J.T. Barrett answered the call in his first start of the season, leading No. 1 Ohio State to a 49-7 shellacking of Rutgers on the road.
The sophomore Barrett completed 14 of 18 passes for 223 yards and ran for 101 more to go with five total touchdowns, complementing the near-shutout pitched by the Buckeyes’ defense.
The Buckeyes scored the all 49 points in a row before Rutgers snuck in a late touchdown with Ohio State’s second-team defense on the field and just 13 seconds on the clock.
Ohio State (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) piled up 528 total yards on offense while holding Rutgers (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) to just 298 yards Saturday night in Piscataway, N.J. The win was the 21st in a row for the Buckeyes, and that wasn’t the only Ohio State streak kept alive.
Junior running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for more than 100 yards for the 13th straight game as he piled up 142 yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns despite a slow start.
Junior Michael Thomas led the Buckeyes’ receivers with five catches for 103 yards and a touchdown while senior “H” Braxton Miller had three offensive touches for 71 total yards. Sophomores Jalin Marshall and Curtis Samuels each tallied touchdowns in the win as well.
In a dominant performance on defense, sophomore linebacker led the way with seven total tackles while junior defensive end Joey Bosa had a sack and two tackles for loss. Redshirt freshman Sam Hubbard added another sack and 1.5 tackles for loss of his own while sophomore cornerback Gareon Conley had five tackles and an interception.
Rutgers quarterback Chris Laviano completed 10 of 20 passes for 117 and an interception while backup Hayden Rettig added 72 passes yards and a score. The Scarlet Knights had early success rushing the ball as Paul James picked up 56 yards on 10 attempts, but Ohio State still held the home team to just 104 total rushing yards on 29 attempts.
How It Happened
Rutgers got the ball to start the game after a touchback on the opening kick and took just four plays to move into Ohio State territory. That fast start didn’t carry through the end of the drive, though, as the Scarlet Knights settled for a 29-yard field goal attempt. The 12-play, 64-yard drive took 4:57 off the clock but came up empty as Kyle Federico missed the kick off the left upright.
The Buckeye offense couldn’t respond with points of their own after the miss, despite moving 60 yards to the Rutgers 20. Barrett fumbled on 3rd-and-2 and Rutgers recovered, but its offense stalled once again and was forced to punt.
After a 29-yard punt return by Marshall the Buckeyes set off on a nine-play, 42-yard drive, culminating in a 2 yard touchdown run by Elliott to make it 7-0.
Two more Rutgers punts were split by an Ohio State boot before the Buckeyes took over with 8:56 on the second-quarter clock. Just over two minutes later the score was 14-0 after Barrett found Thomas near the right sideline and the receiver broke away for a 50-yard touchdown.
Ohio State forced another punt on the ensuing drive before Barrett found Miller for a 45-yard gain. Miller tacked on 16 more yards from a direct snap on the next play and Barrett punched it in from the two-yard line after that, helping the Buckeyes to a 21-0 halftime advantage.
The second half started much like the first half ended — with Ohio State rolling to a fourth touchdown. Elliott broke free for 27 yards on the first play from scrimmage before tacking on 19 more yards on the next two snaps. That set up 1st-and-10 at the Rutgers 30, and Barrett finished the job with a touchdown strike to Samuel despite a roughing the passer call to put the Buckeyes ahead by 28.
Ohio State’s defense responded by forcing a three and out after redshirt freshman cornerback Marshon Lattimore knocked away a Laviano pass on third down. The Buckeyes moved into Rutgers territory four plays later, but they ended up having to go for it on 4th-and-1 at the Scarlet Knight 28. Elliott’s second effort picked up the first and Thomas drew a pass interference call a play later to set Ohio State up at the 11-yard line. Barrett scampered to the end zone on second down to make it 35-0 with 8:24 still to play in the quarter.
Things didn’t look up for Rutgers from there as Conley intercepted Laviano on the first play from scrimmage after the Buckeyes’ touchdown. The Buckeyes drove to the Rutgers one before Barrett threw a pop pass to Marshall, who acted as if he would throw the ball before cutting back for the Buckeyes’ sixth touchdown of the night.
The Scarlet Knights found a bit of a spark to move near midfield after the score, but a Hubbard sack, an incomplete pass and penalty forced 3rd-and-30 and an eventual punt. Two plays later Elliott broke the century mark for the game with a 54-yard touchdown run, putting the Buckeyes ahead 49-0 with 14:24 on the clock.
Rettig replaced Laviano on the next drive, but didn’t have much more success. Lattimore broke up his third-down pass, forcing another punt which Marshall fair caught at the Rutgers 29-yard line after a three-play, four-yard drive that took less than a minute off the clock.
Like Rutgers, Ohio State made a change at quarterback as junior Cardale Jones replaced Barrett along with most of the Buckeyes’ second-team offense. Jones completed a 10-yard pass to Thomas on his first play before junior running back Bri’onte Dunn converted a 4th-and-1 try to keep the drive rolling. The drive ended up inside the Rugers 10-yard line, but junior running back Warren Ball was stopped for a three yard loss on fourth down.
The Scarlet Knights responded with their best drive of the game, but it was too little too late. Rettig completed a 58 yard pass before he found Andre Patton for a four-yard touchdown to break the shutout.