to stand on for the 2014 season.

As it stands, the last player to appear on the game before Ohio State won a national championship remains former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.

What else happened in 2014?

In addition to the Big Ten, SEc, and Pac-12 champions being in the inaugural College Football Playoff, the ACC landed a team in the mix as well with the defending national champions from Florida State joining the party. Jameis Winston and the Noles were 13-0 coming into the playoff but were eliminated from the playoff in a 59-20 setback against the Ducks in the Rose Bowl.

Other conference champions form 2014 included Baylor and TCU splitting the Big 12 title, which added fuel to the debate over whether Ohio State should have been in the playoff or if the Big 12 should have had one of its co-champs in the field. TCU’s Gary Patterson swept the major coach of the year awards.

UCF, Cincinnati and Memphis split the AAC championship, while Boise State won the Mountain West and Marshall took Conference USA. NIU won the MAC and Georgia Southern won the Sun Belt in their first season in the conference and as an FBS school.

Former USC head coach Pete Carroll and former Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson lead the Seattle seahawks to a blowout victory over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos to capture the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory.

The Golden State Warriors won their first NBA title since 1975 with Steph Curry leading the way past LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first NBA Finals matchup. This marked the first of five consecutive NBA Finals appearances for the Warriors, including this past season’s loss to the Toronto Raptors.

The San Francisco Giants topped the Kansas City Royals in seven games to win the World Series, making Madison Bumgarner a playoff hero as the World Series MVP.

The Chicago Blackhawks won their second Stanley Cup in three years with a Stanley Cup Finals victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The wrestling community mourned the loss of James Hellwig, better known to many as The Ultimate Warrior. He died of a heart attack one day after appearing on WWE Raw.

Ohio State and the case of bad losses

Ohio State’s biggest hurdle to getting back to the College Football Playoff has typically been their inability to avoid a bad loss. The 2015 season saw Ohio State as the best team in the Big Ten, but a last-second loss on a field goal by Michigan State at home ended up being too much to overcome to get a crack at back-to-back national titles to begin the playoff era. The 12-1 Buckeyes ended their season ranked fourth in the final AP poll after blowing out No. 8 Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Meanwhile, the Spartans reached the playoff and were shutout by Alabama, 38-0. Ohio State had been in the top two of the AP poll all season long until their defensive battle loss to Michigan State.

The losses would become a bit more ugly in the eyes of the committee in the coming years. A blocked field goal returned for a touchdown by Penn State in 2016 took the Big Ten title race for a detour. No. 2 Ohio State slipped in the polls and lost out on a tiebreaker to the Nittany Lions for a chance to play for the Big Ten title. Despite Penn State eventually winning the Big Ten, Ohio State still managed to get invited to the playoff, where the Buckeyes were blanked by Clemson, 31-0.

Despite winning the Big Ten championship each of the past two seasons, the bad losses in the regular season proved to be too much to overcome. A 55-24 loss at Iowa a week after stunning No. 2 Penn State left the Buckeyes on the outside looking in on the playoff action in 2017. Last season, a 49-20 loss at unranked Purdue was enough of a landmine to keep Ohio State out in a year that saw undefeated Clemson, Alabama, and Notre Dame all in the playoff. The Buckeyes lost out on the final spot to Big 12 champion Oklahoma last season.

Entering 2019, Ohio State is undergoing some change with a new head coach in Ryan Day and a new starting quarterback in Justin Fields. One thing that remains consistent in spite of roster turnover on the starting lineup is the quality of talent to be found in Columbus. Player for player, Ohio State still boasts the most talented roster across the depth chart among Big Ten teams and should be a strong contender for the Big Ten title and a spot in the playoff this fall and in the years to come. If they can just avoid those pesky upset losses on the road, perhaps Ohio State will bring an end to their brief championship drought soon enough.

Championship Buckeye QBs attend Texas spring practice

AP Photo/Jay LaPrete
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Texas head coach Tom Herman was instrumental in the development of former Ohio State quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones so much that it helped catapult him into a head coach position at Houston, followed by his current position with the Longhorns. So it was only natural that Herman would invite two of his former quarterback that helped establish him as a quarterback whisperer to Austin to check out spring practice with the Longhorns.

Obviously, this is a major moment for Texas to capitalize on as two former Ohio State quarterbacks with a national championship ring are speaking out in support of Herman, who is coming off a season that saw Texas play for the Big 12 championship and end with a victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. The iron is hot, as they say, for Texas and the chance to get two players from another program, and another conference, boost up the head coach of the program is a solid marketing tool that will surely be used in the recruiting process.

