Ohio State Coasts in Imperfect 56-21 Win Over Rutgers
It wasn't pretty and it wasn't as lopsided as the oddsmakers expected, but Ohio State's 56-21 victory over Rutgers was convincing and easily dominant enough to maintain its spot at No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings.
What else is there of value to take from this ridiculously-mandatory trip to Piscataway to play a program ill-equipped to compete in the Big Ten East?
Well, aside from all those cable boxes across the Hudson in New York City -- which so greatly fascinated Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and exactly no one else -- it has to be that Ohio State emerged from this one injury-free.
One a day where Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa suffered a season-ending hip injury, that can't be undersold with No. 9 Penn State and No. 15 Michigan yet to play.
"I thought we came out and took care of business the right way," said OSU coach Ryan Day, whose team was a 52-point favorite. "So now our focus moves on to Penn State."
The Lions (9-1) survived Indiana by a touchdown at home and can capture the inside lane to the Big Ten East and the conference championship game with a win at Ohio Stadium.
OSU (10-0) would clinch the East and an accompanying trip to Indianapolis for the league title game Dec. 7 with a win over the Lions.
Michigan (8-2) would be eliminated from championship consideration with an Ohio State win over Penn State, given the Wolverines' two earlier league losses to Wisconsin and Penn State.
Fields finished 15-of-19 for a career-high 305 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He'll enter a noon Saturday game against Penn State with 31 TD passes and just one pick.
"My biggest takeaway is how we came out fast," said Fields, who had OSU in front, 35-7 at half and 42-7 when he checked out early in the third quarter. "Coach Day challenged us to do that. We came out fast, came out scoring, so I think we did a good job of that."
J.K. Dobbins scored two TDs in the first half and didn't play thereafter, ending with 89 yards on 17 carries.
Fields' touchdown passes went to Binjamin Victor from 11 and 24 yards, K.J. Hill from 35 yards and Luke Farrell from 14 yards.
Chris Olave had four catches for 139 yards, including the catch of the day, a 42-yard grab amid Rutgers pass interference. Olave nevertheless reached low with his hands and corralled the ball against his lower leg, while falling to the turf.
"It was one of those games where our guys played well in the first half," Day said. "...there was some sloppiness after that. Overall, I thought our guys played well."
Fields finished 15-of-19 for a career-high 305 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He has thrown 31 TD passes and just one pick on the year.
"My biggest takeaway is how we came out fast," said Fields, who had OSU in front, 35. Coach Day challenged us to do that. We came out fast, came out scoring, so I think we did a good job of that.
OSU is 10-0 for the first time since 2013 and topped the 50-point mark for the fourth straight time against Rutgers and the fifth time in six meetings since it joined the league.
Nevertheless, there were some uncustomary failures from Ohio State.
Its defense allowed Isaih Pacheco's 26-yard touchdown run in the first half and a 45-yard TD pass to Bo Melton.
The Buckeyes' offense came up short on third- and fourth-down runs from the Rutgers' 1 in the second quarter, turning the ball over on downs.
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