In the end, both No. 2 Ohio State and Rutgers are exactly who we thought they were.
Heading into their Week 12 matchup in Piscataway, the Buckeyes were a 52-point road favorite over another Power Five program. After 60 minutes of play, OSU didn’t cover but they did make easy work of its hosts, jumping out to a 35-7 halftime lead en route to a 56-21 win over the woebegone Scarlet Knights.
In two quarters plus one series of third-quarter work, Justin Fields passed for 305 yards and threw the same amount of touchdowns (four) as he had incompletions (15-19 passing on the day). This marked Fields’ first career 300-yard passing game — yeah, I couldn’t believe it either, but then again he hasn’t played the second half of very many games during his first season as a starter — and the fourth time he’s thrown for four scores in a single game.
The Heisman hopeful has now accounted for 41 touchdowns on the season — 31 passing, 10 rushing.
The Buckeyes’ defense, which came into the game first nationally in both total defense (214.8 yards per game) and scoring defense (8.6 points per game), limited the limp Scarlet Knights offense to 231 yards of offense in the game, including just 185 through three quarters of play. OSU, which also boasts the country’s top scoring offense at 51 ppg, has now won all 10 games by at least 24 points this season, the longest such streak in school history. OSU’s “closest” games this season? A pair of 24-point wins — 45-21 over Florida Atlantic in the opener, 34-10 over then-No. 25 Michigan State in early October.
With this in-season conference scrimmage safely behind them, Ohio State can now turn its full attention to a pair of key games to close out the regular season — home against No. 9 Penn State in Week 13, on the road at No. 15 Michigan the following Saturday. For that huge stretch, that dominating Buckeye defense will get back Chase Young, who was suspended for a pair of games over an NCAA violation.
For Rutgers, they drop to 2-8 on the season overall and 0-7 in Big Ten play. The Scarlet Knights, who fired their head coach earlier this season, have lost every one of their conference games this season by at least 35 points.