Rutgers puts up 21 points on No. 2 Ohio State in loss
The No. 2 football program in the nation came to the Banks on Saturday to oppose a Rutgers football team that was in the midst of a season that had seen only two victories, seven losses and the firing of its head coach leading up to its game this past weekend.
While Ohio State fulfilled its goal and, frankly, many of the expectations the team had for itself in the 56-21 defeat of the Scarlet Knights (2-8, 0-7), there were a number of traits shown by Rutgers throughout all four quarters that could lead some to actually believe the mantra that interim head coach Nunzio Campanile continues to put out following every week’s effort since his replacing of former head coach Chris Ash.
“I thought our kids played really hard throughout," Campanile said. "They competed for four quarters, all the things we’re asking them to do, and I think that when you do that, you’re just going to get better. You’re going to get growth."
At the start of the first quarter against the Buckeyes (10-0, 7-0), though, it seemed likely that any type of growth from the team would instead have to wait until next week’s matchup with Michigan State.
The first drive of the game for the Knights ended with an Ohio State interception on just the second play of the possession. That turnover would lead the Buckeyes to an eventual J.K. Dobbins touchdown, which would put the visiting team up 7-0 after just 2:01 of playing time.
After a few more scores that would give Ohio State a 21-0 lead heading into the latter end of the first 15 minutes of play, a Rutgers touchdown on a 26-yard rush by sophomore running back Isaih Pacheco was able to put the program on the board with just 1:18 left in the quarter.
“I’m proud of my (offensive line) for doing a good job tonight," Pacheco said. "We just keep working hard and it was motivating everybody to just keep going."
With the commencement of the second quarter, the Buckeyes immediately sought to expand their lead over the Knights as a 35-yard touchdown pass from Justin Fields to K.J. Hill was able to give Ohio State a four-score lead over its opponent with 14:54 left to play in the half.
Though insurmountable this lead would now be for Rutgers, there did happen to be a number of instances in which the Knights seemed to be unaware of this realization, with the team’s defensive and offensive lines being a prime example of the fight the program continued to display.
After a failed third-down conversion by the Buckeyes late in the second quarter, Ohio State decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line with a Dobbins rush.
Junior linebacker Tyreek Maddox-Williams tackled him for a loss to force a turnover on downs. It’s important to keep in mind that his team was down 28-7 at this point in the game against an offense that was ranked fifth in the nation.
Fast forward past the end of the second and the entirety of the third quarter, where the Buckeyes were able to brush off a 45-yard Rutgers touchdown pass to produce three more scores, the Knights were now facing a second-and-goal at the 1-yard line with the scoreboard reading 56-14 in Ohio State’s favor.
Rutgers’ offensive line, which had allowed only one sack the entire game against the top-ranked defense in the nation, protected redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Langan enough to allow the Boston College transfer to sneak in for the touchdown.
In regard to the score, Langan’s rush didn’t matter. The Buckeyes went on to finish out the victory and began to look forward to next week’s matchup against Penn State seemingly as soon as the clock expired.
When referring to the character and fight that the Knights displayed throughout the entirety of the game, though, the 1-yard rush seemed to be another example of what Campanile described his team’s culture to consist of.
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