Ohio State linebacker Curtis Grant (14) celebrates with teammates after tackling Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, bottom right, and forcing Navy to punt.
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BALTIMORE — Freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett and Ohio State rallied late to help lift the fifth-ranked Buckeyes to a 34-17 victory over Navy in today's season opener at M&T Bank Stadium.
Trailing 7-6 after an ugly first half, OSU scored four times after intermission.
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In order, linebacker Darron Lee returned a fumble 61 yards for the touchdown, Barrett threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith, running back Ezekiel Elliott ran for a 10-yard score, and Barrett connected with Michael Thomas for a 9-yard TD.
Barrett, a redshirt freshman who was thrust into the starting role after star Braxton Miller suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, had a mixed debut. Barrett struggled in the first half — his missteps including a mindless interception in the red zone — but rallied late. In all, he completed 12 of 15 passes for 226 yards and two TDs.
BALTIMORE — Ohio State leads Navy 20-14 after a third quarter filled with wild swings.
The fifth-ranked Buckeyes appeared to swipe momentum early in the half when defensive end Joey Bosa sabotaged an option pitch and Darron Lee returned a fumble 61 yards for the touchdown. OSU went ahead 13-7.
Yet on Navy’s next play from scrimmage, Ryan Williams-Jenkins gashed OSU for a 67-yard run and quarterback Keenan Reynolds soon punched it in for a one-yard touchdown to push the Midshipmen back ahead 14-13.
Ohio State then answered with an 80-yard touchdown pass from redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett to Devin Smith.
Ohio State trails Navy 7-6 at halftime of today's season opener as its offense continued to labor under redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett.
In his first start in place of injured star Braxton Miller, Barrett completed 8 of 11 passes for 96 yards and an interception.
Navy went ahead early in the second quarter on a one-yard touchdown run by DeBrandon Sanders.
Fifth-ranked Ohio State leads Navy 3-0 after the first quarter of today's season opener at M&T Bank Stadium.
Redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett debuted to mixed results. Thrust into the starting role after Braxton Miller suffered a season-ending injury, he has completed 3-of-4 passes for 38 yards. But undermined in part by a key drop and a shaky offensive line, the Buckeyes' offense had little to show for the opening 15 minutes.
They went ahead 3-0 on a 38-yard field goal by freshman kicker Sean Nuernberger.