Ohio State coach Urban Meyer named Cardale Jones the team's starting quarterback for Saturday's home game against Western Michigan, ending days of speculation about whether the fourth-year junior had lost the role to J.T. Barrett.
"Cardale is going to start," Meyer said Wednesday, according to The Columbus Dispatch. "It's like any position, if someone replaces you they've got to beat you out."
Jones began the season as the starter and played effectively in an opening win over Virginia Tech. Against Northern Illinois on Saturday, however, Meyer turned to Barrett to replace a struggling Jones, who completed 4 of 9 passes with a pair of interceptions that Meyer later described, along with one by Barrett as "inexcusable."
Barrett wasn't especially effective in a 20-13 win over the Huskies, either, completing 11 of 19 passes for only 97 yards. An interception return for a late touchdown by linebacker Darron Lee was necessary to snuff the chance of a historic upset. Jones won a heavily anticipated quarterback battle over Barrett in the preseason, with both having staked a strong claim to the job during the Buckeyes' 2014 national championship season.
Jones considered leaving OSU for the NFL after only three career starts after last season, but opted to return for at least one more year. As a fourth-year junior, he has another season of NCAA eligibility in 2016 if he chooses to stay in college once again.