As the quarterback of The Ohio State University, junior signal-caller J.T. Barrett is used to playing in front of large crowds, whether they be in support of or against the Buckeyes.
And after two lopsided wins over Bowling Green State University and the University of Tulsa at Ohio Stadium, the third-ranked Buckeyes will take their show on the road for the first away game of the regular season against the University of Oklahoma at the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in a battle of top 10 teams tonight.
“It’ll be a great environment for college football,” Barrett said. “It’s going to be loud. I’ll do my best to be really loud, so next time you talk to me, I probably won’t have my voice.”
Although Barrett has plenty of live-game experience in front of big crowds, many of his teammates do not.
After the departure of more than a dozen players to the National Football League, the Buckeyes are extremely young at the skill positons and on the offensive line. However, Barrett wants his young teammates to focus on the task at hand rather than getting “caught up in the crowd.”
“We’re in somebody else’s house and we’re not welcome there,” Barrett said. “So you just need to stay in the moment and be focused on our task at hand, which is to play really good football. Pregame is for looking around and taking it all in. Once kickoff comes, you need to be focused on the game.”
Barrett emerged as a top quarterback in the Big Ten Conference as a redshirt freshman when he was thrust into the role of starter 10 days before the beginning of the season when Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller suffered a shoulder injury and guided the Buckeyes to an 10-1 record before suffering a broken ankle in a 42-28 win over Michigan in late November.
After the Buckeyes went on to win the College Football Playoff National Championship with Cardale Jones at quarterback, Barrett split time in the backfield at the start of the 2015 season before assuming the starting role midway through the year.
In two games this season, Barrett has completed 35 of his 53 attempts for 498 yards with six touchdowns against one interception. In his career, Barrett has thrown for 4,324 yards and 51 touchdown against 15 interceptions.
And Barrett plans on putting that experience to good use against the Sooners tonight.
“The game has slowed down so much for me since 2014,” Barrett said. “Even though as the year went on, I got a better understanding of the game. I can see everything so much more clearly than I did then. Sometimes, I would see something funky and look back towards the coaches for help. Now, I know what to do when we face certain fronts or pressures.
“I think we got a lot of good reps these two games and even back in training camp. We know that our practices are hard for a reason, so we can be prepared for the games we’ve already had and the ones coming up.”