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Rutgers Football Game #3 Preview vs. No. 3 Ohio State

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Rutgers will take a trip to Columbus in Week 3 to take on the Buckeyes.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 31 Indiana at Rutgers Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon College Football

How To Watch, Stream & Listen

Rutgers at Ohio State

Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio

Kick-off: Saturday, November 7 at 7:30 PM ET

Weather: 49 degrees, mostly clear sky with a 10% chance of rain, 4 mph winds

TV: BTN with Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play), James Laurinaitis (color), and Rick Pizzo (sideline)

Stream: FOX Sports App

Radio: RWJBarnabas Health Rutgers Sports Network (WCTC 1450-AM, WOR 710-AM, WENJ 97.3-FM, XM 382) with Chris Carlin (play-by-play), Eric LeGrand, Ray Lucas, and Anthony Fucilli (sideline).

Current Spread: Ohio State -37.5

Series History: Ohio State leads 6-0; last season Ohio State defeated Rutgers 56-21.

SB Nation Ohio State site: Land-Grant Holy Land

Statistical Leaders

Rutgers

Passing: Noah Vedral - 39-for-63, 61.9%, 299 yards, 3 touchdowns, 4 interceptions

Rushing: Isaih Pacheco - 85 yards on 28 carries, 3.0 ypc, 2 touchdowns

Receiving: Bo Melton - 8 catches for 98 yards, 12.3 ypc, 2 touchdowns

Defense: Olakunle Fatukasi - 24 tackles, Mohamed Toure - 2 sacks, Tre Avery and Brendon White - 1 interception

Ohio State

Passing: Justin Fields - 48-for-55, 87.3%, 594 yards, 6 touchdowns, 0 interceptions

Rushing: Master Teague III - 151 yards on 35 carries, 4.3 ypc, 3 touchdowns

Receiving: Garrett Wilson - 18 catches for 240 yards, 13.3 ypc, 1 touchdown

Defense: Pete Werner - 13 tackles, Tommy Togiai - 3 sacks, Marcus Hooker - 1 interception

What to watch for

“I got to be part of that (success) for three great years, enjoyed the time there, great people, great friends, and Ryan is one of those friends,’’ Greg Schiano said Monday during his weekly press conference.

Schiano is set to return to Columbus for the first time since re-joining the Scarlet Knights. He spent three years as defensive coordinator of the Buckeyes and was named Recruiter of the Year in the Big Ten by 247Sports in 2018.

The relationship between Schiano and Ohio State is solid and that makes for a nice storyline heading into the matchup.

“Ryan is a standup guy. He’s an excellent coach,” Schiano said. “I actually knew that before he got there, but when Urban told me he’s going to hire him and I said, ‘man, that’s going to be a great hire,’ and sure enough you could tell the day he got there he’s a rising star. We’re close. He’s an excellent football coach. He and his family are great people, and when we go to compete we compete but otherwise we’re friends.’’

When Rutgers has the ball

Through two games, Rutgers is dead last in the Big Ten averaging 261.5 yards per game. Last week against Indiana, the Scarlet Knights were held to just 247 yards of total offense with 126 of them coming through the air.

Noah Vedral has to be better. He engineered a drive early in Week 2 that ended in a touchdown pass to Bo Melton, but not much else went right for the offense after grabbing that 7-0 lead. Vedral threw three interceptions and looked a bit lost in the second quarter.

Turnovers and penalties continue to be an issue as well. Rutgers committed nine penalties against Indiana to bring their Big Ten leading total up to 18 for the season. This is something that needs to get cleaned up and should week-by-week.

Rutgers is rushing for 113.5 yards per game. Isaih Pacheco has not been able to get it going just yet, averaging just three yards per carry on the season, but he is a workhorse and will continue to get carries. Kay’Ron Adams has a breakout game against Indiana and could see an increased role. Aaron Young and Johnny Langan have also been used in the run game.

Heading into this matchup, it will be interesting to see if Rutgers can get the rushing attack going to keep Ohio State off the field. The Scarlet Knights also need Bo Melton to continue to make big plays. He is their No. 1 playmaker and can break loose at any time.

When Ohio State has the ball

This is an improved Rutgers’ defense. That is the most obvious change through two games under Schiano.

The Scarlet Knights are fifth in the Big Ten allowing 358 yards per game. They forced seven turnovers in Week 1 which is difficult to do, no matter who the opponent is. Despite the improvement on the defensive end, Rutgers has struggled defending the pass. They are allowing 278.5 yards per contest. Michael Penix Jr. was able to get comfortable after a slow start in Week 2 and finish with 238 yards and three touchdowns.

This Ohio State offense is a different animal. As expected, they are at the top of the conference with 508.5 yards and 45 points per contest. The Buckeyes have turned the ball over just once this season, have allowed five sacks, and have totaled 12 penalties.

Fields is playing at a high-level once again. Wilson and Chris Olave are elite weapons on the outside. Both receivers have at least 13 catches and 220 yards with three combined touchdowns. Ohio State was able to put up 526 yards of total offense on the road against Penn state in Week 2.

The playbook will be wide open in this game. The Buckeyes can handle the Rutgers’ defense in any way possible. It might not be Fields. Maybe Teague III gets hot early and Ohio State chooses to pound the run game. Maybe the Scarlet Knights struggle to cover the tight end and Fields gets Jeremy Ruckert involved. This game has the feel of one where Day will be able to do what he wants.

Can Rutgers win this game?

There is no amount of talking that can make a Rutgers’ fan feel good about this one. The good news is that the Scarlet Knights return home in Week 4 to play a winnable game against Illinois. Stay healthy during Ohio State week and move on.

Final thoughts

“They’re a very different team than last year … they have several transfers and have upgraded talent,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said.

That is clear. Through two games, one being a loss, it is obvious that Rutgers is a different team. There is a different feel on the field and on the sideline. This is a work in progress but Schiano was expected to come in and change the culture immediately. That is happening.

This is not a fair game to judge on the scoreboard. The little things have to be looked at when it comes to Rutgers. Don’t lay down, compete in this game. Maybe force a turnover. Most importantly, continue to show toughness and a change in culture.

“Greg (Schiano) is really building something, Day said. “This won’t be the same team we’ve played the last couple years … we don’t have a year or two’s worth of film to go back upon either with all the new players … you can surprise people on schemes and things like that … we have to prepare and take care of the basics … Greg is a very, very good coach.”