Embarrassing. Absolutely embarrassing. No other way to describe that loss. Ohio State was dominated by Rutgers from start to finish, and had precisely zero answers for anything the Scarlet Knights did. The exact same thing happened the last time these two teams met in 2019, and somehow it only got worse in 2021's version.
We'll get the offense out of the way first. Statistically, Ohio State did enough to win. Not dominate. But win. The Buckeyes scored 12 goals on 31 shots, good for a shooting percentage of 38.7%. Griffin Hughes continued his ascent to stardom by scoring 5 goals on his own, in only 6 shots. Hughes has emerged as the dodging threat the Buckeyes need, surpassing 5-star Grant Mitchell, who managed only a single shot.
Tre Leclaire continued his march toward Buckeye lore with 3 goals on 9 shots, a respectable 33% shooting day. Jack Myers had 5 points, 2 goals and 3 assists, making it his best game of the very short season thus far. If you told me 6 hours ago the Buckeyes would score 12 goals and shoot 38.7%, I'd tell you to lay money on them as soon as possible. Lo, the defense decided to issue the fateful "Hold my beer."
Words can't express how poorly the defense played today. Tomorrow's film review is not going to be pretty. From me or the staff. Rutgers shot a nearly identical 37.8% today. The biggest difference was that the Scarlet Knights took 58(!) shots. That nearly doubles the Buckeyes' total shots in some of their recent games. Defense is supposed to be the staff and team's forte. It did not look like it today.
Rutgers' attack unit went ballistic, totaling 11 goals and 16 points. True freshman(!) Shane Knobloch played out of his mind as well, scoring 4 goals on 5 shots, and adding an assist for good measure. Rutgers played what amounts to an absolutely perfect game, a week after looking pretty sloppy against a game Penn State squad. After this mess, nothing should be retained. Nothing.
Defensive coordinator Travis Crane took a big step up this offseason, being named recruiting coordinator and top assistant. Two games into his role, it's time to see what he's made of. Because that performance, a week after dominating an extremely talented Johns Hopkins squad, is unfathomable. No explanation or excuse is going to paper over that abomination. Tomorrow's a new day. That 2017 squad still lost 4 games before the title game. But now, Ohio State's in a real tough position looking toward the postseason.
I said in the season preview I thought Ohio State would go 6-4. If they reach that mark, it would probably be a minor miracle. Penn State is going to be tough with the shooters they have, even minus Grant Ament. Rutgers isn't going to lose in Piscataway. Which means Ohio State's probably going to have to sweep BOTH Johns Hopkins and TTUN, then steal a game from Penn State and Maryland, to sniff the B1G tourney.
Even that may not be enough. Notre Dame is picked last in the ACC, and they've probably got the talent to win the Big Ten outright. I can't see many, if any, of those teams missing the postseason. Ohio State has a tall, tall task ahead of it right now. Guess we will see what the team is made of next week.