COLUMBUS – After beating Michigan two weeks ago and having last Saturday off, Rutgers was hoping to make a statement in its first Big Ten road game against Ohio State.
They made a statement, just not the one that they were hoping for.
The Scarlet Knights found themselves down 49-7 midway through the third quarter and ended up losing 56-17 to the 13th-ranked Buckeyeson Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
Ohio State still had their starters in during the third quarter and were up by a comfortable margin, but Rutgers coach Kyle Flood nor the players were about to say that the Buckeyes were running it up.
"Absolutely not. I don’t spend any time thinking about that. My job is to make sure we are doing everything we can for our program," Flood said.
Added defensive end Dave Milewski: "It is not on the coach to take it easy on a team. Who are you to say when it is enough? That’s just my opinion."
Saturday marked 21st time since 1996 that Rutgers has allowed 50 or more points and 500-plus yards in a game. It happened three times last year, including against Cincinnati when the Bearcats posted a 52-17 victory.
Rutgers’ Big Ten orientation had gone well until Saturday. They lost by three points to Penn State but defeated the Wolverines 26-24 two weeks ago. With an extra week to prepare for the Buckeyes, the Scarlet Knights were hoping to continue their momentum. Instead, they ran into a brick wall.
Ohio State welcomed Maryland to the Big Ten with a 28-point win in College Park two weeks ago. This one wasn’t even that close.
"I don’t have any concern. People who have watched us play over the course of this year know that when we play well we can compete with anyone," said Flood when asked if a loss like this sets the program back. "When we don’t play well unfortunately this is the kind of game you end up with when you don’t play good teams. Today is a great example that when you play a really talented football team the margin of error is very small."
The one thing that might have caught Rutgers a little off guard was the play of Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett. The freshman accounted for five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) as he rushed for 107 yards on seven carries. He also completed his first nine passes en route to going 19 of 31 for 261 yards.
"The only thing we didn’t see much of (from Ohio State on film) was they played a lot of empty (backfield) which set up the quarterback runs," said linebacker Kevin Snyder. "They were moving quick and if they got chunk plays or second-and-short they automatically knew the next play they were going to run and they came out with different formations and adjustments. By the time we got set we weren’t ready."
Rutgers falls to 5-2 and 1-2 in the Big Ten. Their conference slate doesn’t get easier with a trip to Nebraska next Saturday and a home date against Wisconsin on Nov. 1. They also have to travel to Michigan State on Nov. 22.