Rutgers (1-1) faces a daunting task again at no. 3 Ohio State (2-0) on Saturday night in Columbus. While our entire staff think a win isn’t possible, we all had varying degrees of hope that this team will perform better against the Buckeyes than in years past.
Fred Gaudios: This week, all I’m looking for is progress. I’m not even going to pay much attention to the score; I’ll be looking for moments like “Wow, what a cool block/run for first down/etc.” or “I can’t believe we’re only down two scores at the half!” Things like this. If Rutgers hangs with Ohio State for longer than a quarter, I’d be thrilled. I say this every year when Rutgers plays Ohio State, but I just want a clean and safe game with no injuries. There are other, winnable games left on the schedule. In the remaining space I have left, I just want to say the best episode of The Simpsons is “You Only Move Twice” (i.e., the Albert Brooks as Hank Scorpio episode) and also that mayonnaise is an appalling food. When TV chefs slather it on sandwiches, it’s an immediate channel changer for me. Ohio State 42, Rutgers 13.
David Anderson: Justin Fields may win the Heisman, but today he is some triangulation of Johnny Manziel, Geno Smith, and Christian Hackenberg. So I don’t love him as an NFL prospect yet (though he has plenty of time to still develop), but surrounded by receivers who are fast, beast running backs, and an offensive line that when it decided to dominate Penn State did, is unbeatable. The Ohio State defense does not have the top pass rusher in college football for the first time in a while (Bosa brothers, Chase Young) but the only way to move the ball against them is capitalizing on their overpursuit mixed with perfectly timed passes to receivers coming out of their breaks. Rutgers despite the improvement has none of the strengths required to put a dent in OSU. Weather looks good in Columbus, so the elements won’t be helping either. Ohio State 56, Rutgers 10.
Dave White: OOF. Not gonna be pretty. OSU 59 Rutgers 17
Aaron Breitman: I think that Rutgers will perform much better at the start of this game than they have in prior meetings against Ohio State. I think Schiano will have them ready to play in his return to Ohio Stadium. Obviously this team doesn’t have near the amount of talent as OSU does and that will take a toll in the second half. I think Rutgers could make some plays on special teams and create a couple turnovers to make it interesting for a bit. Overall, the Rutgers offense isn’t good enough to keep up with the firepower of Ohio State. Despite some progress with how they played compared to seasons past, the final score isn’t much better. Ohio State 45 Rutgers 10
Greg Patuto: It’s championship or bust for the Buckeyes. There is a reason that they pushed so hard for there to be a fall season and they are looking like the real deal. Justin Fields is a Heisman candidate and Ryan Day is one of the top coaches in the nation. Hey, look on the bright side, Rutgers cut 13-points off the spread from last season, and this game is on the road. There is not much else to say with a positive tone. Ohio State can name the score in this game if they want. Ohio State 52 Rutgers 13
Adam Ross: I don’t think this will be very pretty, but I will be encouraged if Rutgers performs better than previous years against the elite squads in the conference. One advantage, albeit small, is that no one knows this Ohio State team better than Greg Schiano. Add in the possibility that OSU overlooks Rutgers, and there is a chance we make it competitive. I’d like to see the offense run more boot legs and RPOs and get Vedral on the move to help the receivers get separation away from safety help over the top, as I so far have not seen any indication that Vedral’s arm strength is reliable in a “pro style” offense. On defense, I was discouraged by how much separation Indiana’s receivers had on crossing routes last week - and I see no reason why that would change with an elite QB on the other side of the field. I may watch this game longer than previous OSU-Rutgers games, but there will be no shot at a victory. Ohio State 48 Rutgers 20
Cara Sanfilippo: If I were to call this in favor of Rutgers, I might actually be delusional. It’s obvious that short of a miracle, Rutgers will not beat Ohio State. So here is what I will be looking for to mark this team as continually improving. Continued aggressive and proactive defense to keep this game from getting out of hand, maybe a takeaway or two, and signs of life on offense. It is clear that the blitzing and pressure from Indiana’s defense really took a tool on our offensive line and quarterback last week. Vedral, while I think he is a good game manager and has talent, does not have a bomb of an arm. When opposing defenses force him to throw deep, he does not seem to have the ability to make those throws accurately. So I would like Gleeson to have some ways to get the offense going, maybe even bringing in Sitowski, who has the better arm for some plays. Let’s get some points and seem like we are playing to win, even though we won’t. Last year we scored the most points in a game against Ohio State, I don’t think Ryan Day will take it easy on us this year. I think we start strong, but the wheels start to fall off in the end. Ohio State 49, Rutgers 23
Let us know what your prediction for Saturday’s prime time matchup is in the comment section.