Did Ohio State read headlines all week? Is this a unit that is starting to come together? Was there an overreaction to a Week 2 loss?
All of the above.
No. 11 Ohio State came into Piscataway and completely took over SHI Stadium on its way to a 52-13 victory on Saturday afternoon. The game was over midway through the first quarter as the Buckeyes had it working on both sides of the ball.
After Rutgers failed to convert on a fake punt attempt during the game’s first drive, Ohio State got going instantly. Treveyon Henderson took the second play of the drive 44 yards for a touchdown. Exactly 40 seconds later, Denzel Burke jumped a route and returned a Noah Vedral interception 23 yards for a touchdown.
Just like that, the Buckeyes were up 14-0 without CJ Stroud and their duo on the outside getting involved. This did not take long.
With 2:34 remaining in the first quarter, Stroud hit Garrett Wilson for a 32-yard touchdown. The big-play ability of the Buckeyes was on display all game long. Trailing 24-0 in the first quarter, the Scarlet Knights gave their home-town fans something to cheer about as Vedral hit Aron Cruickshank on a crossing route and he took it 75 yards for a score.
Ohio State would score on its next four possessions — all touchdown passes from Stroud. If there were any doubts about his health, they were put to rest on Saturday. Stroud finished 17-for-23 for 330 yards and five touchdowns. Chris Olave was his favorite target once again catching five passes for 119 yards and two scores.
When the Buckeyes scored out of halftime to make it 52-6, this is when we saw the backups come in. It took reserves and two holding calls for Ohio State to finally punt the ball late in the third quarter.
If Rutgers is looking for any positives from this contest, it is that Cole Snyder came in and completed 7-of-8 passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, his first career score.
In total, Rutgers was outgained 530-346, allowed 197 yards on the ground, and saw the Buckeyes go 8-13 on third down.
This was a measuring stick game for the Scarlet Knights and they did not measure up. All concerns coming in, such as the secondary, proved to stand up and talent and depth took over early for the Buckeyes.
This is a Rutgers’ team that will win some games in the Big Ten but Ohio State remains in a league of its own. On the bright side, this is a loss that should be easy to put in the rearview and move on to Week 6.