Sign up below to be added to our mailing list for the latest news updates, access to exclusive contents, and more!
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Just when you think you’ve seen it all, the Ohio State-Michigan football game comes up with something new.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett aggravated a knee injury Saturday when he was bumped by “a guy with a camera,” while warming up on the sideline, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.
Barrett started the game but he Buckeyes finished their 31-20 win over the Wolverines without him. The senior quarterback limped off the field after a scramble in the third quarter and went to the locker room.
He was replaced by Dwayne Haskins, a redshirt freshman who led the Buckeyes to the go-ahead touchdown and finished the game.
After the game, Barrett and Meyer said Barrett was hurt when he was bumped by a photographer before he even went into the game.
“I’m just so upset with myself,” Meyer said. “It was a non-football injury. Too many damn people on the sideline. A guy with a camera hit him in the knee. I’m gonna find out who. Think about that. So I’m so angry right now. I’ve got to move on. (Angry) that I let that happen.”
Until Meyer brought it up in the postgame interview room, no one in the media had been aware of the origin of Barrett’s injury.
“I looked over and he was on the ground,” Meyer said. “We were worried he wasn’t going to be able to (play). He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around. It locked up on him before the game. They got it to unlock. And then it locked up on him again. That’s what happened.”
While the coach was visibly angry, Barrett, the first Ohio State quarterback to start four wins over Michigan, didn’t seem upset.
“I was warming up, trying to throw, and somebody tried to squeeze (between Barrett and the Buckeyes’ bench) I guess and he hit me,” Barrett said. “My knee just kind of shifted in, twisted up on me, and we was able to lock it out and put it back in, but that’s how it was.”
He played the first 2½ quarters, though he wasn’t sharp. He completed three of eight passes for 30 yards and a touchdown while also running for 67 yards on 15 attempts.
The Texas native also revealed he has had a recurring situation with the knee, one he has learned to deal with.
“It’s not anything too crazy,” Barrett said. “I’ve played with it this whole year. It’s just twisted and I just unlocked it. This time it just didn’t unlock for me.”
He wasn’t sure who made contact with him but didn’t think it was intentional or malicious.
“Nah, I don’t think it was that type of rivalry where people would try to do that,” Barrett said.
“I don’t know who it was. Michigan has a lot of people on our sideline, whether it be fans or camera people. I don’t know. He bumped me and my knee kind of shifted in. It’s happened before where my knee has just twisted on me. I have to hyperextend it and get it to be untwisted.
“When it happened in a game I just locked my leg out and popped it back in and continued to play. I didn’t need to tell the trainers or tell anybody. I was good. I felt fine running around cutting before it happened the second time. So it wasn’t affecting me. It’s just in that few moments when it happens. Today I wasn’t able to pop it back in. So it’s not injured.”
Barrett said he will be ready when the Buckeyes play Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Football Game on Saturday in Indianapolis.
As for the person who ran into him on the sideline? Meyer said he wants to find out who it was.
Barrett just recalled seeing someone wearing gray — which happens to be the color of vests worn by all photographers with credentials to shoot the game.
“He just continued to walk,” Barrett said. “I was pretty sure he got pretty nervous.”