It’s worth noting too that both Jones and Barrett played under Tim Beck at Ohio State. Beck was an offensive coordinator at Ohio State from 2015 to 2016, when he succeeded Herman in the role after Herman left the Buckeyes to become the head coach at Houston after Ohio State’s run to the inaugural College Football Playoff national championship. Barrett had been the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes after Braxton Miller was injured in the preseason. When Barrett suffered a season-ending injury in the regular season finale against Michigan, Jones stepped in to lead the offense to a Big Ten championship game rout of Wisconsin and then to victories over Alabama and Oregon in the playoff. Herman was key in keeping the offense clicking in spite of the quarterback injury concerns that fell on Ohio State in what could have easily been a lost season in Columbus.

Barrett is currently in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints. Jones is currently a member of the Los Angeles Chargers.

Tom Herman reflects on relationship with Cardale Jones in interview

Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images
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Texas head coach Tom Herman and former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones may forever be tied together thanks to Ohio State’s run to a national championship in the 2014 season, the first year of the College Football Playoff. Herman, as a quarterback coach for the Buckeyes at the time, was a big influence on Jones, who had stepped in for an injured J.T. Barrett at the end of the season and the postseason run. Now, Herman is carving time out of his schedule as the Longhorns head coach to return to Columbus in a show of support for Jones.

As reported by Bruce Feldman of FOXSports.com, Herman turned down an invitation to join Migos and Chance the Rapper at a concert in Austin so he could be there for the graduation ceremony for Jones.

“They told me Migos and Chance the Rapper were gonna be here (in Austin) on Sunday, the seventh and wanted to meet me,” Herman said to Feldman. “I said ‘No, I’m gonna be in Columbus.”

That should be a good testament for how much the relationship the each and player have to this day. It turns out, as Herman explained to Feldman in the interview, Herman was a big reason why Jones was able to stick with the Buckeyes as long as he did.

“[Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer] wanted to kick him out of the program multiple times. It fell on me and Michelle, and so to see him get where he has got and mature the way that he has matured,” Herman explained. “Wow. It’s what we always talked about. You don’t have to be stuffy and buttoned-up to know when to say what and keep your mouth shut.”

If Herman is responsible for keeping Jones in check, then maybe Herman deserves a little more credit for Ohio State’s run to the College Football Playoff national championship than suspected.

Ohio State’s Cardale Jones will pay respects to Paris on his cleats

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The terror attacks in Paris yesterday have many here in the United States paying their respects on this college football Saturday. Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones shared an image on his Twitter account this morning showing his helmet and cleats. The cleats have the peace symbol with the Eiffel Tower in it that has been going viral in the past 24 hours.

According to NBC News, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks throughout Paris yesterday, including one outside Stade de France as France was taking on Germany in an international soccer competition. The death toll has been reported to rise to 127 dead and 200 more wounded. French president Francoise Hollande has vowed a “merciless” response and the nation is currently in a state of emergency with 1,500 troops deployed throughout the country.

As you surely know by now, those attending college football games today should be prepared for some heightened security measures as a result of the terror attacks abroad to our nation’s oldest ally. There are no known threats of course, but sporting events have always been the types of events security forces in this country take extra care to protect, even more so in the wake of other terror attacks both home and abroad.

Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett has driver’s license suspended

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After serving a one-game suspension for the Ohio State Buckeyes, quarterback J.T. Barrett is now facing a different kind of suspension. A Franklin County judge has suspended Barrett’s license to drive for 180 days. Barrett was also fined $400 and ordered to complete a three-day alcohol education program. The sentence comes after Barrett was found guilty of misdemeanor counts of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol two weeks ago, during Ohio State’s bye week.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, Barrett agreed to take a breathalyzer test after being stopped by police the morning of October 31 at a sobriety checkpoint. Barrett’s BAC was 0.99 percent. The legal limit in Ohio is 0.08 percent. Of course, Barrett is also underage at just 20 years of age, so the legal limit for Barrett is actually 0.00. Drivers under 21 years of age in Ohio may be cited for anything over 0.02 percent, but police did not charge Barrett for that.

Barrett was suspended last weekend for Ohio State’s game against Minnesota. Head coach Urban Meyer said Barrett will return to the starting role this week against Illinois, assuming he has a good week of practice. Cardale Jones started in place of the suspended Barrett last week. In addition to serving a one-game suspension, Barrett will also forfeit financial aid over the summer.