Ohio State was only favored by 15 points entering Saturday’s game at Rutgers, which was supposed to be the Scarlet Knights’ opportunity to be more competitive with the Buckeyes than they’ve ever been before. It didn’t turn out that way – at all.
The Buckeyes dominated the game from the jump, scoring on all of their first six possessions of the game – and adding an interception return for a touchdown – to take a 45-6 lead into halftime and ultimately win the game 52-13.
|#11 Ohio State||24||21||7||0||52|
|OCT. 2, 2021 • SHI STADIUM • PISCATAWAY, N.J.|
Even though Ohio State won its first coin toss of the year and deferred to the second half, the Buckeyes scored less than three minutes into the game. Two plays after Rutgers attempted a fake punt after its opening possession that was nearly intercepted by Cameron Martinez, TreVeyon Henderson exploded through a massive hole on the left side of the field to run a 44-yard touchdown.
Just 40 seconds later, Denzel Burke put Ohio State up 14-0 with a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Ohio State drove back down to Rutgers’ 6-yard line on its next possession before settling for a 23-yard Noah Ruggles field goal. The Buckeyes extended their lead to 24-0 less than 13 minutes into the game when C.J. Stroud connected with Garrett Wilson on a 32-yard touchdown, which was set up by a 21-yard gain on a 3rd-and-4 screen pass to Marcus Crowley.
Rutgers scored just 11 seconds later on a bust by the Ohio State defense when Aron Cruickshank got wide open for a 75-yard touchdown catch-and-run, but got only six points out of the touchdown after Haskell Garrett blocked Rutgers’ extra point attempt.
The Buckeyes drove 75 yards in nine plays on their next possession, which concluded with walk-on tight end/fullback Mitch Rossi catching the first touchdown pass of his Ohio State career, to make it 31-6 early in the second quarter. Ohio State’s next possession after that also ended with a touchdown pass to a tight end, as Jeremy Ruckert caught a 19-yard throw to the end zone for his first touchdown of the year.
Stroud and Chris Olave made it 45-6 on Ohio State’s sixth offensive possession of the game when Stroud agilely avoided a third-down sack to complete a downfield pass to Olave, who proceeded to tip-toe his way along the sideline en route to a 56-yard touchdown.
After running out the clock at the end of the first half, Ohio State scored again on its opening possession of the third quarter – the final series of the day for Stroud and the rest of the first-team offense – as Stroud completed an 11-yard pass to Olave for his fifth touchdown toss of the game, which he finished with 330 passing yards on 17 completions and 23 attempts with no interceptions.
|5.5||AVERAGE per RUSH||3.6|
|18.5||AVERAGE per COMPLETION||8.4|
|8.4||YARDS per PLAY||4.9|
|8-13||third down conv||4-15|
Ohio State intercepted passes on each of Rutgers’ next two possessions, as Tommy Eichenberg picked off a fourth-down pass attempt by Noah Vedral and Ryan Watts picked off a third-down deep ball by Vedral. Zach Harrison brought pressure to help force Eichenberg’s interception, while Watts’ interception came after heavy pressure up the middle from Tyleik Williams.
With all backups in the game for Ohio State’s defense, Rutgers scored its second touchdown of the day with 7:40 left to play in the fourth quarter when Cole Snyder completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Youngblood.
Following Saturday’s win, Ohio State is now 8-0 all-time against Rutgers, winning all eight games by at least 22 points and scoring at least 49 points in all eight of them. The Buckeyes are now 4-1 for the 2021 season, with a 2-0 record in Big Ten play. Ohio State will continue Big Ten play next Saturday at Ohio Stadium, where the Buckeyes will host Rutgers in their first home conference game of the year.
- Olave is now tied with Cris Carter for third in Ohio State history in both career touchdown catches (27) and 100-yard games (9).
- Rossi and Ruckert's touchdown catches were the first two touchdown receptions of the year by Ohio State tight ends.
- Saturday was the first time Ohio State intercepted three passes in a game since its 48-7 win over Nebraska on Sept. 28, 2019. It also marked just the second time Ohio State has ever had pick-sixes in three consecutive games.
- Ruckert is now tied with John Lumpkin for second-most touchdown receptions by a tight end (10) in Ohio State history.
- Notable Ohio State players who missed the game due to injury included defensive end Tyreke Smith, running back Miyan Williams and linebacker Palaie Gaoteote.
- Kamryn Babb, Chris Olave, Thayer Munford and Zach Harrison were Ohio State's game captains for the opening coin toss.
- Munford returned to the starting lineup at left guard after missing the Akron game, but Matt Jones saw playing time at both left guard and right guard, rotating in with Munford and Paris Johnson Jr. Munford also played snaps at his old position of left tackle with Nicholas Petit-Frere at right tackle to start the second half.
- Freshman safety Jantzen Dunn was helped off the field after being injured on a Rutgers kickoff return in the first quarter.
- Henderson left the game and did not return after suffering an apparent injury late in the first quarter. Day said after the game that Henderson could have returned to play in the second half but Day made the decision to hold him out for precautionary reasons.
- The official attendance for Saturday's game at SHI Stadium was 51,006.
- Cody Simon, who left the Akron game late in the first half with a shoulder injury, came out of the game and was evaluated by Ohio State's medical staff after he was slow to get up after a play in the third quarter.
- Harry Miller got in the game with Ohio State's second-team offensive line in the fourth quarter for his first playing time of the season.