Cardale Jones: A Man With Many Expectations

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What can we expect of Cardale Jones in the Big Ten Championship this Saturday? This is the million dollar question on everyone’s minds.

Really it depends on who you ask. Urban Meyer says he believes in his quarterback and expects him to perform quite well in the game. If you ask the media, they expect a make or break performance. Just tune into ESPN or FOX when they’re discussing the Buckeyes and you’re bound to hear them discuss how Cardale’s performance will determine whether the Buckeyes make the playoffs or not. If you ask Buckeye detractors and really most college football fans, they expect Jones to have a bad game and cause the Buckeyes to lose. If you ask Buckeye fans, you could get any answer. Some have full confidence, while others have already given up on the season (way to be a true fan).

So what do I expect out of Cardale Jones this Saturday? Well let’s go over the facts. He’s a redshirt sophomore from Cleveland, Ohio. He’s listed at 6’5″ and 250 pounds. Jones saw little playing time in 2013, as he went one of two passing for three yards and rushed for 128 yards and one touchdown. With starting quarterback Braxton Miller going down with an injury in August, Cardale competed with J.T. Barrett for the starting job and narrowly lost the quarterback battle. Jones has been the backup for Barrett all season and has seen some playing time. Currently this season he’s 10 of 17 passing for 118 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Jones has also rushed 26 times for 206 yards.

This Saturday will be the first ever start for Jones in college football. Based on the facts I just laid out, this seems like a pretty daunting task for the young quarterback. Really on paper it seems like an impossible task for Jones to replace Barrett and match his production. That’s because it is impossible. But guess what? Jones doesn’t have to replace Barrett and match his production. If you’ve watched Ohio State football this season, while J.T. Barrett was a big part of it, the offense has been more than one player. As they say it takes a team to win.

You shouldn’t expect Cardale Jones to put up great numbers. If he does, that’s great. But you know what Jones’ main job will be on Saturday? Win the game. It’s that simple. Jones won’t be expected to make all of the big plays because he has several dynamic offensive weapons around him in Ezekiel Elliott, Jalin Marshall and Curtis Samuel. Those are just his running backs/h-backs. He also had wide receivers Michael Thomas, Devin Smith, Corey Smith, Jeff Heuermann and Nick Vanett. Yes J.T. Barrett is talented, but he didn’t put those big numbers up on his own. He’s had a pretty good supporting cast around him and Urban Meyer’s system to thank too.

The talking heads can speculate all they want about the Buckeyes’ playoff chances being affected by Cardale Jones. It’s their job to sit around and deliver hot takes to entertain the masses. I’m not saying the injury to Barrett is affecting the playoff chances of the Buckeyes. I’m sure it is, but the Buckeyes can’t worry about. Their job is to go out, execute the game plan and win the game. That’s all they can do. What a novel concept! Win the game and then see what happens. Style points are bullshit. It’s just a term the media loves to use in one of their debate segments. At the end of the day, getting the win is what matters and I think Urban Meyer will be drilling this into the players’ heads all week.

So what can we expect of Cardale Jones in the Big Ten Championship against Wisconsin? You can expect him to try to win the game. (And maybe hurdle someone)

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