The cries to bench J.T. Barrett, bring in a new offensive staff, and waterboard the receivers, one corner and the right side of the offensive line at various points following big game debacles against Clemson and Oklahoma went poof as Ohio State pulled off a stunner against No. 2 Penn State in the Shoe.
The players and coaches would never admit it but even they had to be questioning the team's collective ability to come through against elite teams on a big stage. Even more, it would be fair to think a few of them questioned if it wasn't about to be deja vu all over again as the Buckeyes 14-0 just four minutes into the game and 21-3 early in the second quarter.
Despite the barrage bad luck and bad play, J.T. Barrett wouldn't let Ohio State die as he put up a 13 of 13 for 170 yards and three touchdown effort in the fourth quarter as part of a legendary 33 of 39 (with three drops) for 328 yards and four touchdowns performance through the air with another 95 yards on the ground.
Down 35-20 midway through the third quarter, the Buckeyes could've packed it in and went away quietly after a host of self-inflicted wounds including 10 penalties and another embarrassing showing from the kickoff coverage unit combined with some questionable calls by the zebras.
But they didn't.
The defensive line kept grinding against Saquon Barkley (2.1 ypc) and harrassing Trace McSorley, Barrett was magnificent, Johnnie Dixon caught fire and countless others showed no quit outscoring the Nittany Lions 19-3 in the fourth quarter.
Now Ohio State is primed for a top four slot when the first College Football Playoff poll comes out Tuesday night and J.T. Barrett sits in the thick of the Heisman Trophy race after a good portion of the fan base wanted him benched seven weeks ago.
I said before the game Ohio State was headed for a slingshot or crossroads – with no in between – and the slingshot could be upon us with a trip to Iowa, at home against Michigan State and Illinois, and a trip to Ann Arbor on tap to round out the regular season.