Ohio State Football: Buckeyes Shake Off Slow Start, Dominate Late in Road Win

Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports
Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports

Offensive stars and the defense step up in the second half for Ohio State as the Buckeyes pass another road test.

The Ohio State Buckeyes improved to 9-0 on the year overall, 6-0 in Big Ten play, with a 35-16 win Saturday afternoon in Piscataway, New Jersey over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Ohio State played very similarly to their previous game against Wisconsin, which featured a slow start and strong finish.

Ohio State scored on their second drive of the game on a 14-yard touchdown pass to Senior tight end Gee Scott Jr., but that was as far as the offense got in the first half. The six first half drives for the Buckeyes resulted in one touchdown, three punts, one turnover on downs, and an interception late in the half. Rutgers used kicks from 20, 21, and 22 yards out in the second quarter to take a 9-7 lead over Ohio State into the locker room.

With no surprise to Buckeye Nation, Ohio State played a much better and more complete game in the second half. Junior cornerback Jordan Hancock took the lead back and sparked the team with a huge 93-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the third quarter. This swung the momentum to the Buckeyes, and the key contributors on offense took it from there.

Junior running back TreVeyon Henderson continued his All-American level play with a nine-yard touchdown run late in the quarter to build the lead up to 21-9. After a nice touchdown catch by Rutgers, junior wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. said let me do you one better. He caught two passes in the fourth quarter after Rutgers had pulled within five, to make it a 19-point lead for Ohio State.

Junior quarterback Kyle McCord had another up and down game under the center going 19/26 for 189 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception. Harrison found the endzone twice but three Buckeyes had more yards through the air. Freshman Carnell Tate and Junior Emeka Egbuka had a combined six catches and 60 yards.

The leading rusher and receiver were both none other than Henderson, who is producing new highlights every week. Henderson was the only rusher with more than two carries, posting 22 carries, 128 rushing yards and a touchdown. He led the team in receptions (5) and receiving yards (80), showing he is amongst the best of stuffing the stat sheet.

Senior linebacker Tommy Eichenberg led the defense once again with 12 tackles, two solo tackles, and making plays all over the field. Sophomore safety Sonny Styles, along with Hancock, stepped up in the secondary with multiple injuries in that group. The defense posted one sack and four tackles for loss, with seven different Silver Bullets registering at least half a tackle for loss.

Rutgers outgained Ohio State 361-328 due to their success in the run game where they had 232 yards and 5.4 yards per carry. Ohio State was a little more efficient on third and fourth down going 6/12 and 1/2 respectively. Both teams had one turnover on an interception, and Rutgers kept the ball for a little over 11 more minutes than the Buckeyes.

Next up for Rutgers is a road matchup Saturday afternoon at 3:30pm against the 7-2 Iowa Hawkeyes. Ohio State returns home after two tough road tests against the struggling 3-6 Michigan State Spartans Saturday night at 7:30pm.