Game 5 Recap: Ohio State 52 – Rutgers 13
Ohio State dominated a second opponent in back to back weeks, and the defense is playing a lot better since Ryan Day switch the play calling for the defense over from Kerry Coombs to Matt Barnes. Yes, last week it was an overmatched Akron team, and yes this week it was Rutgers, but this is a much more improved Rutgers team. This is the same Rutgers team that held Michigan to under 50 yards of offense and 0 points in the second half, but lost 20-13. It doesn’t get easier for the Scarlet Knights either as they will host another top 15 team in Michigan State this upcoming weekend.
Ohio State score on every single possession in the first half, and their first possession in the second half with the first string offense. That was enough to put the game away as they held on to a 52-13 win. Denzel Burke is a star in the making at cornerback as he was able to get his first ever pick 6 within 40 seconds of Henderson’s touchdown run, and gave the Buckeyes a 14-0 lead.
CJ Stroud returned to the line up after missing last week to allow time for his shoulder to rest, and get the mental reps from the sideline. He looked his best yet so far this season, completing 17 of 23 passes for 330 yards, and 5 touchdowns with no interceptions. He did have 2 runs on the ground for 13 yards, but he didnt need to be a running threat this game. He was connecting on passes in the middle of the field better than he had his previous games.
TreVeyon Henderson didn’t get to play a full game (or half) but he didn’t need to after he went done for an injury in the second quarters. He still logged 71 yards on 8 carries and touchdown, scoring the first touchdown for the Buckeyes on a 44 yard run untouched. Marcus Crowley and Master Teague got more reps this game in place of Henderson with Miyan Williams ruled out of the game due to an injury. Crowley had 58 yards on 7 carries, while Teage added 52 yards on 11 carries. Evan Pryor saw action in the game as well in the 4th quarter, and had 10 yards on 3 carried.
Chris Olave tied Chris Carter this game for overall touchdowns in Ohio State history with 27. He had 2 touchdowns this game to go along with his 5 catches for 119 yards. Garrett Wilson had 71 yards on 3 catches and a touchdown. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has 2 catches for 66 yards. The tight-ends got involved in the passing game too, with Jeremy Ruckert leading that unit with 4 catches for 40 yards and a touchdown. Gee Scott Jr had 2 catches for 15 yards, and Mitch Rossi had 1 catch for a touchdown at the 1 yard line.
The starting defense held Rutgers under 300 yards, and the Scarlet Knights finished with 346. The Buckeyes had 541 yards of total offense.
Ohio State dominated from the start and didn’t. If there was a moment that put this game away before it could really get started, it was Ohio State’s drive at the end of the first quarter, and into the second when CJ Stroud passed it to tight-end/fullback Mitch Rossi to improve the lead 31-6. Rutgers was not able to score again until halfway into the 4th quarter when the Buckeyes were playing their backups.
Star of the Game
CJ Stroud. After resting his shoulder last week, and taking time to focus on the mental reps, CJ Stroud looked the sharpest he has all season. If he continues to play like he did today, the Buckeyes should be in a good shape to compete and win in their reaming 7 regular season games.
Four teams in the top 10 lost this weekend, which opens up a path for Ohio State to get back into the top 10. Oregon was one of those loses, which at this point shouldn’t hurt Ohio State’s resume. For them still, the path is clear to win out and win the Big Ten Championship for their best chance to make the playoff. Alabama and Georgia made statements as why they are two of the better teams in the country, and if they go undefeated through the SEC championship, the loser is not necessarily out. Cincinnati beating Notre Dame does make the picture a little more interesting as well, as their next toughest opponent is UCF, which Cincinnati has a 73% chance to win. The ACC and PAC-12 have all but eliminated themselves from the playoff, and the Big 12 has a defining weekend upcoming with the Red River Rivalry. Ohio State’s early loss is hurting it a little but, but if they rack up wins and look like they did this week, they are going to put themselves in a good spot.
Ohio State (4-1) heads home to face Maryland (4-1) at 12pm on FOX.
Rutgers (3-2) will host Michigan State (5-0) at 12pm on BTN.
Photo credit: The Buckeye Wire (USA Today)