Photo courtesy of Ohio State Football
Before we get started, I will be referencing the prediction that I made for the Ohio State vs. Indiana matchup this past week. Check it out here if you want to see where I was right, or (very) wrong.
The Indiana Hoosiers gave the third ranked Ohio State Buckeyes everything that they could handle on Saturday. With Ohio State narrowly escaping with the win, there has been no shortage of hot takes regarding quarterback Justin Fields. Fields came into Week 12 as a serious contender to win the prestigious Heisman Trophy and a consensus top pick in the draft. The quarterback had arguably the worst game of his young career, posting 300 yards on 18/30 passing with 2 touchdowns and a career high 3 interceptions.
Now reading that stat-line you may be thinking “sure the interceptions aren’t ideal but that wasn’t too bad,” but by golly that is not how the internet is reacting at all. I’ve heard some of the worst takes that I can remember from so-called experts and “twitter coaches” alike and I’m going to go ahead and clear some things up regarding Fields performance.
This from Harold is probably the worst college football take that I’ve seen in a long time. Not only is this “hot” but it’s unable to be backed up by a singular statistic. Since stepping into Columbus, Ohio, Fields has been nothing short of spectacular passing the football. A career 70+% completion percentage for upwards of 4,400 yards and a 54-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio. These are numbers worthy of the pre-draft considerations that he has been receiving prior to the November 21st game.
That brings me to my next point; Why is this game more indicative of who Justin Fields is as a quarterback than the other 16 times we’ve seen him play? Why does this singular sub-par performance erase a year and a half of spectacular showings? In almost any other scenario you would take the abundance of evidence over the statistical outlier, yet that seems not to be the approach taken by many after Saturday.
Now did Fields have a good game? No, not by any stretch and he’d be the first to take responsibility for that (in fact that’s exactly what he did after the game), but the bigger point is that this is one game out of a large sample size which has been otherwise fantastic. The team won and there will be adjustments made, but to say that Fields is not as talented as any other passer in the country based solely on this game is peak reactionism.
We will see who the scouts agree with come draft season 2021, but it is far more likely to me that this will be remembered as one bad game in an otherwise historically-great two year campaign rather than concrete evidence that Justin Fields is just another “Ohio State bust” at the quarterback position.