BALTIMORE –– When a college freshman prepares for his or her first exam, it can sometimes be intimidating.
Ohio State redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett received a passing grade from coach Urban Meyer Saturday, as the Buckeyes defeated the Navy Midshipmen 34-17 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
“J.T. I thought did okay…grade him a ‘B,’” Meyer said after the game. “We will evaluate the film. Every new player is going to have a certain amount of mistakes.”
Barrett, who finished the game 12 of 15 for 226 yards with two scores and an interception, said he was disappointed in himself following a first half interception in the red zone, but believed he bounced back well.
“After the interception I was like: ‘J.T., you know you shouldn’t have threw it, and you still threw it, and now you got to make up for it,’” Barrett said. “I just tried to settle down and be smart with the ball.”
Meyer said because Barrett was playing in his first game, he had to treat him a little differently than he would a veteran after a turnover.
“I counted to 10 backwards a couple of times and I didn’t say what I would normally say to a quarterback who does that,” Meyer said. “But his demeanor was great and he is a great kid who will keep getting better and better and better.”
The interception by Navy senior safety Parrish Gaines with 7:29 left in the second quarter ended the Buckeyes most promising drive up to that point, and they eventually entered the locker room at halftime down, 7-6.
It was the first time the Buckeyes were held without a first half touchdown since 2011, when they led Illinois 3-0 at the break.
Barrett responded in the second half, however, as he completed the rest of his four pass attempts for the game –– including an 80-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Devin Smith.
The score was the longest play of the game for either team and something Barrett said got the offense flowing.
“I was just trying not to miss him — he was so open,” Barrett said. “They bit so hard on the play action…he made a great catch and just ran away from them.”
Gaines said after the game that the big play to Smith is not something he will soon forget.
“They (OSU) were giving us run, run, run, run and they caught us sleeping in the secondary,” Gaines said. “Ultimately, a big play will always kill you. I’m going to be thinking about that play when I go to sleep tonight. When one person gets beat, everyone gets beat.”
The Buckeyes never trailed following the Smith score.
Barrett also connected with redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Michael Thomas on a nine-yard touchdown pass with just over two minutes left in the game, which sealed the Buckeye victory.
OSU quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Tom Herman said he was satisfied with how Barrett performed in his first start as a Buckeye.
“He maybe got some happy feet at times which is to be expected,” Herman said. “The positives were he managed the game, he had an unbelievable presence on the sideline, he was accurate…I come away with it very pleased.”
Herman said that, while Barrett may not be able to make the plays that injured senior quarterback Braxton Miller could make, he is confident the youngster can still make things happen.
“He can certainly make something out of nothing,” Herman said. “There’s a lot of things that he does that allows us to stay on track, too, which is a positive.”
Those positives, which resulted in 276 total yards of offense by Barrett, are better than the debut starts made by Miller (166 against Colorado in 2011) and former OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor (205 against Troy in 2008).
Barrett said that while he enjoyed the experience, he is happy his first game is out of the way.
“We are going to enjoy this win. Definitely there is a little relief as far as myself getting the first win out of the way,” Barrett said. “It was definitely a good team win. The defense did their job (and) helped the offense out a whole bunch.”
The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to action against the Virginia Tech Hokies on Sept. 6 at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.