25 words or fewer: Just as the train builds steam, J.T. Barrett and crew are stuck in the station this week. The track leads toward another November to remember.

25 words or fewer

Just as the train builds steam, J.T. Barrett and crew are stuck in the station this week. The track leads toward another November to remember.

In the polls

The Joey Bosa-led defense holding a potent Rutgers offense to a mere one touchdown was as impressive as the offense scoring 49. At least, that's the read of the results of the voting in the coaches' and Associated Press polls because the Buckeye strengthened their hold on first place in each.

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Who's hot?

What a trick question. Barrett, in his first start at quarterback since last year's Michigan game, got things rolling like in the good ol' days of his Heisman Trophy campaign last season. He accumulated 324 yards of total offense and was responsible for five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) as he and the Buckeyes found answers for a defense intent on putting running back Ezekiel Elliott in his place.

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Who's not hot?

The answer was Elliott after he gained just 15 yards on nine carries the first half. His 100 yards-plus streak seemed to be in serious jeopardy. But he and the offensive line solved the riddle of the Rutgers defense right off the bat in the second half. When he stepped across the goal line at the end of his final carry of the night, a 55-yard sprint, he retired with two TDs and 142 yards, pushing his nation leading 100-plus streak to 13 games.

What went right?

The idea of passing to Michael Thomas to get the snowball rolling. Barrett flung a pass out in the right flat to Thomas, who made his characteristic strong move back to the ball, spun inside and shoved a would-be tackler to the ground and sprinted to the end zone to complete the 50-yard, second-quarter play. It put OSU up 14-0, and was the major chunk of Thomas' second 100 yards-plus receiving effort in three games (103 on five catches).

Back to the drawing board

That's what the OSU historians did, marking a 21st straight win - longest active streak in the nation - and a 28th straight regular-season Big Ten win. The latter left the Buckeyes one shy of the major-college record for regular-season conference streaks of 29 set by Florida State in the early 1990s in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Dinged up

No major injuries were reported.

Catch that?

Braxton Miller did on the one that almost got away. Actually, he corralled more than caught a 45-yard pass from Barrett in the second quarter. Miller said he lost it in the lights, so he put his hands where he thought it was headed. The ball slipped through his hands and arms down to his legs, then bounced back up into his arms. Replay review proved he indeed had made the snag.

Up next

The Buckeyes are off this week following eight straight games to start the season. Coming next is a third straight game in prime time, at home against Minnesota on Nov.7.

This week's challenge

Rest and recuperation are on the agenda for the regulars. For Urban Meyer and his staff, the task will be finding ways to keep the intensity up for an offense that, under the direction of Barrett again, hit its stride through the second half of the Penn State win and through the last three quarters at Rutgers. Now comes the November stretch run, and spring is in the air.

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports