Has any 3rd team Quarterback ever had a better season ending than Ohio State’s Cardale Jones in 2014?
The story is well known. Returning BuckeyeQuarterback Braxton Miller injured his shoulder going into the 2014 season. The Buckeyes had to find a Quarterback really fast and they promoted redshirt freshman JT Barrett to the starter’s spot.
After some early struggles including a loss to Virginia Tech, Barrett came on strong and led the Ohio State Buckeyes to the Big 10 East Championship and a spot in the Conference Championship game against Wisconsin.
However, Barrett was severely injured in their last regular season game, a win over arch-rival
Going into the regular season, Barrett beat out sophomore Cardale Jones to gain the starter’s role. Now, Jones was all the Buckeyes had left at the Quarterback position.
Cardale Jones was going to have to come through and not get injured, or Ohio State was going to be in trouble against Wisconsin.
Jones stepped up, and he stepped up hugely.
Jones didn’t have to do a lot against Wisconsin. Ohio State crushed them 59-0. But, Jones did complete 12 out of 17 passes for 257 yard and 3 Touchdowns.
The Buckeyes were so impressive that they passed TCU and Baylor to gain the last playoff spot at number 4.
The task that lay before them was daunting. The 4th ranked team has to take on the top ranked team and that was the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide led by the legendary Nick Saban.
Again, Cardale Jones came through big time throwing for 243 yards and a Touchdown in leading the Buckeyes to a shocking 42-35 win over the highly favored Crimson Tide.
Everyone had written off the Ohio State Buckeyes when Braxton Miller went down. They wrote them off again when the Buckeyes lost to Virginia Tech in their second game.
But, they fought back and made it into the first ever college football playoffs. Now, they were in the championship game against the Oregon Ducks who had beaten Florida State in their own game,
The Ducks, of Oregon, were Quarterbacked by Heisman winner Marcus Mariota and they were hot.
After being upset in their 5th game by Pac 12 champion Arizona, the Ducks got on a winning streak and beat everyone on their schedule to gain a rematch with Arizona’s Wildcats. In the 2nd game, Oregon absolutely pulverized Arizona, 51-13, to win the Pac 12.
In the Rose Bowl game against Florida State, the Ducks rolled again and that 39 point win was pretty impressive even if they were helped by the Seminoles playing poorly.
The first ever, much anticipated college football playoff was coming down to the Oregon Ducks versus the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Cardale Jones continued with his miraculous run, with another great game. He threw 23 passes and completed 16 of them for 242 yards and another Touchdown. The play that I will remember for the rest of my life was a scramble by Jones. At 6-5, 250, Jones is not a small guy. But, between him and the first down was Oregon Nose Guard Alex Balducci. The Oregon Nose Guard, Balducci is listed as 6-4, 310 and strong enough to take on the biggest Offensive Linemen. Cardale Jones took on Balducci straight up and ran right over him to gain the much needed first down.
In 3 games, Jones threw for 742 yards and 5 Touchdowns. But, mostly, he directed the Buckeyes to three straight huge wins for the national championship. He will always be a legend to Buckeye fans and fans of college football.
He was helped, of course, by great Offensive Line play and the heroic efforts of Running Back
The powerful and speedy Elliott ran for 696 yards in those same three games. This post could have just as easily been about Ezekiel Elliott except that he was a returning starter and not the 3rd string Running Back.
The Buckeye defense also played really well.
The 14-1 Ohio State Buckeyes of 2014 will always be the substance of legend.
But, Cardale Jones will always be larger than life.