Week 8: Rutgers at Ohio State

    Rutgers (5-1) at Ohio State (4-1) Oct. 18, 3:30, ABC/ESPN2Here’s The Deal: Considering Rutgers all but created college football, and with the history of

    October 17, 2014

    Rutgers (5-1) at Ohio State (4-1) Oct. 18, 3:30, ABC/ESPN2

    Here’s The Deal: Considering Rutgers all but created college football, and with the history of Ohio State’s program, it’s crazy that this is the first ever meeting between the two schools. At 5-1, the Scarlet Knights have started out well, and they’re a late stop against Penn State away from being 6-0 and one of the big national stories. At least on paper, beating Washington State in Seattle, Navy on the road, and Michigan is great for a program looking to find its way in the new world of the Big Ten, but now it’s showtime with road games against Ohio State and Nebraska followed up by a home date with Wisconsin. With an ultra-efficient passing game, this is a dangerous team, but it’s going to take something special to slow down the red hot Buckeyes. 

    With the Virginia Tech loss well in the rearview mirror, Ohio State has found its stride over the last three games hanging 168 points over the last three games against Kent State, Cincinnati and Maryland. Three games away from the showdown at Michigan State, the machine has to keep on rolling, but the D could use a little tightening. These are all tune-up games in a way, but the aggressiveness of the Rutgers defensive front could pose a problem. 

    Why Rutgers Might Win: Outstanding at getting into the backfield, the Scarlet Knights have a consistent pass rush that’s registered 24 sacks on the year and always seems to find ways to make big plays. How did Virginia Tech get the win over OSU in Columbus? Seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss. The Rutgers defense has been solid, but it gives up passing yards and has hardly been a rock against several mediocre offenses. If it doesn’t hit J.T. Barrett early and often, there will be problems. On the other side of the ball, the passing game hasn’t had a problem hitting on big plays, averaging 10.4 yards per pass. However …

    Why Ohio State Might Win: The Buckeye secondary is coming off a four interception game against Maryland two weeks ago. Cincinnati’s Gunner Kiel was able to bomb away, but he had to with his defense giving up yards in bulk. Everything is working for the Buckeye offense, ripping off well over five yards per rush with 933 yards over the last three games, taking the pressure of a passing attack that’s been every bit as effective. Granted, the Kent State, Cincinnati, and Maryland defenses aren’t anything to get fired up over, but there’s no complaining for an attack that needed a little while to revamp things after losing Braxton Miller. 

    Who To Watch Out For: OSU’s J.T. Barrett completed 9-of-29 passes with three interceptions in the loss to Virginia Tech, spending most of the game fearing for his life against the fearsome pass rush. Outside of that clunker, the freshman has been absolutely spectacular. Take out that game, and he’s completing 76% of his throws with 16 touchdown passes and two picks, including an air-tight last two weeks with eight scoring throws and no interceptions against Cincinnati and Maryland. He’s not a runner like Miller, but he’s taking off when needed running for 79 yards against the Bearcats and 71 against Maryland. 

    What’s Going To Happen: It’s not stopping now. The talk will be about an Ohio State secondary that’ll give up a few too many yards, but it won’t matter – the Buckeye offense will come up with over 500 yards of near-perfect balance.

    Prediction: Ohio State 45 … Rutgers 20 
    Line: Ohio State -25 o/u: 63 
    Must Watch Factor: 5: Birdman – 1: The Voice (now that the blind auditions are over) … 3 

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