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OTB Staff Predictions for #1 Ohio State at Rutgers

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Dave White:  Okay, let's face it--it looks like the worm is turning for Rutgers.  Maybe this isn't such a bad team after all, and they've found something (Leonte Carroo?) they can bank on.  And now it's really going to turn around.  The number one team in the nation is coming to town, and the Point is going to rock.  Laviano is confident, and OSU is changing QBs.  Carroo is back (hopefully) and Agudosi is a weapon.  And maybe it's time for things to really, truly break Rutgers way.  The Scarlet Knights are going to come out fired up and share up JT Barrett, hitting him at every occasion.  Carroo is going to play and Laviano is going to find him--repeatedly.  And maybe, just maybe, Robert Martin is the next great Rutgers running back.  Here come the Scarlet Knights--it's history making time.  Rutgers 37  Ohio State 13

Griffin Whitmer: With J.T. Barrett at QB, the game becomes even more of an uphill battle for the Scarlet Knights. I thought Rutgers would have a legit shot to win if Urban Meyer started Cardale Jones. However, Meyer probably thought the same thing and went with Barrett. This team hit their stride against a great Penn State defense and could hang 56 on Rutgers again. However, Rutgers plays their best under the lights and I think they play their game of the season. Unfortunately, their best is no match for the mighty Buckeyes who leave Piscataway victorious. Ohio State 42-28 Rutgers (PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG, RUTGERS!!!)

Scott Logan: On paper, there's no reason Rutgers should win this game. The Buckeyes are the reigning, defending champions, and the undefeated No. 1 team in the country. Rutgers lost to Washington State at home earlier this year. And yet, I feel a strange, potentially misguided confidence. The Scarlet Knights are playing with house money. No one is expecting little ol' Rutgers to pull off the upset, so the team can play with the freedom that comes with knowing you have nothing to lose. They took Michigan State, a team some, at one point, thought to be even better than tOSU, to the brink. They're coming off an incredible 25-point road comeback. The last time that happened, they took it to UNC in the Quick Lane Bowl. And Carroo has been nothing short of elite when he's been on the field this year. If he plays, the momentum, the atmosphere and the adrenaline could be enough to make something special happen. But for the sake of this prediction, I'm picking with my head instead of my heart. While I think Rutgers can put up a valiant fight, I can't realistically predict a victory. But I've never wanted to be more wrong in my entire life. Ohio State 45, Rutgers 31

Aaron Breitman: Rutgers plays well at home in night games in recent memory. That doesn't mean they will be close to perfect, but after everything this team has been through, their confidence is at an all-time high. The crowd will be pumped up at the start, thus Rutgers needing to play well in the opening quarter to build momentum. Honestly, all I am asking for is Rutgers to keep it close and be within striking distance of Ohio State entering the 4th quarter. Injuries could be a major problem for Rutgers, as five starters are listed as questionable this week. I do think most will play and the team will represent well. J.T. Barrett scares me and we could be catching the Buckeyes at the wrong time, as they could be peaking now that he is the primary quarterback. All that being said, Vegas and advances stats favor Ohio State by three touchdowns.  I think home field advantage is worth something for Rutgers and they beat the odds.  We know Ohio State will score on our defense, it's a matter of how close our offense can keep it. I think they do keep it close, only to see the Buckeyes put it away late.  Ohio State 42 Rutgers 31

Bob Cancro: First off, where is Dave White?  Was that really him writing that opening prediction?  Must be the bow tie (sorry, inside repartee).  Ohio State is still Ohio State, regardless who is at QB.  Urban Meyer isn't Kevin Wilson.  Rutgers should be feeling good about itself; despite the MSU loss, it played well against a top-tier team.  They showed character and grit in coming back against Indiana.  If Rutgers can get its ground game going - even in small chunks - it can slow the game down, and that's a good thing. It will also need to find other receivers besides Carroo; he's a bit banged up and OSU's athletes will be all over him.  OSU has been getting a lot of heat about whether they deserve to be No. 1, with their somewhat erratic play.  So, style points for them will be important.  That being said, as I opened, this is still Ohio State.  RU will be in it, but the Buckeyes will finish it.  Ohio State 42  Rutgers 21

Andy Egan: Notable football expert Dave White is calling for Rutgers victory, in a romp no less. Who am I to disagree? Laviano has looked better in every game since ttfp, and some of the young secondary is starting to step up (looking at you, Isaiah Wharton). There's something in the air at night at the Point. So here's the YOLO delusional homer pick: Rutgers pulls it out late, against an Ohio State team they catch napping. It takes a combination of an uncharacteristically dysfunctional Ohio State offense, a couple lucky breaks on turnovers or well-timed penalties, and essentially every Scarlet Knight playing out of their collective minds in front of a rowdy, snake-pit night environment. This being Rutgers, they don't make it easy on our blood pressures, but they do just enough to hold off the Buckeyes. Rutgers 34, tOSU 31.

Kelly Montagna: Coming in to this weekend's game, Ohio State certainly has not been playing like the number one team in the country. Although they remain unbeaten, their offense has struggled at times, and Coach Urban Meyer has pulled the plug and announced JT Barrett will start. Although I've been impressed with Rutgers' play the last few weeks, am I willing to go as far as saying they'll beat the Buckeyes? No way. I believe the tremendous combo of Laviano and Carroo will keep the Scarlet Knights in the game early, but I expect a Buckeyes blowout after the half. OSU 45-17

Ray Ransom: Remember that time I predicted Rutgers would beat Sparty? Well, I was thisclose to nailing it. This time, the arrow strikes true. Rutgers pull off the miracle win with an offensive explosion on the air and on the ground. Miracle plays from Laviano, Grant and Carroo spark a one-score Rutgers lead going into halftime and the ground game takes it home, grinding the OSU defense into submission in the 4th quarter of this "practice game." OSU is caught looking ahead while Rutgers brings the house down with focus, determination, and a rowdy 12th man in the stands. Rutgers 52, Ohio State 50