PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The best team in the Big Ten played the worst team in the Big Ten on Saturday, and the difference between them was clear from the beginning.
Ohio State dominated Rutgers at the Scarlet Knights’ SHI Stadium on Saturday, 56-21, to improve to 10-0 on the season while Rutgers fell to just 2-8.
The Buckeyes were favored by more than 50 points going into Saturday’s game, and although Ohio State didn’t come close to covering, it didn’t take long to become clear that the game was going to be lopsided as everyone expected.
|#2 OHIO STATE||21||14||14||7||56|
After receiving the opening kickoff, Rutgers turned the ball over just 38 seconds into the game when Shaun Wade tipped Johnny Langan’s first pass attempt of the day and caught an interception off his own deflection.
Just two minutes and one second into the game, J.K. Dobbins put the Buckeyes on the board with an 18-yard rushing touchdown.
Wade forced another turnover on Rutgers’ second possession, when he knocked the ball out of Scarlet Knights receiver Isaiah Washington’s hands after a short catch, forcing a fumble that Jordan Fuller recovered.
Ohio State took a 14-0 lead just three minutes and 36 seconds into the game when Binjimen Victor added another spectacular catch to his repertoire with a toe-tapping catch in the left rear corner of the end zone on a perfect pass from Justin Fields for an 11-yard touchdown.
Fields connected with Chris Olave on a deep bomb for a 58-yard completion that set up an 8-yard Dobbins touchdown on the Buckeyes’ next possession, giving them a 21-0 lead just nine minutes into the game.
|594||NET TOTAL YARDS||231|
|4.9||AVERAGE PER RUSH||2.8|
|18.0||AVERAGE PER COMPLETION||10.0|
|12||RUSHING 1st DOWNS||5|
|17||PASSING 1st DOWNS||3|
|2||PENALTY 1st DOWNS||2|
|7.6||YARDS PER PLAY||3.5|
|2 (14)||TURNOVERS (DEF PTS OFF)||3 (21)|
After Ohio State’s defense forced its second consecutive punt on Rutgers’ fourth possession, Garrett Wilson gave the Scarlet Knights some life when he made a freshman mistake by attempting to field a punt in a crowd of players. He muffed the punt, Rutgers recovered and three players later, Isaih Pacheco ran for a 26-yard touchdown to put the Scarlet Knights on the board with the first touchdown scored against the Buckeyes in the first quarter all season.
It didn’t take long for the Buckeyes to extend their lead back to three touchdowns, though, as Fields hit K.J. Hill for a 35-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter.
After that, the Buckeyes’ offense hit some resistance. They were forced to punt for the first time on their fifth possession of the day. Then, after driving all the way to Rutgers’ 1-yard line on their next possession, Dobbins was stuffed on back-to-back runs on 3rd-and-goal and 4th-and-goal for a turnover on downs.
Ohio State extended its lead to 35-7 before halftime, however, when Fields connected with Victor on a 24-yard pass for their second touchdown connection of the day.
Just like they did last week against Maryland and in their game at Northwestern, the Buckeyes used their timeouts in the final minute of the second quarter to get the ball back one more time before halftime. After an Adam Korsak punt was downed at the 9-yard line, though, Fields took a knee to finish out the first half.
Fields and the first-team offense stayed in for the first possession of the third quarter and drove down the field for a half-opening touchdown in just 87 seconds. After Chris Olave made a fantastic 42-yard catch on an underthrown deep ball by Fields – even with defensive pass interference – Fields found Luke Farrell for a 14-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to extend Ohio State’s lead to 42-7.
After that, Ohio State took its starters out of the game, but not before Fields had the first 300-yard passing game and Olave had the first 100-yard receiving game of his career. Fields finished with 15 completions on 19 passing attempts for 305 yards and four touchdowns, while Olave finished with four catches for 139 yards.
The Buckeyes’ lead grew to 49-7 with 8:33 to play in the third quarter, when Chris Chugunov completed a 3-yard pass to Jake Hausmann for the first touchdown (and just the second catch) of Hausmann’s career.
Rutgers got on the board for the second time in the game with one minute to play in the third quarter, when Bo Melton scored a 45-yard touchdown on a pass from Langan – thanks to a blown coverage by Amir Riep – to cut Ohio State’s lead to 35 points before the fourth quarter.
Ohio State built its lead back up to 42 points in the fourth quarter when Jaelen Gill scored the first touchdown of his collegiate career with an impressive 32-yard catch-and-run that included a spin move to break a tackle. But the Scarlet Knights added another touchdown with just 1:09 left to play on a Langan run into the end zone after third-string Ohio State quarterback Gunnar Hoak lost the ball on a strip sack late in the fourth quarter.
Saturday's game was the first time Ohio State hasn't covered the Vegas spread since its season opener against Florida Atlantic, but nonetheless, it was their seventh win of the season by at least 35 points.
Ohio State has won all of its first 10 games of the season by at least 24 points, matching the 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers and the 2010-11 Stanford Cardinal for the longest streak of 24-plus-point wins in the last 90 years.
The Buckeyes topped 500 yards of offense for the seventh game this season and held their opponent under 300 yards for a seventh straight game.
The competition will get tougher next week, though, when the Buckeyes host Penn State – who is currently ranked ninth in the College Football Playoff rankings and is 9-1 this season – in their final home game of the season at Ohio Stadium. Next week’s kickoff is scheduled for noon and the game will be televised on Fox.
- With Chase Young suspended and Jonathon Cooper also out, New Jersey natives Tyler Friday and Javontae Jean-Baptiste started in their place at defensive end, with Jean-Baptiste making his first career start.
- Sevyn Banks made his first career start at cornerback in place of Damon Arnette, who made the trip to Rutgers and was not listed on the status report for Saturday's game but has been battling a wrist injury all season.
- The game captains for Saturday's coin toss were Dobbins, Hill, Fuller and Tuf Borland.
- Hill has now caught at least one pass in 44 consecutive games.
- Saturday's game was the first time since Ohio State's 2017 game against Nebraska, when Marcus Baugh and Rashod Berry both scored touchdowns, that two Ohio State tight ends have scored touchdowns in the same game.
- Ryan Day has now won 13 straight games to start his career as Ohio State's head coach, including his three games as acting head coach last year, which stands alone as the second-longest winning streak for an Ohio State coach to start his career, behind only Urban Meyer.