Urban Meyer is growing quite accustomed to dodging the simple question of who should start at quarterback for Ohio State, and things took an interesting turn at a news conference Monday, as the defending national champions prepare to face Rutgers this week.
"I think so," Meyer said when asked if he knew who would start at QB against the Scarlet Knights, per Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch.
If Meyer is basing his decision at all on the performances of season-long starter Cardale Jones and backup J.T. Barrett in a 38-10 win over Penn State on Saturday, Barrett's turn to start has probably arrived. Jones, who has started slowly in several games this year, led the OSU offense to three consecutive punts to open the game. Barrett took over for Jones midway through the Buckeyes' fourth possession, and capped the drive with OSU's first points on a 5-yard touchdown run. Barrett completed 4 of 4 passes for two touchdowns in the game, and rushed for 102 yards on 11 carries. Jones didn't exactly play poorly, completing 9 of 15 passes for 84 yards and no turnovers, but the bottom line for Ohio State is that Barrett produced the points.
Meyer stopped short of saying a change is coming -- he said he had yet to sit down with the quarterbacks and wouldn't make an announcement before doing so -- but gave Barrett due praise for his play against the Nittany Lions.
Ohio State (7-0) has more than enough defense to beat lesser opponents without stellar play from the quarterback position. Rutgers, certainly, qualifies as a lesser opponent. But with Michigan State and Michigan still ahead on the OSU schedule, the Buckeyes might need a dominant quarterbacking performance or two to stay unbeaten and in contention for a second consecutive national title.
And Meyer is running out of weeks to figure out who can best deliver one.