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Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett presents USC with another dual-threat QB to solve

By in Press Enterprise on December 22, 2017

By Joey Kaufman

LOS ANGELES — The two worst defensive performances for USC this season carried one common thread.

The Trojans struggled against dual-threat quarterbacks.

In an October loss at Notre Dame, they allowed a season-high 49 points as Fighting Irish trigger man Brandon Wimbush threw for 120 yards and ran for 117 more. They defeated Arizona two weeks later, but surrendered 35 points, the second most, after dynamic signal caller Khalil Tate totaled 344 yards of offense (198 rushing).

That makes J.T. Barrett a considerable threat when the Trojans face Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29.

In 13 games this fall, the Buckeyes’ experienced senior threw for 2,928 yards and gained 743 yards on the ground, one of only two quarterbacks in major college football to total at least 2,900 passing yards and 700 rushing yards. The other? Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, last season’s Heisman Trophy winner, who eclipsed Barrett in passing yards (3,489) and rushing yards (1,443).

Barrett’s presence in the backfield evokes images of the Trojans chasing Tate across the Coliseum grass as recently as last month. Tate almost single-handedly erased a 22-point lead late in the third quarter.

“J.T.’s a little more structured,” outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu said, “but he can still make something out of nothing.”

Most of USC’s players acknowledged the similarities in production between Barrett and Tate, both athletic quarterbacks, but noted some stylistic differences.

Foremost, Tate preferred to run first, and he would keep running.

“He’s more of a running back mindset,” defensive end Christian Rector said. “He’s not looking to make another play down the field. With J.T, he’s more looking to get a first down, get out of bounds and slide. He’s not really looking to take the contact and bust through up the field.”

Part of that is because Barrett remains a more polished passer. Less eager to scramble, he […]    

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