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OTB Staff Predictions: Rutgers At #2 Ohio State

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Rutgers Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Cancro: As I began this task, I typed in my name and then stared at the screen. And stared....and stared. What are we supposed to say? We lost our best playmaker. We still have questionable QB play. We were exposed at a few spots. But we did hang tough with a B1G stalwart. That was then, this is now. And this is Ohio home. Ohio State is just too good, too fast, too much. I think it spirals down pretty early on, which means we’ll get to see lots of backups in the second half, including at least two other QBs. Not much more to say. OSU 45 Rutgers 10

Matthew Pisani: I thought this game would be an ugly one, and then we lost Janarion Grant. That is about as huge of a loss as any team can endure. He was our play-maker, our scorer, and a leader. So, without Janarion, I see this one geting really ugly really fast. I did think that Iowa was going to blow us out last week and the fact that we beat them in every category except for the win column I am (minimally) hopeful for a decent performance this week. Unfortunately, they have J.T. Barret, who has thrown 10 touchdowns to one interception, and we have Chris Laviano. Womp. Throw in the fact that the Buckeyes have demolished every opponent so far, including a good Oklahoma Sooners team, I do not foresee this match-up being any different. This will be a rough one to watch, as it has the past two seasons. Buckeyes 52 Scarlet Knights 13

Jim Hoffman: What can I say about a game that every troll in the universe will call me an idiot if I don’t pick Rutgers losing by a ridiculous score? I can say this- I thought last week that Iowa would roll easily over the Scarlet Knights, and they did not. However, Iowa knocked out 35% of our total offense when Janarion Grant injured his leg. What will happen here? We have a tOSU team coming off a bye, and well rested to take on a depleted Rutgers squad in The Horseshoe. After Grant was injured, the only play that really worked well last week was Robert Martin up the middle. If I know that, I imagine Greg Schiano knows that as well, and will key on it. Based upon their performance last week, if Rutgers was playing a team ranked in the 20-50 range, I feel they would do OK. However, they are playing the #2 team in the country. Ohio State is a behemoth that rolls over the best teams in the country, and Rutgers this year is not one of those teams. I’m afraid this week is going to be painful, I mean really painful. I do not predict any scoring by our offense other than a couple of late David Bonagura field goals. OSU 49 Rutgers 6

Dave White: No Grant? No Lambert? No problem. Listen, the goal in this game is to not be beaten before you take the field. You don't want to see the offense have the fear of playing in the Horseshoe shine in their eyes as they take the first snap. The defense has come out and be ready to stop NFL talent today. Rutgers is rebuilding and Ohio State is looking at dominating. This has all the makings of an absolute disaster. But who knows? Sometime miracles happen. Why not Rutgers? Rutgers 32 OSU 28

Griffin Whitmer: Ohio State will have their 100,000+ seat stadium filled at kickoff for Rutgers and they will bring the energy from the start. It isn’t looking good for Rutgers, and I hate predicting them to lose in blowout losses, but there does not seem like an alternative here. Ohio State is so damn good in every single area that goes into fielding a college football team, it is almost scary. They have an elite offense and an elite defense. They have been absolutely dominant under Urban Meyer and I don’t think he would take much pleasure losing to his protege. Ohio State 49 Rutgers 11.

Scott Logan: Last week was definitely a step in the right direction and makes me confident Rutgers can keep games competitive this year. But they're probably still figuring out Life After Janarion, and Ohio State on the road is a much different animal than Iowa at home. Maybe this team plays with an added edge after losing Grant and Quanzell Lambert for the season, or perhaps Ash gets these guys up for a game against his former team. Either way, it's hard to expect a win. Let's hope Rutgers keeps it semi-competitive. Ohio State 48 Rutgers 21

Aaron Breitman: As much as Ash will be prepared for what Ohio State does on both sides of the ball, the Buckeyes will as well, as Rutgers essentially runs the exact same systems. The only difference is the talent level and depth that the two programs run them with. I am hopeful the defense continues to show growth and holds up fairly well. However, Ohio State put up 45 points on the road against Oklahoma and that was the lowest amount they have scored in three games this season. Rutgers has lost to Ohio State by a combined score of 105-24 the past two seasons. This game will be a way to measure progress, as Rutgers fell behind Washington 24-0 after the first quarter. Ohio State has more speed and talent than the Huskies. Let’s hope for tangible improvement and that Rutgers returns home relatively healthy to prepare for the “Stripeout” against Michigan with some gained confidence. Ohio State 35 Rutgers 7

Andy Egan: The first third of this season has had a lot of ups and downs, but there is one line consistently trending up — it is becoming crystal clear that Chris Ash knows how to coach a defense. The team that held Iowa to 14 looked night and day different from the overmatched squad that gave up 24 first quarter points to Washington. Young playmakers at the safety spot in particular are starting to really look good, especially Kiy Hester and KJ Gray, and Bless Austin on the outside has been very good. I think the defense surprises the Buckeyes this week, and keeps it closer than expected. The question for me is the offense. I’m a believer that Ash and Mehringer are planning to keep Chris Laviano as the starter through the Buckeye/Wolverine meatgrinder, while inserting Tylin Oden in spots to get him comfortable at game speed, before they pass the baton to him completely for the more winnable games at the end of the season. I don’t think the Knights have the horses, especially without Janarion, to find the end zone multiple times this week. Also, the famed Horseshoe and its 100k+ screaming patrons will be more of a factor when the Buckeyes are on defense. It will be interesting to see how Mehringer and Co. prepare the O to handle an atmosphere like that — Seattle against the Purple Puppies is not a valid comparison point relative to the Buckeyes in Columbus. OSU 24, Rutgers 10.