COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — J.T. Barrett completed his first nine passes, ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns and threw for three more scores to lead No. 13 Ohio State past Rutgers 56-17 on Saturday.
The Buckeyes (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) have averaged 56 points in a four-game win streak since losing at home to Virginia Tech.
Eli Apple, a New Jersey native, added a fumble return for a score.
The victory was Ohio State’s 18th in a row in the Big Ten, drawing within two of tying the conference mark set by the 2005-07 Buckeyes.
It was the worst loss in 12 years for Rutgers (5-2, 1-2), which had a three-game winning streak end. The Scarlet Knights played before their largest crowd ever (106,795).
Barrett carried just seven times and scored on runs of 33 and 5 yards. He completed 19 of 31 passes for 261 yards and three scores without an interception before departing midway through the fourth quarter.
The win marked the first time Ohio State has scored at least 50 points in four games in a row.
The teams — Rutgers in its 145th season and Ohio State its 125th — were meeting for the first time.
Gary Nova completed 17 of 28 passes for 192 yards with an interception for the Scarlet Knights, who beat Michigan 26-24 in their last game before a bye last week. Desmon Peoples carried 15 times for 83 yards and touchdowns of 1 and 12 yards.
Ezekiel Elliott totaled 69 yards on 12 carries and had a TD for Ohio State, also coming off a bye week. Rod Smith added a score on the ground as the Buckeyes — averaging 614 yards per game over their win streak — amassed 585 total yards.
The Buckeyes scored on their first three possessions — with Barrett going 8 for 8 passing — and the outcome was never really in doubt again.
He hit Nick Vannett on scoring tosses of 12 and 31 yards, the latter on a perfect lead pass over the middle before the backup tight end lumbered to the end zone. In between, Elliott carried four times in a 74-yard march that he capped with a 1-yard plunge.
The Scarlet Knights got on the board on Peoples’ 1-yard run and were still in it at 21-7 midway through the second quarter before a defensive strike by the Buckeyes.
Nova flipped a first-down pass to Janarion Grant in the left flat. Grant was hit by linebacker Darron Lee and then really got cracked by backup defensive end Rashad Frazier. Grant lost the ball as he was hitting the ground, with Apple — who almost went to his home-state school — scooping up the loose ball and trotting the final 4 yards to make it 35-7.
Nova was picked off by Doran Grant in the end zone near the close of the half.
Ahead 45-7 at the break, the Buckeyes then ate up 79 yards in just four plays after taking the second-half kickoff, with Barrett scrambling the last 33 up the middle. After a Rutgers punt, Barrett spun out of the pocket on fourth and goal and raced the final 5 yards to make it 49-7 before the third quarter was half over.
Rutgers hadn’t lost in such a landslide since a 42-0 defeat to Notre Dame in 2002.
The largest previous crowd to witness the Scarlet Knights in action was 103,925 at Tennessee in 2002.