Linebacker Brandon Renkart recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown late in the first half and Jeremy Ito added a 29-yard field goal for the Scarlet Knights, who overcame a couple of early miscues that put them behind for the first time this season.
Austen Everson tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Christy for Ohio, which was looking for its first 3-0 start since 1976. The Bobcats raised some concerns about Rutgers quarterback situation, picking off Mike Teel three times.
The Scarlet Knights offense was off, but defense and special teams forced four turnovers and blocked a field goal to help overcame it.
On the second play from scrimmage, Teel threw a pass into the hands of linebacker Matt Muncy, giving Ohio possession at the Scarlet Knights 17. Everson, who completed a 20-yard third-down pass to keep the drive alive, eventually found Christy on a third-down, play-action pass for a 7-0 lead.
Ito, who had hit 12 straight field goals, missed a 31-yarder on the next possession, but Rutgers defense got things going when safety Ron Girault intercepted Everson and returned it 39 yards to the Ohio 31.
Teel (6-of-16 for 83 yards) completed an 11-yard, third-down pass to Shawn Tucker to keep the drive alive and Rice, who had 29 carries, went off the right side to tie the game.
Special teams took over on the next two series. With Ohio facing a fourth-and-8 at its 34, James Townsend broke through after a low snap and hit punter Matt Lasher, forcing a fumble. Kordell Young recovered at the Bobcats 16, setting up Ito's field goal for a 10-7 lead.
The Bobcats were faced with another punt from their own 15 on the next series and Rutgers came with an all-out rush. Lasher was hit on the ensuing 23-yard punt but the officials didn't call a penalty because the Scarlet Knights might have gotten a hand on the ball.
Rutgers took over at the Bobcats 38 and needed only five plays to score, with Rice dragging safety Michael Mitchell the final 2 yards for a 17-7 lead.
A 52-yard punt by Joe Radigan and an illegal block against Ohio gave the Bobcats the ball at their own 5 with 1:24 left in the half. On third down, Quintero Frierson sacked Everson in the end zone, forcing a fumble that Renkart recovered for a touchdown.
It marked the second straight week the defense scored, the first time Rutgers has done that since 1994.
Girault also blocked a short field goal attempt by Lasher in the third quarter and Courtney Greene made a one-handed interception to end another drive by Ohio in the fourth quarter.