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A Look At How Previous Ohio State Freshman Starting Quarterbacks Have Performed

C.J. Stroud will become just the fifth freshman to start at quarterback for the Buckeyes.

When he takes the first snap against Minnesota on Sept. 2, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud will become just the fifth freshman quarterback to start a game for the Buckeyes since the NCAA first allowed freshman to play at the varsity level in 1972.

The first was Art Schlichter in 1978. He threw five interceptions in the season opener, a 19-0 loss to Penn State at home, and finished the year 1,250 yards passing, 590 yards rushing, 17 totals touchdowns and a whopping 21 picks.

That includes an interception in final seconds of a loss to Clemson in the Gator Bowl, which led to legendary head coach Woody Hayes punching defensive tackle Charlie Bauman and being fired the next morning.

It was 30 years later when five-star freshman Terrelle Pryor got the nod just four games into the 2008 season. He took over for senior Todd Boeckman following a loss to USC and threw four touchdown passes in a 28-10 victory over Troy.

Pryor finished the year with 1,311 yards and 12 touchdowns passing compared to four interceptions while also rushing for 641 yards and six more scores to lead the Buckeyes to a share of the Big Ten title and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl. He then split time with and caught a touchdown pass from Boeckman in that game.

A similar story unfolded in 2011 when freshman Braxton Miller replaced starter Joe Bauserman four games into the season. He threw for 83 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 83 additional yards, helping Ohio State bounce back from a loss to Miami (Fla.) with a 37-17 win over Colorado.

It was an up-and-down season for the Buckeyes, who went 6-7 overall under the direction of interim head coach Luke Fickell. Miller was a bright spot, though, as he threw for 1,159 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 715 yards and seven scores to be named the Big Ten freshman of the year.

Most recently, redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett took over for Miller, who suffered a torn labrum in fall camp leading up to the 2014 season opener. He threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in his debut, a hard-fought 34-17 win over Navy.

Barrett went on to set the Big Ten freshman record with 45 total touchdowns before suffering a broken ankle in a 42-28 win over Michigan. He was replaced by redshirt sophomore Cardale Jones, who led the Buckeyes to victories over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon on the way to the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship.


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