The No. 2 team in the nation travel to New Jersey for a Saturday afternoon meeting with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. While the Ohio State Buckeyes are a top-4 team, Rutgers are a bottom-4 team in the FBS. They would likely be struggling to win games in the FCS as well. However, we’re talking about a Big Ten program here.
The past several years has been an embarrassment for one of the godfathers of college football. It’s gotten so bad that they are trying to court Greg Schiano back to Rutgers and they are a 52-point underdog against the Buckeyes. Schiano was the last coach at Rutgers to have this team competing and going to bowl games.
Between 2005-2011 with Schiano at the helm, Rutgers went to six bowls and won five of them. If he does in fact return to coach the Scarlet Knights, Schiano must adapt to the current college football climate. He is a defensive minded coach, and will likely have that unit trending up, but Schiano will have to find an offense to compete in the Big Ten. The state of the team right now doesn’t have much of anything on either side of the ball.
Schiano will be starting with just about a blank slate. Rutgers thought they had a competent quarterback to start this season, but McLane Carter suffered a concussion in Week 2 and quickly retired from football. That prompted Raheem Blackshear to take a redshirt instead of wasting his body on a wasted season. In other words, they are even worse than they were to start the season. The Scarlet Knights are down to their No. 3 option at quarterback from their Week 1 depth chart. Is there anything going on with this team then? I would argue that running back Isaih Pacheco would be a nice fit on a good team, but other than that, Rutgers lacks a lot of punch offensively.
Ohio State are coming off a 73-14 blowout of Maryland last week. The same Maryland team that beat Rutgers by a score of 48-7. The Buckeyes didn’t let up, as they were attempting onside kicks and going for the jugular in the wake of a possible Chase Young suspension. The latest is that the star-studded defensive end will miss this week, but will be eligible to return against Penn State.
They really don’t need him this to win, so in the end, it isn’t much of a blow to the Buckeyes. Despite blowing out Maryland last week, Ohio State were leapfrogged by LSU for the No. 1 spot. Beating Alabama can do that. Blowing out Rutgers isn’t going to change much, but we’ll see if they get some frustrations out regarding that news. Head below for our free Ohio State vs. Rutgers pick.
Tigers Take #1 Stop in NCAAF Playoff Rankings
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights Betting Odds:
The Matchup and Prediction:
Rutgers traveled to Columbus last season and Ohio State walked by for a 52-3 win. Even the forgotten about Tate Martell compiled big yardage in the second-half after the starters left the game. Martell rushed for 95 yards and a score, while Dwayne Haskins slept walk to 233 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. It was a good game to pad the stats and that’s going to be the case for Justin Fields this season. This version of the Buckeyes has looked better than that team, so expecting anything less than a blowout would be fooling here. The question is if they can cover, though. Even with a blowout, Rutgers can still cover this massive spread, which sets a Big Ten record.
This Rutgers-Ohio State has been total domination in favor of Ohio State. Note that the Buckeyes have outscored the Scarlet Knights by a whopping margin of 271-27 since Rutgers joined the Big Ten in 2014. Rutgers scored 17 points in the first meeting and just 10 points since. They haven’t recorded a touchdown against Ohio State since the first game. So, that’s no touchdowns in three straight games against the Buckeyes.
The bad news keeps coming for the Rutgers’ offense, because this is going to be the best Ohio State defense they’ve seen. Despite the absence of Chase Young, the Buckeyes should be able to steamroll the Rutgers’ offense. Ohio State are 1st in the nation with just 214.8 yards against per game. They’ve been a force against the pass with 126.6 yards against. It’s equated to only 8.6 points scored on their defense per game. Juxtaposed to the Rutgers’ offense, this doesn’t look like a good matchup for the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers are averaging just 280.3 yards per game and 14.7 points. Most of those yards and points came against UMass with McLane Carter at quarterback. Carter, along with Raheem Blackshear aren’t playing any longer, at least for this season with respects to Blackshear. Their only other win this season came against Liberty. Johnny Langan, who has passed for 3 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, has his work cut out for him against the best secondary in college football.
The Buckeyes have averaged 51 points per game, and this came against much better defenses than Rutgers. Heading into this week, Maryland statistically have the worst defense with 442.9 yards yielded per game, but Rutgers will fall back to last again after their contest is done against the Buckeyes. Yes, Ohio State backups will be utilized in the second-half, but there’s nothing wrong with them.
Chris Chugunov has looked sharp in relief duties, with 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions on 74.1% completions. The former Mountaineer is from New Jersey, so plenty of his friends and family will be in attendance. Ryan Day will draw something up to get him some touchdowns regardless of the score. Also keep in mind that Rutgers may want to get some of their backups experience in the second-half. The starters likely aren’t going to make of a difference for Rutgers.
Some people are calling for 100 points by Ohio State here. I don’t see that. They could if the starters played all out for 4 quarters, but Day will at least let up in the 4th quarter. By that point, the game is likely going to be out of hand already. We may not see 100 points, but it’s possible another 70+ in this spot. Even with a more conservative prediction of 58-3, the Buckeyes are still covering this record breaking spread. I got this line when it opened at 51, but still see a cover at the current point spread.