Ohio State improved to 5-0 on the season with a 49-10 Homecoming win over Rutgers on Saturday afternoon, which included a heated exchange between head coaches Ryan Day and Greg Schiano following a flagrant foul on an improvised fake punt late in the game.
Redshirt sophomore running back Miyan Williams rushed for a career-high 189 yards and a school-record-tying five touchdowns, while redshirt sophomore quarterback C.J. Stroud completed 13-of-22 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
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Defensively, the Buckeyes were led by redshirt junior linebacker Steele Chambers, who recorded a game-high 11 tackles – including eight solo stops and two tackles for loss – and an interception. Senior defensive end Zach Harrison tipped that pass and forced a fumble, meanwhile.
With that said, local and national college football analysts shared some of their thoughts on the game, and BuckeyesNow has compiled some of the best reactions below:
Tom VanHaaren, ESPN
“The Buckeyes have shown their balance on offense, passing when they need to and getting a school-record-tying performance on the ground from Williams, who had five touchdowns against Rutgers.
“Ohio State now faces a struggling Michigan State team that has lost its past three games. The Spartans gave up 314 yards passing and 175 yards on the ground against Maryland, so Ohio State's offense should be in for another big day.”
Barrett Sallee, CBS Sports
“Ho-hum, just another blowout win for the Buckeyes. This time, it was a 49-10 triumph over Rutgers. Williams was the star of the show, rushing for 189 yards and five touchdowns, tying a single-game school record. The only reason the Buckeyes didn't get an ‘A+’ is because ... well ... it's Rutgers.”
Ross Dellenger, Sports Illustrated
“The Scarlet Knights leaped out to a 7–0 lead and then were outscored 49–3 the rest of the way in an utter beatdown. Williams had 189 yards rushing. Rutgers had 187 yards total. And if you’re wondering why Ohio State is outside of the top 3, the Buckeyes haven’t yet played a road game, nor have they hosted a team inside the current top 25.”
Bill Bender, The Sporting News
“The Buckeyes disposed of Rutgers 49-10 in business-like fashion with the help of a record-setting performance by Williams (21 carries, 189 yards, 5 TDs). The five-TD performance tied a school record, and that allowed Jaxon Smith-Njigba and TreVeyon Henderson to rest nagging injuries.
Stroud (13 of 22, 154 yards, TD, INT) continued his Heisman campaign, but did not have to do too much. The Buckeyes' defense also limited Rutgers to 1-of-13 conversions on third down and 187 total yards.
“The Buckeyes have the look of a complete team, and the first road game at Michigan State is next. Ohio State leads three top-10 Big Ten teams on this list, and there is an argument to be made to bump them up.”
David M. Hale, ESPN
“It was hardly Stroud's best game – 13-of-22 for 154, two touchdowns and a pick – but Ohio State won easily. It was actually a very sportsmanlike move to not pad his stats against Rutgers, as so many Ohio State QBs have done before.”
Matt Tamanini, Land-Grant Holy Land
“I want to say this clearly upfront, I love Henderson. I think that he is an immensely talented running back, and I firmly believe that the Ohio State offense is better with him in it. However – as the old saying goes – in football, the greatest ability is availability, and unfortunately, Henderson hasn’t been especially available this season.
Fortunately, Williams has taken full advantage of his increased opportunities and has proven that he is nobody’s 1B option. Last week, I wrote that I believed that Williams was now Ohio State’s No. 1 running back, but I think that – after seeing his record-setting performance against Rutgers – it goes beyond that now.”
Cameron Teague Robinson, The Athletic
“In the week leading up to the Rutgers game, Day said the Buckeyes will go as far as the defensive line takes them. He’s right. Ohio State’s defense isn’t going to be perfect. It’s going to give up big plays and touchdowns in the passing game – it needs more depth at cornerback.
“But up front, with the mix of the defensive line and linebackers Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers, the Buckeyes can dictate the game. Ohio State needs that group to control the trenches and set the tone from the start, and it did that Saturday. Chambers led the team with 11 tackles, two tackles for loss and one interception.
“The linebackers’ ability to fill run gaps and the defensive line’s ability to shed blocks took Rutgers out of its game right away. Rutgers didn’t get a first down – other than its first touchdown, a 14-yard pass – until after the four-minute mark of the first quarter. The Knights went 1-for-11 on third down in the game.
“Zach Harrison had a strong day, forcing a fumble that was recovered by nose tackle Michael Hall and tipping a pass that was intercepted by Chambers. Taron Vincent and Javontae Jean-Baptiste each had three tackles. Ohio State is far from a finished product on defense, especially with the injuries in the secondary. But Saturday was the exact template of success for Jim Knowles’ group.”
Nathan Baird, Cleveland.com
“Ohio State football sometimes looks like a nuclear reaction in progress – receivers blazing down the field like blinding flashes of light and opposing offensive lines staggered by the blast radius.
“It cannot and will not always look like a video game, though. Sometimes it takes seven plays, two penalties, two timeouts and over 16 minutes of actual human existence to score a 1-yard touchdown, as Williams finally did late in the first half.
“Call it dull dominance, or possible comfortable clumsiness. Even the underwhelming version of OSU right now splatters the bottom half of the conference.”
Phil Harrison, BuckeyesWire
“There was one moment that I especially loved, and it was when Day stuck up for his player. It wasn’t any star player either, but the punter from down under, Jesse Mirco.
“Rutgers gave a look that was most likely one that Ohio State players were told to look for and take advantage of if it presented itself. Mirco picked up on the Scarlet Knights pinching in and he took it for a first down on a fake punt with the score out of hand. But then he was leveled out of bounds on a dirty hit from Rutgers return man Aron Cruickshank in what was surely a frustration play.
“Day grew hot and began jawing with Schiano for the play, and I loved it. It’s why players love playing for Day, and it’s exactly what you would expect for a guy defending his guys.”
Michael Wachsman, NBC4
“Though the Scarlet Knights have been offensively challenged for much of the season, it was still impressive that Ohio State was able to hold them to just 3.34 yards per play. Rutgers longest gain of the day was 14 yards, and managed just 187 yards of total offense (two fewer than Williams rushing total) on the afternoon.
“There were a few anxious moments early as Rutgers appeared to have some holes to run through – holes that last year would have been open for big gains against an Ohio State defense that was often misaligned and took poor angles. This year’s group plays assignment football and finishes tackles, which is why teams have had trouble finishing drives and putting up points.”
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