12 Games Of Christmas: Rutgers

In celebration of the holiday season as well as Ohio State’s appearance in the College Football Playoff, we’re counting down the 12 wins that made it possible, including this home romp over Rutgers.

Oct. 18: No. 13 Ohio State 56, Rutgers 17
Columbus, Ohio
Box Score

Quick Recap: For the second week in a row, Ohio State welcomed a Big Ten newcomer with a hiding. The Buckeyes scored on their opening two drives, just like vs. Maryland, but this time the scoring didn’t stop until OSU held a 35-7 halftime lead and 49-7 third-quarter advantage. The Buckeyes held a 585-345 edge in yards and 31-18 advantage in third downs, while J.T. Barrett tossed a trio of touchdowns, two to Nick Vannett. He also ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns to lead an attack that piled up 324 rushing yards. Defensive stars included Joey Bosa (two sacks) and Eli Apple, who returned a fumble 4 yards for a TD vs. his home-state school.

Urban Said: “Pleased with the get out, that we got out of the locker room fast, 14-0. That's a good sign of several games right in a row. … I don't feel for one minute because I'm grinding the coaches pretty hard and on headsets. The good thing is that I don't feel like there's a complacent attitude. Complacency is awful in this business and with the players because when you watch the film, we could actually have played a lot better in certain situations.

“Our defense, you can take the first half and that's a credit to our defense. They took a team that threw for 400-plus yards against our rivals and really played well, creating turnovers once again and getting the ball to the offense rather quickly. So I think there's a lot of things to work on offensively. The second half I was not pleased with our deep. We gave up some runs, and when a 2 gets in the game there can't be that big of a drop-off. And right now we all saw what happened, there's a significant drop off when our 2s got in there.”

Play of the Game: Evan Spencer showed his sticky fingers by making a one-handed grab to haul in an 11-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter that extended OSU's lead to 56-10. The coaching staff tried to force-feed Spencer a touchdown catch on an earlier drive because he deserved one based on his practice play, but three straight attempts fell incomplete. But on the next drive, he reached out and snagged a pass from Barrett with one hand to reach Zone 6.

Player of the Game: It was getting harder and harder not to give this to Barrett each week, and this was a standout showing. He extended his streak of games without an interception to three while throwing for 261 yards, and he topped 100 yards on the ground for the first time in his career. More importantly, Barrett skippered the offense to eight touchdowns on its first nine drives, showing he was in full command of what the coaching staff wanted.

What Was Accomplished: Ohio State showed that was starting to round into a team that could threaten not just 2013’s production but also to compete for a playoff spot. The Buckeyes improved to 5-1 overall and reached 2-0 in Big Ten play against league teams that would end up bowl eligible with a fourth consecutive game of 50 or more points, and OSU’s offense was operating at such a high level that conference contention was squarely back in the team’s crosshairs.

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