Sometimes, you have one of those games where it's simply brutal to have to sit through, and then write about it after. This is one of those games. Ohio State completely dominated Rutgers on Saturday, piling up 585 yards of total offense in the game. Buckeye QB J.T. Barrett was magic once again, throwing three touchdowns on 19 of 31 passing for 261 yards. Barrett was OSU's leading rusher as well, running for 107 yards and two scores.
The Scarlet Knight defense simply failed to show up in this game. They could not get consistent pressure at all on Barrett, and whenever OSU's receivers were covered, Barrett would scramble for a first down with ease. Poor tackling was a pain point for Kyle Flood once again, as the Buckeyes feasted on yards after the first hit. It's tough to say what exactly the factor was for the poor showing, whether it was the home field advantage of Ohio Stadium or the difference in talent for RU, but the Knights just didn't have the intensity in this game. The best plays in the first half were false starts by Ohio State or missed passes by the quarterback. Quite simply, it looked way too easy for OSU to find the end zone on each and every drive.
Offensively, Ralph Friedgen did the best he could. Rutgers' second drive had a multitude of looks in the run game and pass, and was the perfect answer to some early jitters after receiving the ball to start the game. Gary Nova was far from a scapegoat in this game, as he managed the game effectively to give the Knights a chance for points. He had one awful pick in the red zone at the end of the second quarter, although the play was rushed from the beginning with Janarion Grant coming off the sideline late, leaving little time on the play clock. Nova finished 17 of 28 passing for 192 yards and one INT.
The running game found some life in the second half, but the game was already decided at that point. It's quite possible the Buckeyes let up a bit on defense knowing the game was in hand. Meyer did not let off the gas on offense, however, forgoing field goal tries on fourth down for touchdowns to seemingly impress the CFP Committee. You can be mad all you want for what looks like running up the score, but the real problem is Rutgers not being able to stop a nosebleed. Perhaps if the game was closer, Meyer would have taken those field goals.
There wasn't much good to take away from this game as a Rutgers fan, although Leonte Carroo turned in one of the most amazing catches of the year late in the third quarter. He led all Knights with five catches for 100 yards.
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Rutgers likes to build its defense on speed rather than size, but that speed was negated by OSU's talent. That's what four straight top-B1G recruiting classes looks like. They not only had speed, but size as well. Their offensive line, which had only one returning starter, held up fine against the Rutgers pass rush, as the Dragon was nowhere to be found. That was the biggest factor here. It remains to be seen whether the recruiting plan will affect long term success for Rutgers, as the speed can compete against good teams, but not elite teams.