PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Ryan Day is doing his best to make sure second-ranked Ohio State stays sharp heading into Saturday's Big Ten road game against Rutgers without standout defensive end Chase Young. The first-year coach cautioned the team earlier this week that it can't just expect "to show up in Piscataway and win a game; that's not going to happen," but the Buckeyes are overwhelming favorites to remain unbeaten.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: Ohio State -52.5
In this week's College Football Playoff rankings, Ohio State became the first team in the CFP era to fall from the No. 1 spot after a win. It wasn't because of what the Buckeyes did (a 73-14 victory over Maryland) but rather what new No. 1 LSU pulled off - a road win at No. 5 Alabama. And while Ohio State marches toward its two biggest games of the year the following two weeks against Penn State and Michigan, Young will serve the second contest of a two-game suspension after acknowledging he accepted a loan that he has since repaid. Ohio State announced Wednesday that Young will be held out against Rutgers, which has lost 18 consecutive Big Ten games, but return for the Nov. 23 home game against Penn State.
ABOUT OHIO STATE (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten)
The Buckeyes’ high-octane offense (No. 1 nationally in scoring at 51.0 points per game) should have a field day against an overmatched Rutgers’ defense that has struggled to stop anyone this season. J.K. Dobbins (1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns on 166 carries) is the first running back in Ohio State history to rush for 1,000 yards or more in his first three seasons. Quarterback Justin Fields played only the first half against Maryland, but he still leads the country with a 27:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and his 37 touchdowns accounted for through nine games are four ahead of the record-setting pace set last year by Dwayne Haskins.
ABOUT RUTGERS (2-7, 0-6)
The Scarlet Knights, coming off a bye week, have proved to be totally inept against the Buckeyes since they came into the Big Ten for the start of the 2014 season, going 0-5 while allowing 49 or more points in each game and losing 49-7 and 56-0 the two times they’ve hosted Ohio State. Quarterback Johnny Langan has started the last five games and Isiah Pacheco has 541 yards rushing and six touchdowns for an offense that’s second-last in the Big Ten in points (14.7) and yards (280.3) per game. The defense, led by Tyshon Fogg’s 81 tackles, is worse than the offense, ranking last in rushing yards (198.7) and points (36.7) allowed per game.
1. Ohio State leads the country in scoring defense (8.6 points), total defense (214.8 yards) and pass defense (126.6 yards) after throttling Maryland's offense last week with a performance that featured 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
2. Buckeyes graduate student LT Jonah Jackson transferred from Rutgers, where he started 16 games and was honorable mention All-Big Ten in 2018.
3. Ohio State's scoring margin of 42.4 points per game leads the country.
PREDICTION: Ohio State 63, Rutgers 7