COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State freshman J.T. Barrett, a Heisman Trophy contender, broke his right ankle in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s rivalry game against Michigan and will not play for the Buckeyes in next week’s Big Ten championship game or a bowl.
Barrett will undergo surgery on Sunday, a team spokesman said.
“Yeah, he’s for sure out,” coach Urban Meyer said after No. 7 Ohio State capped off a 42-28 victory over Michigan. He was on his way to talk to doctors.
Barrett had taken over the job in August when three-year starter and two-time Big Ten MVP Braxton Miller was lost for the season after shoulder surgery.
Barrett’s leg twisted underneath him when he was tackled on the first play of the fourth quarter with Ohio State holding on to a 28-21 lead.
Barrett carried on second and 1 at the Ohio State 33 with 14:45 left in the fourth quarter. He lay on the field for several minutes before his right leg was put into a temporary air cast and he was lifted onto a cart.
Tight end Jeff Heuerman said he was one of the first players to get to Barrett.
“I heard him yell and I ran over to help him up,” he said. “When I went over I saw his ankle and it wasn’t pretty. I just told him, ‘Stay down, stay down.’ It kind of hit me, ‘Oh man.'”
Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner came to his side and spoke to him before he was taken off the field, as did several Ohio State teammates.
“It’s like having a little brother get hurt,” Gardner said. “I didn’t like to see that at all.”
He expressed respect for how “humbly” Barrett had been since he had grown into a start since taking over for Miller.
Before he was injured Barrett ran for two touchdowns and passed for another. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 176 yards, and also ran 15 times for 89 yards.
Darron Lee, who ran back a fumble for a touchdown in the waning moments, said he was greatly affected by Barrett’s injury.
“J.T.’s been a warrior for us all year,” Lee said. “With all the scrutiny he’s been under since the loss to (Virginia Tech), for him to rebound the way he did and for him to lead our offense it’s been huge. Next man up when it comes to quarterbacks.”
Cardale Jones is that next man, a seldom-used sophomore who will take Barrett’s place.
Meyer said Jones would have to assume the reins when the East Division champion Buckeyes play at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis against the West winner, either Wisconsin or Minnesota.
“The good thing is, he’s going to get a lot of reps,” Meyer said of Jones.
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