Third-string Ohio State QB Cardale Jones tearing apart Wisconsin
The Buckeyes’ third-string quarterback might be the league’s third-best quarterback.
Through 20 minutes of Saturday night’s Big Ten Championship Game, Ohio State third-string quarterback Cardale Jones is shredding the Wisconsin Badgers. Jones has led Ohio State to five scores in the Buckeyes’ first six possessions, and OSU has built a 31-0 lead in the second quarter.
The Buckeyes lost the two-time Big Ten Player of the Year Braxton Miller during the preseason and handed the offense to freshman J.T. Barrett. After some initial mistakes, Barrett became one of the nation’s best quarterbacks. He was considered a dark horse Heisman candidate before breaking his ankle last week against Michigan. With both of its top two quarterbacks gone, Ohio State turned to Jones and hoped he would be serviceable.
Instead, Jones has been spectacular. The sophomore signalcaller is 7/9 passing for 165 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with wideout Devin Smith on a 39-yard touchdown pass in the game’s first series, then hit Jones with a 44-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter.
Entering Saturday night, Jones had completed 10 of 17 pass attempts this season for 118 yards. He’s more than doubled that yardage total already.
Jones has certainly had some help. Halfback Ezekiel Elliott has ran for 138 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Ohio State’s defense has shut down Wisconsin’s potent offense, limiting Melvin Gordon to 51 yards on 11 carries and forcing Joel Stave into a crucial interception.
Ohio State is trying to break into the College Football Playoff, and the style points from this hammering of Wisconsin certainly won’t hurt their case. Any question as to whether the Buckeyes would be crippled without injured quarterback J.T. Barrett should be answered now, though.