A grade card on Ohio State’s 49-7 win over Rutgers, which was the kind of game the Buckeyes’ players, coaches and fans have been waiting to see for a long time.
Now they’ll have to wait two weeks to see it again, though, with Ohio State off this week.
J.T. Barrett’s first start of the season came in the best offensive game of the season for Ohio State. That was not a coincidence.
With Barrett throwing and running the ball, OSU’s offense was more consistent and less predictable.
The redshirt sophomore was almost flawless. He completed 14 of 18 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 101 yards and two scores.
A 55-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter allowed Ezekiel Elliott to extend his streak of rushing for more than 100 yards to 13 consecutive games. He got 127 of his 142 yards in the last two quarters when Ohio State’s offensive line seemed to wear down Rutgers’ defense.
Braxton Miller’s spectacular juggling catch for a 45-yard gain was the individual highlight for the receivers. The go-to guy, though, was Michael Thomas (5 catches, 103 yards, a 50-yard touchdown catch).
One question that still remains is how Ohio State gets off to such slow starts every game. Its first touchdown didn’t come until 10 seconds were left in the first quarter and it has scored only 45 points in the first quarter in its eight games.
There have been many comparisions to last year and this is another one. Last year, Ohio State was known for its fast starts.
Like the late touchdown Maryland scored after a bad snap by OSU went over the quarterback’s head, Rutgers’ touchdown with 13 seconds to play after most of the Scarlet Knights’ fans had left the stadium, shouldn’t be counted against the Buckeyes’ first-team defense.
Joey Bosa (2 tackles for losses, 1 sack) made his presence known forcefully for the second game in a row.
Rutgers’ big offensive threat, wide receiver Leonte Carroo, had a 33-yard reception early in the game but OSU’s defense shut him down the rest of the way.
Special mention goes to the left upright of the goal post, which “blocked” a Rutgers field goal attempt after the Scarlet Knights drove deep into OSU territory on their first possession.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A-
When your special teams basically get a night off, you’ve had a pretty good game.
Punter Cameron Johnston attempted only one punt. It went only 29 yards but OSU didn’t need him to be great Saturday night. Kicker Jack Willoughby did not attempt a field goal with OSU’s offense operating so efficiently.
Kick coverage was good and Jalin Marshall had a 29-yard punt return.
Ohio State had touchdown drives of 80 yards, 76 yards, 72 yards and 65 yards and pushed Rutgers around offensively and defensively. Maybe the most unusual number on the stat sheet was that it had no penalties.
Here are some other numbers that were very interesting: 42-24 and 22-16. Those are the scores previously unbeaten Utah and Florida State were beaten by on Saturday. Having two highly rated teams lose should help the Buckeyes when the College Football Playoff Rankings begin in November.