The No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes returned to Big Ten play in explosive fashion, hammering the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 52-13, Saturday afternoon on the banks of the Raritan River at SHI Stadium in Piscataway, N.J.
With the win, the Buckeyes improve to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in Big Ten play, while the Scarlet Knights fall to 3-2 overall and 0-2 in conference action. Ohio State improved to 8-0 all-time vs. Rutgers and extended its Big Ten win streak to 20 straight games.
Redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud returned under center in stellar fashion with 330 passing yards on 17-of-23 attempts with a season-high five touchdown passes. Senior wide receiver Chris Olave led a talented receiving core with five receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
Junior Garrett Wilson caught three receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown, while classmate tight end Jeremy Ruckert caught four receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson rushed for 71 yards on just eight carries with one touchdown. On the other side of the ball, sophomore safety Ronnie Hickman posted a team-high 12 tackles.
The Ohio State offense was dominant from the opening possession, registering 197 yards of total offense for 24 points in the opening 15 minutes of play.
Following a fake punt by Rutgers that backfired at midfield, Henderson blasted through the left side untouched for a 44-yard touchdown run to put the Buckeyes up early, 7-0.
It didn’t take long for the Scarlet and Gray to find the end zone again when Denzel Burke picked off Rutgers quarterback Noah Vedral on the following drive for a 23-yard pick-six interception at 11:33.
Ohio State kept tallying points on the board when Noah Ruggles split the uprights on a 23-yard field goal at 5:45. Just three minutes later, Stroud found Wilson across the middle of the field for a 32-yard touchdown reception at 2:34 for the 24-0 lead.
A 75-yard touchdown reception by Aron Cruickshank from Vedral ignited the Rutgers crowd momentarily before the Buckeye special teams unit blocked the extra point to put the score at 24-6.
Ohio State hit the 30-point mark just 2:29 into the second quarter. Mitch Rossi, a former walk-on and fifth-year senior, caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Stroud for his first reception in a Buckeye uniform.
The Buckeye offense continued to click on all cylinders, scoring for the sixth straight possession to open the game, 38-6. A four-play, 50-yard drive ended with a Stroud strike to tight end Jeremy Ruckert for a 19-yard reception for his first TD of the season at 6:27. The score marked the fifth different Buckeye to find the end zone on the day.
Olave piled on the first-half rout with a 56-yard touchdown reception from Stroud at 3:24 for the 45-6 score. The OSU senior tight roped down the left sideline into the end zone for his 26th touchdown reception of his career, passing former Buckeye Santonio Holmes for fourth all-time in OSU history.
The OSU offense cumulated 395 yards of total offense in the first half. The Silver Bullet defense held the Rutgers offense to 33 yards in the second quarter. Hickman led the way with nine tackles in the first half.
Redshirt freshman defensive back Ryan Watts joined the turnover party to start the fourth quarter with his first career interception on an errant pass downfield by Vedral. The Scarlet Knights found the end zone at 7:40 in the fourth on a 12-yard touchdown reception by Joshua Youngblood.