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Ohio State has beaten Rutgers a combined 219-24 the first four games of their Big Ten series. Next is Maryland — that’s 163-55 headed to four.
In the polls
The Buckeyes stayed No. 9 in the USA Today coaches poll. But after slipping to 11th in the Associated Press media poll a week ago, they moved back to 10th. That’s mainly because Southern California plummeted nine spots to 14th after a loss to Washington State, which moved up to 11th. The coaches shuffled Wisconsin up to No. 8 from No. 10, around Ohio State, to fill in the USC void.
J.T. Barrett, who now owns almost every major Ohio State passing record. He had a couple of tour de force moments at Rutgers, including the whirlwind touchdown drive just before the half when his four straight completions netted 69 yards and pushed him past Art Schlichter’s previous school career passing yardage record (7,547). Barrett stands at 7,622 after adding 275. And with his career total offense school record now at 10,350, he’s 10th all time in the Big Ten.
What went right?
The OSU defense was in attack mode from the start with the linebackers, including Jerome Baker and Malik Harrison providing the stick that stirred the Rutgers offense. Dante Booker had his most impactful game, which included a turning-point interception in the first quarter. Safety Jordan Fuller was especially active playing back in his home state. So were Ohio natives Tracy Sprinkle and Sam Hubbard.
Back to the drawing board
J.K. Dobbins did a lot of the grunt work, but it was rejuvenated Mike Weber who took the bows with three TD runs. Whether the talked-about two-back set is just around the corner, only Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson know. It would appear to offer plenty of possibilities.
The Dre’Mont Jones mishap — he suffered a gashed leg after snagging it on something around his locker following a practice last week — required stitches and could keep him out another week after missing the Rutgers game. Third string running back Antonio Williams is expected to return after sitting out with an unspecified illness.
The Buckeyes celebrated as if they’d just won a championship when Rutgers’ field-goal attempt doinked off the right upright with 46 seconds left. It preserved the first shutout of the season. In High Point Solutions Stadium two years ago, Rutgers avoided a shutout with a TD in the final minute.
Maryland appears to be much improved on both sides of the ball compared to the model Ohio State beat 62-3 a year ago. The Terps, in the second year under DJ Durkin, shocked many with a win at Texas in the opener, and beat previously unbeaten Minnesota on Saturday. And that’s despite being down to third-string quarterback Max Bortenschlager because of injuries.
This week's challenge
The distractions will be there — it’s homecoming weekend, there will be a 4 p.m.-ish start, and there will be reminders of the dominance the past three years over Maryland. But Meyer pointed out after the game late Saturday night that Maryland went on the road and upset Texas and went on the road and beat Minnesota. Take nothing for granted will be his message.