INDIANAPOLIS — When J.T. Barrett trotted out to start against Wisconsin on Saturday night in the Big Ten championship game, it was a credit to modern medicine, of course. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said it also was a credit to something else.

“He's just one of the toughest human beings I've ever come across in my career,” Meyer said.

By the 6:31 mark of the first quarter, Barrett had thrown the second-longest pass in Big Ten title game history, an 84-yarder to Terry McLaurin, capping the longest drive, 96 yards, in the game’s history. For the game, Barrett was 12 of 26 for 211 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions. He ran 19 times for 60 yards and a score.

Jim Garfield, his former coach at Rider High School in Wichita Falls, Texas, who saw Barrett show that resolve several times, likely wasn’t surprised Barrett not only answered the call but did it with flair.

“He’s tougher than a rooster tooth,” Garfield said Saturday before the game.

Just six days earlier, and less than 24 hours after suffering a right knee injury which caused him to limp off late in the third quarter at Michigan, Barrett underwent a surgical procedure to have the culprit — a floating piece of cartilage — removed.

That he was able to return to action so quickly was due in large part to an almost around-the-clock rehabilitation regimen he stuck to with the focus on the healing of the cuts that were needed to perform the procedure.

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What made this instance remarkable was it played out pretty much in front of the public eye. But one of the aspects that has made Barrett’s four-year run as a record-setting QB special to Meyer is the way he has dealt with the physical punishment of the position.

“I think so many times you don't see because it's not public knowledge about playing (with pain) — playing as many games as he's played, playing the position that's a violent position,” Meyer said.

But publicly, there was that night at Penn State in 2014 when Barrett, as a redshirt freshman, and the Buckeyes had to go to two overtimes to win and keep their hopes alive to make the first College Football Playoff.

“That caught me off guard when he had a second-degree MCL knee sprain and finished the game,” Meyer said. “Not only finished the game, but helped us win that thing in overtime (with two touchdown runs). That stands out, that game.”

Garfield had a story, too, of a Barrett who was the leader of the freshman team, but suffered a broken collarbone in a preseason scrimmage.

“He came back and played in our first district game,” Garfield said. “That was five weeks tops and he was back to playing ball.”

Six days after surgery, he did the same thing Saturday night.

“He’s a guy that's all in, and just a very unique individual,” Meyer said.