COLUMBUS, Ohio — Well, at least Rutgers will always have that first quarter.
The opening 15 minutes of its game against Ohio State ended with a 6-0 lead for the Buckeyes, hardly the score many expected to see at the end of the first quarter. From there, however, Ohio State woke up from its early-morning stupor and routed the Scarlet Knights, 58-0.
It was an absolute thumping from coach Urban Meyer’s team, and the Buckeyes were clinical on both sides of the ball. So the question is: Was Ohio State just that good, or was the win and the level of play not all that impressive given the opponent?
What follows is a look at how Ohio State fared in a number of categories, with its report card grades ranging from one star to five stars:
Offense (5 stars)
Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett broke the school record for career touchdown passes, which is pretty good. Since these aren’t career achievement grades, though, how about these numbers? Against Rutgers, Barrett was 21 of 29 for 238 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. The Buckeyes rushed for 412 yards, led by Mike Weber with 144. Twelve different players caught passes, and eight different players found the end zone.
Here was Ohio State’s drive chart following the first possession of the game, which ended on an interception:
- Field Goal
- Turnover On Downs
That would be 5 stars even if it came against an elementary school.
Defense (5 stars)
Rutgers ran three plays in Ohio State territory. Three. None went particularly well, too, and one was a flat-out disaster. The Scarlet Knights also completed just three passes. Three passes in 60 minutes! It was an incredible display of ineptitude, but the Ohio State defense certainly played its part in Rutgers’ struggles.
It’s worth mentioning that the Buckeyes didn’t turn over Rutgers all game long after forcing nine turnovers in their first three games, but Rutgers quarterback Chris Laviano’s accuracy was so bad that his passes never got close enough for defensive backs to have a chance to make an interception. So there’s at least one benefit to being really bad instead of just plain ol’ bad.
Special teams (4 stars)
Cameron Johnston wasn’t called upon to punt a single time, amazingly enough. Ohio State’s kickoff coverage was excellent all day, so that was a plus. Kicker Tyler Durbin made a 33-yard field goal but also missed a PAT attempt. You can’t get a perfect score when that happens.
Coaching (5 stars)
Full marks for Meyer, who presided over another impressive performance from the Buckeyes. The offense was explosive, the defense smothered Rutgers all game long and special teams were solid. Perhaps the best part of Meyer’s coaching on Saturday was his willingness to burn a couple more redshirts when he’s been reticent to do so in the past. Binjimen Victor and Antonio Williams won’t be at Ohio State for five years, so there’s no sense in squandering them while they’re here.
On another note, his last two games against former assistants have ended with a combined 117-0 margin in favor of Meyer.
Overall (5 stars)
What else is there to say? Ohio State has a deeper and more talented roster than Rutgers, but the gap between the two schools looked far wider than it should have. After a week off, it was important for the Buckeyes to keep up their impressive first-half play, and they did just that. On to Indiana, a surprise winner over Michigan State Saturday night.