Last Call: Final Thoughts, Questions and Players to Watch Entering Ohio State’s Home Game Against Rutgers

By 11W Staff on October 1, 2022 at 7:30 am
Kyle McCord vs. Rutgers

Ohio Stadium is set to host a football game for the fifth Saturday in a row.


3:30 P.M. – SATURDAY, OCT. 1


The Buckeyes will complete their season-opening five-game homestand today when they host Rutgers in a mid-afternoon clash at the Shoe. Ohio State will celebrate Homecoming and the 100th anniversary of Ohio Stadium as the Buckeyes look to defeat Rutgers for the ninth straight year and remain undefeated this season.

Saturday’s game isn’t expected to be close – Ohio State is favored by 40 points – but there will still be plenty for Buckeye fans to watch for as they play their fifth game of 2022.

Our Eleven Warriors beat writers share what they’ll be keeping an eye out for as they’re watching today’s game at Ohio Stadium.

Final Thoughts

Ohio State should try to get the backups more reps today

Even though Ohio State has won all of its last three games by at least 31 points, the Buckeyes’ backups – specifically at positions like quarterback and the offensive line – still haven’t gotten a lot of opportunity to play, as Ryan Day kept the starters on the field into the fourth quarter against both Arkansas State and Wisconsin.

There are reasons for that – the starters need reps too, and Day doesn’t want to unnecessarily jeopardize a comfortable win by taking the starters out too early – but I think Day should be a little less conservative in that regard if Ohio State is able to build a big lead this week. Opportunities for reserves to get extended playing time will lessen as the season progresses, but those backups need to be ready to play if injuries strike in front of them.

– Dan Hope

Wake me up when it's Iowa week

Ohio State is cruising in its last three games as Dan noted above and the schedule isn't going to get any harder for a while. Rutgers historically doesn't play the Buckeyes competitively, and there's no reason to expect that to change this season based off what we've seen from each team. 

Next week will be Ohio State's first road game of the season, which is pretty wild to say in Week 6. But they'll be facing a Michigan State team that is in the running for most disappointing Big Ten team of the year following blowout losses to Washington and Minnesota. OSU likely won't be challenged again this season until Iowa on Oct. 22, but even the Hawkeyes are incredibly one-dimensional. 

Iowa's defense is legit, so at least it will be fun watching C.J. Stroud and Ohio State going against that unit. But with Spencer Petras leading the charge for Iowa's offense, the Buckeyes probably won't face their next true test until Penn State. 

- Garrick Hodge 


How will Kyle McCord and Devin Brown perform in the second half?

As Dan mentioned above, Ohio State's backups haven't had many opportunities to play through the first four weeks of the season, especially at quarterback. When Kyle McCord and Devin Brown have played, they've primarily been asked to look pretty and hand the ball off to the running back.

Against Rutgers, I want to see them sling the rock and show off their arm talent with some in-game reps. C.J. Stroud is as good as gone after this season, so either McCord or Brown will likely be the starter for the Buckeyes next year. Neither will win the job this weekend, but their performances on Saturday – and the rest of 2022 – could go a long way in determining who the favorite is to land it heading into spring ball.

- Chase Brown

Can OSU hold Rutgers to single digits?

Jim Knowles’ first season is going swimmingly thus far, but in order to finish the year with top-five marks in major defensive categories, the Buckeyes will have to put the clamps on a lower-tier Big Ten team like Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights rank 97th in total offense and 111th in the passing game, and both stats indicate Ohio State shouldn’t have much trouble limiting Rutgers’ output on Saturday. The Buckeyes have given up 21 points in each of the past two weeks, though, and have yet to hold an opponent under 10 points this season. 

That’s a high bar against a Big Ten opponent (even Rutgers), but Cody Simon says shutting teams out entirely is the goal as Ohio State pursues the status of nation’s best defense. Rutgers may throw some trick plays at the Buckeyes, but the contest should be a showcase for the scarlet and gray defense nonetheless.

– Griffin Strom

Players to Watch

Miyan Williams

If last week is any indication, when Williams is in the game for Ohio State, the Buckeyes are running the ball. Although Williams was only on the field for 15 plays in last Saturday's 52-21 win over Wisconsin, he had 11 carries for 101 yards, giving the Buckeyes two 100-yard rushers in the same game after TreVeyon Henderson totaled a season-high 121 yards on 21 carries. 

Through four games, Williams has run like a human pinball machine. This is no slight on Henderson, who has had a solid start to the season, but you could make a case Williams has been the best running back on Ohio State's roster so far. While Williams, Henderson and Dallan Hayden are all likely to get plenty of carries since this game isn't likely to be close, it'll be curious if Williams is given a start for the Buckeyes or if he eventually supplants Henderson as the No. 1 ballcarrier down the road. 

- Garrick Hodge

J.T. Tuimoloau

I've had a friend text me after each of the Ohio State games this season asking if he should be concerned with J.T. Tuimoloau's production in terms of his numbers on the stat sheet. Through the first four weeks, Tuimoloau has recorded five tackles, three tackles for loss and three quarterback hurries. That's decent production from the former five-star and No. 4 overall player in the class of 2021. Still, I want to see more from him moving forward.

I won't put Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa or Chase Young expectations upon Tuimoloau's shoulders because I think it's silly that Ohio State fans and the media try to do that every year with a Buckeye defensive lineman. However, I think a game against Rutgers is the perfect time for him to record his first sack and maybe earn a couple of tackles for loss, and I think he's capable of doing that as a second-year member of “The Rushmen.”

- Chase Brown

Kyle McCord

Doubling down on my final thought from above, today could be an opportunity for McCord to see more playing time if the game plays out as expected. It would be good for McCord to get two or three drives where he can truly run the offense rather than just handing the ball off to run out the clock – and it would come with extra meaning today, as he’s a New Jersey native whose father was a Rutgers quarterback. How McCord fares in his game reps this season will be a factor in whether McCord is Ohio State’s new starting quarterback next season, so I’ll certainly be interested to see how performs if he gets the chance to throw some passes today.

– Dan Hope

Sonny Styles

The true freshman won’t get the start, and if the game ends up surprisingly close, he may not play at all on defense for the Buckeyes. But Styles is certainly picking up steam early in his Ohio State career, as Ryan Day touted him as “special” this week and said he didn’t expect him to have this big an impact during what could have been his senior in high school. Styles played 20 snaps at safety over the past two weeks, and perhaps he could see a season-high total in the second half against Rutgers, which would allow him to continue gaining comfortability as a freshman before seeing an increased role for Jim Knowles and company in the years to come. 

Buckeye veteran Josh Proctor says he calls the 6-foot-4 safety “Manchild,” and with praise like that from his coaches and teammates, it’s easy to see why fans are clamoring to see more of him on the field. We might just get that chance on Saturday.

– Griffin Strom

View 16 Comments