Ohio State-Rutgers | Scarlet & Gray Matter

Ray Stein
An Ohio State fan has Brutus Buckeye's full attention during the second quarter. [Adam Cairns/Dispatch]

Ray Stein's observations about Saturday's game:

The game at hand

Short-attention-span synopsis: Starting now: big-boy football or bust. It's another Mow-vember blowout, but not like it coulda shoulda. At this point, a moral victory looks good on Rutgers. Since when does 56 points feel like an underachievement? OSU's next task: Eliminate distracted driving.

Pregame buzz: Is that a pregame buzz, or do you have a beehive in your backpack? Alas, the answer was neither in the run-up to Ohio State's latest demolition of the House of Rutgers. OSU has been the most consistently dominant team in the nation this season, and the Scarlet Knights are, um, in a bit of a slump. Even a single wobble by the Buckeyes made it a no-win situation for them, and at times they resembled Weebles. But OSU largely avoided the bad news that struck elsewhere in college football, and it's an open road ahead.

Worth the trip? Ohio State fans definitely outnumbered Rutgers fans in the stadium, which probably says something about both fan bases, considering the 500-plus miles separating the schools. But it also doesn't say much at all, considering the announced attendance was 33,528 — and that number seemed a stretch. OSU backers didn't brave Jersey traffic to see their team lose, but they couldn't have been truly satisfied by what they witnessed.

Spread the wealth? Well, it was bound to happen that Ohio State wouldn't cover a point spread, and the 52-point threshold never was going to survive once OSU's backups entered in the second half and proceeded to step in every bucket they could find. Anyway, the far safer and smarter bet was the Buckeyes being a 13½-point favorite in the first quarter, which they covered despite handing Rutgers a gift touchdown.

This week in classic film: They really don't make movies that capture the essence of the Ohio State-Rutgers series, largely because of the utter lack of drama. So the pairing of these two has become a sort of “Groundhog Day,” except that the Scarlet Knights as Phil Connors are no closer to the end of the movie as they were when it began six years ago. OSU has outscored Rutgers 327-48 since the latter joined the Big Ten, in 2014. The Knights sure as heckfire not going to forget these beatings, but what can they do to stop them?

This week in vanity plates: JRSY BOR

The View

How the team sees it: We all agreed that we could beat Rutgers while we were blindfolded, but we didn't expect some of our teammates to actually try it.

How the playoff committee will see it: You're safe at No. 2, but we're highly interested in seeing how you respond against teams with a little more beef than Maryland and Rutgers.

How Buckeye Nation sees it: Rutgers scoring three touchdowns and stopping Ohio State with a goal-line stand is some sort of sign of the apocalypse, no?

Hey, what Day did say?

What he said: “Not enough. Not enough,” explaining why he sent Justin Fields out for the second half with the Buckeyes leading by a 35-7 score

What it means: “Not enough. Not enough. Not enough. Not enough. Shall I go on?”

They said it

Your turn/the channel: The Big Ten Network had the call, which should have meant combat pay for those who had to keep viewers engaged for three hours. Brandon Gaudin and James Laurinaitis did their best, but the inequity of the game had them reaching at times. They rued that one Justin Fields deep pass to Chris Olave went for a 58-yard gain instead of a touchdown because the ball was slightly underthrown, and later questioned how the Buckeyes would deal being down 10 points in the fourth quarter. Maybe, but who says they will be?

The morning report: News flash — ESPN's College GameDay wasn't at Rutgers, and hasn't been since Lee Corso placed a tiger's head over his dome before the Princeton-Rutgers game in 1869. But there was still plenty of entertaining morning programming, including Pat McAfee's belly-flop dive into the Brazos River on ESPN. The highlight, however, was Saturday-morning TV star Urban Meyer's savage response to Charles Woodson, when the former Michigan standout asked Meyer if he knew the words to “Hail to the Victors.” Meyer's reply: “I know 7 and 0.”

Numbers for dummies

31.8: Ohio State's first-half scoring average this season

80: FBS teams, entering Saturday, that don't average 31.8 points per game

59: Ohio State's touchdown differential this season, scoring 70 while allowing only 11

24: Points for Rutgers in its first six Big Ten games before scoring 21 against Ohio State

4: Games this season in which J.K. Dobbins has not had a carry in the second half

1: Coaches who have a better record to start his Ohio State career than Ryan Day's 13-0; Urban Meyer won his first 24 games as OSU coach

On tap

Now it gets real. What has passed for supposed tests for Ohio State this season were aced so swiftly and decisively that it's hard to believe that the Buckeyes were not provided the answers beforehand. But those fastest-kid-on-the-playground moments may become more rare in the coming weeks. The first challenger to confront OSU about its Big Ten bullying will be Penn State, which can move directly back into the playoff conversation with a victory at Ohio Stadium. On the other hand, Chase Young may be hungry.


Best responses to the game on Twitter:

@BillKlosterman: 2:01 to score? I have Solitaire times faster than that. Come on.

@jleegill: This game could have started at noon because at 3:44 pm it was pretty much over

@SimmerSauce: This is pretty much a televised snuff film

@AdamsShane1: Ohio State-Rutgers game should be renamed “nap time”

@joycalhio: My husband insisting on watching Weekend at Bernie's instead of Bucks. We flipped over and determined that Rutgers is in worse shape than Bernie, switched back.

@JWherle: So this is what it's like to play in the ACC.

@Pray4Pax: When you play an excruciatingly painful 2nd half and still win, you must be in Piscataway, NJ

@bradyispliable: i do not care if the buckeyes won 56-21. starters or not that was an unacceptable performance and ryan day should be furious. it's too late in the year to take your foot off the gas.

Horseshoe haiku

Controlled scrimmages

are done; can Buckeyes handle

heat of frying pan?

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