Buckeye Breakdown: Ohio State Blasts Rutgers

Ohio State posted its fourth straight win by more than 20 points as it blasted Rutgers on homecoming in Ohio Stadium on Saturday. BSB takes a look at how it went in this week's Buckeye Breakdown.

Ohio State run offense: Ohio State went over the 300-yard mark for the 12th time in 32 games under Urban Meyer, and the Buckeyes might have found it a little bit easier than they expected. Tom Herman said they prepared to face a defensive attack heavy on looks similar to those used by Maryland designed to take away the inside running game, but Rutgers played a more traditional look for most of the afternoon. Barrett ended up being the leading rusher mostly on the strength of his scrambling ability as his 33-yard touchdown run up the middle in the third quarter alone nearly was the difference between his 107 net rushing yards and the 69 running back Ezekiel Elliott picked up. Barrett also had scrambles of 19 yards and 5 yards on the first drive of the third quarter, and he converted a fourth-and-1 on the first drive of the game with a 19-yard designed sweep, adding another dimension to the offense that seems to get better every week. -- Marcus Hartman

Ohio State pass offense: Unsurprisingly, not a lot to complain about in a 56-17 win. J.T. Barrett tossed three touchdowns, completing more than 60 percent of his passes without an interception. More importantly, he wasn’t sacked. The pass protection held up against the Scarlet Knights rush, which came into the game averaging a ridiculous 4.0 sacks a game, and consistently gave Barrett time to go through his reads. Barrett missed more throws than he has in some weeks, including three consecutive poor throws in the second quarter with the first two leading to the Buckeyes' only punt. The passing game could have been a little better, and that should be a scary thought for Ohio State’s next few opponents. -- Blake Williams

Ohio State run defense: Ohio State got gashed a few times -- and Rutgers hit some nice plays on its scoring drives and as the game progressed -- but for the most part the run fits were excellent when the game was in doubt. The Buckeyes don't give up the big play on the ground, which points to excellent work by the back seven, and even when they do get blocked they recover well enough to keep teams in front of them. Rutgers finished with 149 rushing yards and 3.9 yards per carry, but OSU had allowed 34 rushes on 19 carries at halftime. That'll do. -- Jeff Svoboda

Ohio State pass defense: Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova didn’t repeat the horror show of a performance that he put on in the Scarlet Knights’ loss to Penn State, but he didn’t exactly tear up the Ohio State pass defense, either. The final numbers should be considered a win for the Buckeyes – 17 of 28 passing for 192 yards and one interception. The lone pick he threw was on a pass that should never be made (a fade into the end zone), but that call probably came from someone higher on the totem pole. Of the seven players to catch a pass for Rutgers, six amassed fewer than 30 yards through the air. The only player that was able to hurt the Buckeyes to any significant degree was Leonte Carroo, and 40 of his 100 receiving yards came on one play. After the game, head coach Urban Meyer said that he still hasn’t seen enough from the team’s backups, and I think the dropoff from starters to reserves can be seen in the secondary. All things considered, though, this is a performance that Ohio State will take – especially when younger players saw a healthy bit of action.

What We Learned…

Ryan Ginn: Ohio State is going to be one of the best teams in the country in December. It’s impossible to know whether that will be enough to get them into the playoff because this season has truly proved to be an unpredictable one through the first eight weeks. With that being said, the Buckeyes appear to be getting better on a week-to-week basis, and it’s probably not a coincidence that their quarterback shares that trait. They won’t get a pass for the Virginia Tech loss, but if other teams continue to slip up and the Buckeyes continue to play like one of the top teams in the country, they’ll make it awfully hard on the selection committee.

Marcus Hartman: Ohio State does not believe in ring rust. The Buckeyes flew out of the gate after a second week off that they didn’t sound like they really wanted to take. If there was any frustration from the time off, they took it out on a Rutgers squad that was pretty much incapable of doing anything about it. Ohio State seemed to take a step forward in just about every facet of the game with the exception of second-team defense. Is that the definition of nitpicking or what? Even little-used punter Cameron Johnston had as good a day as could be expected: His one punt went 53 yards — extending his 43.4-yard average entering the game — and was downed inside the 20.

Jeff Svoboda: That we're not leaning much anymore. I think that both Maryland and Rutgers are decent teams but who really knows given the teams they've beaten? Ohio State ran through both of them like they weren't even there, welcoming the two new conference opponents quite rudely. If Ohio State keeps playing like this, we might not learn how good this team truly is until it plays Michigan State. I don't think the Spartans are anything close to last year's team, but that should still be a challenge on the road at night.

Blake Williams: This team, especially the offensive line, is worlds better than it was at the start of the season. That’s appeared to be the case for weeks, but the beat down of Rutgers solidified it. The big bodies didn’t allow the Scarlet Knights to register a sack. They came into the game averaging four a game and they barely touched J.T. Barrett all game. The improvement in that unit is unquestioned and has allowed the entire offense to keep growing. Defensively, the Buckeyes were consistently in the backfield and forced the bad version of Gary Nova to come out. Granted, Rutgers isn’t a great team, but a 56-17 demolition of the Knights makes this Ohio State team nearly unrecognizable to the one that opened the season.

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