Scarlet Knights About To Be Drubbed, Not Dubbed
On Wednesday night, Urban Meyer walked into the team meeting room to the largest crowd of journalists that he has faced in a press conference this entire season.
This must mean one thing: It is prime-time game Rutgers Week.
All jokes aside, this game will be a cakewalk based on the play of the Scarlet Knights through four games. Rutgers (1-3 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) enters this matchup reeling from a tough road loss in Week 4 to Nebraska. Second-year head coach Chris Ash has trouble in Piscataway, N.J., after another slow start to a season. Meanwhile, No. 11 Ohio State (3-1, 1-0) is looking to notch another road win in conference play and build on the momentum of the last couple weeks.
Rutgers was expected to lose to Nebraska and No. 6 Washington, but a backbreaking loss to Eastern Michigan on the Knights home field was inexcusable. It was a very disappointing showing after playing Washington tough the week before.
To make matters worse, the top remaining games in their Big Ten slate, following this weekend, are all on the road.
Here is our look into what to expect in Week 5:
When Ohio State Has The Ball
There is a special connection on this side of the ball for this game. While Ash was a defensive coordinator in his time at OSU, his recruitment guidelines led him to bring in several of the Buckeyes’ offensive contributors. Players he recruited acknowledge how important he was to their road to Ohio State.
“Coach Ash played a big part (in my road to here); he was just telling me how special this place was,” said Ohio State sophomore wide receiver K.J. Hill. “I came and took an official visit, and everything that he told me was true.”
For Hill, Saturday’s game provides him with an opportunity to meet up with Ash unlike last year.
“I didn’t (seek out Ash) last year because I was in the stands because of my ankle injury, but this year I will,” he said.
As for on-the-field implications, continue to expect a heavy dose of run-pass options and screen plays from offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.
The defense for Rutgers is what has held together this team in the slightest way possible. Ranked in the top 40 in all major defensive statistics, the Knights have kept the team in games for longer than most college football fans would expect.
For most of the Washington game, the defense shut down Jake Browning and Miles Gaskin and made for watchable television. Eventually, these teams pull away late because the Scarlet Knights receive no help from their offense.
No one individual typically shines, but losing top cornerback Blessuan Austin to an ACL tear last week against Nebraska will hurt this unit.
Do not expect a total non-resistance from their defense like the UNLV game, but Rutgers has little chance of keeping this Buckeye offense under 35 points.
When Rutgers Has The Ball
Rutgers currently sits at 117th in passing offense at the FBS level, so the perfect opportunity has arrived for the Buckeye defensive backs to have a breakout game.
With the running game no producing at a much better rate, this offense is very hard to watch. Eastern Michigan held RU to 13 points and an embarrassment of an afternoon.
The Scarlet Knights will be led by Louisville transfer and senior quarterback Kyle Bolin. Through four games, Bolin has struggled with only 642 passing yards with three touchdowns and six interceptions. Carrying a 29.9 total QBR, Bolin is ranked 114th out of 126 qualified QBs at the FBS level.
All of this has to make the Silver Bullets anxious to take the field this very minute.
On the other hand, redshirt junior defensive end Sam Hubbard found a way to praise the Bolin.
“There quarterback’s a good player,” Hubbard said. “He gets the ball out fast and doesn’t allow pressure to get to him.”
To Bolin’s credit, he would be taking a script out of Indiana QB Richard Lagow’s game plan, and we know how successful the Hoosiers were early on when Lagow was able to avoid the pass rush.
Regardless, if Bolin continues to have troubles with accuracy, it will not matter how fast he gets the ball out.
If we had to pick a player that could give the Silver Bullets trouble, senior wide receiver Janarion Grant has to be the choice. Grant has abilities like UNLV’s Devonte Boyd, but he’s obviously struggling due to the lack of sufficient QB play.
The Buckeye defensive line should continue to dominate like they have thus far.
I’ll keep this short because you know what I am about to say: This one will get ugly. Obviously not on the level of last week’s bore, but High Point Solutions Stadium should continue to be a friendly place for the Buckeyes.
Rutgers will have a hard time putting up points, so the Buckeyes could easily cover the point spread. I believe this one will be decided by halftime.
No. 11 Ohio State 49, Rutgers 10