COLUMBUS, Ohio — What a show.
Ohio State shook off a sluggish first quarter and delivered Rutgers an absolute beating, taking down the Scarlet Knights 58-0.
The backups were out of the game by midway through the third quarter, and three different members of the class of 2014 — Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin — scored the first touchdowns of their careers. To top it off, quarterback J.T. Barrett broke the program record for career touchdown passes and a couple more true freshmen lost their redshirts.
Five things we learned
1. This offense is nothing but playmakers: Dixon, McLaurin and Campbell haven’t been huge pieces of the offense to date, but all are capable of coming in and scoring. That’s the thing about having a dozen 4-star wide receivers on the roster. They are all are good, but only so many can play at a time. That trio showed that when counted upon, they can make just as big an impact as their peers.
2. Earle Bruce is a legend: OK, we already knew that, but it was still a great sight to see Bruce become the second Ohio State head coach to dot the ‘i’ in Script Ohio along with Woody Hayes. He got a standing ovation from the Ohio Stadium crowd and looked like the embodiment of true happiness while he took part in the honor.
You can watch it below.
One of the coolest things I've seen: Earle Bruce dots the i pic.twitter.com/p9AwlZHn7b
— Ryan Ginn (@rmginn) October 1, 2016
3. Rutgers is maybe not that great: Obviously Ohio State played well, but it’s not great when a team goes several quarters without completing a pass. The Scarlet Knights might one day improve under first-year coach Chris Ash, but they didn’t belong on the same field as Ohio State today. The Buckeyes almost exclusively ran the ball in the fourth quarter and Rutgers still couldn’t stop them.
4. Urban Meyer is learning from past mistakes: Meyer only got two years out of Eli Apple and Darron Lee before both went on to become first-round draft picks, and Malik Hooker and Sam Hubbard look like two more potential redshirt sophomore draft picks. Those scenarios might be less likely in the future, however. After saying he’d like to play true freshman wide receiver Binjimen Victor, Meyer went out and did it, and also played true freshman running back Antonio Williams. Both are players who won’t be around for five years, so there’s no sense in redshirting them.
5. Demario McCall should maybe play more: It’s unclear where the touches would or should come from, but Demario McCall is making a compelling case to have a bigger role in the Ohio State offense. He’s electric every time he touches the ball, and his speed and shiftiness are both incredible weapons. Maybe utilizing him more often on kickoff and punt returns would be a good start, because it’s hard to take away touches from any of the primary offensive stars.
Rutgers actually looked good for about the first minute of the game. The Scarlet Knights crossed the 50-yard line with relative ease but a botched trick play resulted in a monstrous loss that knocked them back into their own territory. They didn’t reach OSU territory for the rest of the half and never recovered offensively.
Will more true freshmen play now that Big Ten play is here? Meyer answered that with a resounding yes, giving a decent amount of reps to both Victor and Williams. That’s two more weapons at his disposal for the rest of the season now that he’s committed to playing them.
Can the Buckeyes fix the slow starts? Beating up on outclassed foes hasn’t been a problem thus far, but getting out to a good start at home against weaker opponents has been a problem.
Fifty-eight. Barrett threw his 58th touchdown pass (and then his 59th) to break Bobby Hoying’s career record for touchdown passes at Ohio State. What’s scary is that Barrett still has nearly two years of eligibility left and also missed a good chunk of the 2015 season while sitting behind Cardale Jones.
What it means
Ohio State and Rutgers are in the same conference but not in the same league, if you catch my drift. The gulf between these two programs couldn’t be wider.