Ohio State-Rutgers | Scarlet & Gray Matter
Ray Stein’s observations about Saturday's game:
The game at hand
• Short-attention-span synopsis: Another Buckeyes cruise. Against Rutgers, OSU again kicks Ash, takes names. Who says you can’t pass the football in the rain? That young Tater has spunk.
• Pregame buzz: Between a season-opening patsy and a week 3 test in Texas, Rutgers was supposed to offer something of a challenge for Ohio State — a trap game of sorts for a young Buckeyes team missing their suspended coach. The Scarlet Knights might yet be better this year, but if they wanted to catch OSU, they should have at least brought a net.
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• The $80 question: The answer: Maybe not. With the promise of an all-day rain and the strong likelihood of another Ohio State-Rutgers game turning into a repeat episode of Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, a great number of fans chose to sit this one out. The crowd of 93,000 and change was the first sub-100,000 total in Ohio Stadium since 2002. Aberration?
• Just wondering: What did Rutgers ever do to Ohio State? A collective score of 271-27 in the five years since the Scarlet Knights started cashing Big Ten checks suggests the Buckeyes are peeved about something. Did Tom Herman give them a pep talk at some point? Did Brett McMurphy write the history of Rutgers football?
• How the team sees it: We were led to believe college football was going to be a weekly grind. So far this has been as strenuous as walking down a flight of stairs.
• How the pollsters will see it: It’s hard to argue with Ohio State, which now has 129 points in two games against teams from Power Five conferences. Then again, we can’t help but snicker when we say that.
• How Buckeye Nation sees it: It’s raining, it’s pouring, beating the snot out of Rutgers never gets boring. But it would have been a much better day if Michigan hadn’t won, too.
Hey, what did Day say?
• What he said: “I think we have a great group of guys here. We have a lot of talent on offense.”
• What it means: “Our talented offense has not seen any talent on defense. But we will, and soon.”
They said it
• Your turn/the channel: The Big Ten Network turned to its broadcast team of Kevin Kugler and Matt Millen to put lipstick on a pig of a game that lacked only a muddy playing surface. Millen, in particular, sensed there was no point waiting for dramatic turns that weren’t in the offing. So he played up to the superior team, showering praise on the OSU secondary (“They could run with any receiving corps in the country”) and the offensive line (perhaps “the best in the country.”) Let it rain, boss.
• Maybe keep that to yourself: The Bulletin Board Award goes to Rutgers left tackle Tariq Cole, who happened to mention during the week regarding OSU defensive end Nick Bosa: “All I know is Nick hasn’t gotten a sack off me.” Which was true, until the last play of the second quarter, when Bosa maneuvered past Cole like he was a parking meter and crushed Rutgers QB Artur Sitkowski, knocking him from the game.
Numbers for dummies
54-5: Average score of the past five Ohio State-Rutgers games
27: Points scored by Rutgers against OSU in the past five meetings
38: Touchdowns scored by the Buckeyes in that time, by 20 players
108-0: Second-quarter scoring margin enjoyed by Ohio State vs. Rutgers since 2014
598-219: Yards-per-game average the past five meetings
114: Consecutive Ohio Stadium crowds of 100,000-plus before Saturday
10: New members of the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame, notably linebacker James Laurinaitis
After two weeks of bouts with palooka flyweights — think Jerry Lewis’ fight scene in “Sailor Beware,” but without the comedy — Ohio State takes a step up in class next week by meeting 16th-ranked TCU. Nominally, it’s a road game for the Buckeyes, who will travel 900-plus miles to AT&T Stadium. But Jerry Jones’ ostentatious football palace has been berry, berry good to OSU over the years.
Best responses to The Dispatch crew on Twitter:
@brianu2402: Tough sell today with Noah bringing animals 2 by 2 down 315.
@laxreftom: Ohio State got so far down in its depth chart that the players who finished the game wanted to know where the snacks and juice boxes were.
@R_A_Lash: 58-0 in 2016. 56-0 last year. 52-3 this year. Rutgers has their program trending in the right direction. In 2070 the Buckeyes better watch out.
@Pray4Pax: Rutgers is lobbying for new college football rule change — option to call for a fair catch on a forward pass
@KJinOhio: Is Rutgers playing flag football?
@jleegill: I thought Oregon State went home
@pgauctioneer: Scarlet Knights brought a lance to a cannon fight
@AURaptor: There is still icing on the field from the last cupcake you guys played
Advice to Knights from
Bugs: Arise, Sir Loin of Beef!
Joke never gets old