Cleveland Connection: Cardale Jones to Lead Buckeyes in Big Ten Title Game

 

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Celebrating Saturday’s win over Michigan

Ohio State loghAs The Ohio State Football team prepares to take on Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game this Saturday in Indianapolis, lots of attention has been directed to quarterback Cardale Jones.

He is the redshirt sophomore quarterback who will step up now that starting QB J.T. Barrett has been sidelined with a broken ankle in last Saturday’s win over Michigan.

Jones is well-remembered by Cleveland areas fans for leading Glenville High to the OHSAA Div. I state title game in 2009.

Jones led Glenville to a 24-3 record as a starting quarterback in his time under renowned coach Ted Ginn. He passed for 1,689 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior in 2011, and was named third-team Division I all-state by the Associated Press.

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Darron Lee returns a fumble for a score against Michigan.

Jones is one of six Cleveland Glenville Tarblooders on the Buckeye roster this season (junior linebacker Devan Bogard, freshman lineman Marcelys Jones, freshman cornerback Marshon Lattimore, freshman safety Erick Smith and redshirt freshman linebacker Chris Worley are the others).

Coming off last weekend’s win over Michigan, the Buckeyes are facing a couple special challenges in addition to those posed by Big Ten Western Division champ Wisconsin.

Coach Urban Meyer said at this week’s press conference that the death of player Kosta Karageorge and the loss of Barrett are challenges the team is meeting with courage.

“We believe in an extremely close team, an extremely close team that leans on each other in tough times,” said Meyer.

Meyer added that Jones, when he was in the running for the starting QB spot in the spring, got valuable experience taking snaps with the first unit.

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J.T. Barrett scores against Michigan

“Cardale, it’s going to be his first start,” said Meyer of the Wisconsin challenge. “Obviously a really good environment against a very tough defense. But it’s not like he’s not taking snaps with the one offense.”

Players acknowledge the challenge of losing Barrett. But they are confident that Jones can step in and step up for the big game.

“It’s honestly going to be a transition because we weren’t expecting that change. It’s just the next man in,” said offensive line leader Taylor Decker. “We have to prepare him and rally around him just like we did with J.T. earlier. Cardale has all the talent in the world and I know the coaches will have him prepared for a good game.”

“I trust our coaches. Cardale knows the system and the routine,” said freshman linebacker Darron Lee. “Trust me, he’s matured as much as J.T. has. J.T. has been a warrior for us all year, but I trust the coaches to put Cardale in the best position to help us win football games.”

“I don’t think any one player makes a whole team,” added senior tight end Jeff Heuerman. “We have an outstanding defense and a lot of talented guys on this offense. We’re going to have to turn it up a notch and prepare even harder.”

Kickoff is at 8:17 p.m. Saturday on Fox.

SEEKING 35TH BIG TEN CROWN

Ohio State will be seeking to win its 35th Big Ten Conference championship on Saturday. Ohio State ranks second (University of Michigan; 42) in number of Big Ten crowns with the last championship coming in 2009 to cap a Big Ten-record tying six consecutive championships for the Buckeyes.

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