COLUMBUS, Ohio – The outcome of Ohio State’s 52-3 win over Rutgers on Saturday at Ohio Stadium was no surprise. But the method OSU used to score those 52 points might have been.
On a day that was rainy enough to keep around 10,000 ticket holders at home, the Buckeyes’ quarterbacks combined to complete 30 of 33 passes for 354 yards and five touchdowns.
Starter Dwayne Haskins was 20 of 23 for 233 yards and four touchdowns and his back-up Tate Martell was 10 of 10 for 121 yards and a TD. Martell also was OSU’s leading rusher with 95 yards on eight carries, including a 47-yard touchdown run.
“Just before the game I was really in an upbeat tempo and I felt really good about how it was going to go today,” Haskins said. “Regardless of the rain, the receivers did a great job catching the ball and it’s a testament to how good our offense is.”
The running game, which the conventional wisdom said might dominate in conditions like Saturday’s, played a secondary role in Ohio State’s offense.
Mike Weber, who got the start at tailback, rushed for 31 yard on eight carries and J.K. Dobbins had 73 yards on 12 carries.
There was little doubt which direction this game was headed after only a few minutes.
No. 4 Ohio State (2-0, 1-0 Big Ten) led 35-0 at halftime and out-gained Rutgers 310 yards to 45 yards in the first two quarters. For the game, OSU had a 579 yards to 134 yards advantage.
Ohio State scored the first time it had the ball on a 38-yard touchdown pass from Haskins to Johnnie Dixon. Haskins struck again later in the first quarter when he hit Parris Campbell with a 16-yard TD pass to make it 14-0.
The lead grew to 21-0 a minute and a half into the second quarter when tight end Luke Farrell caught his first career touchdown pass, a nine-yarder from Haskins.
Martell threw his first career touchdown pass, a 51-yarder, to Terry McLaurin for a 28-0 lead and Dobbins’ 2-yard run made it a 35-0 game five minutes before halftime.
Dixon’s 44-yard touchdown catch, Martell’s touchdown run and a 21-yard field goal by Sean Nuernberger in the second half sent the Buckeyes home with a second straight big offensive game after scoring 77 against Oregon State in its opener.
“We have a lot of talent on offense. And I think that, combined with the tempo, has been great,” acting head coach Ryan Day said. “I thought we got into some good plays based on what they were giving us and we took some shots in the pass game and hit them.”
Chase Young had two sacks and Nick Bosa had one for an Ohio State defense that Day said was “smothering” Rutgers’ offense.
Bosa’s sack just before halftime knocked Rutgers freshman quarterback Artur Sitkowski out of the game after he was 6 of 18 for 38 yards in the first two quarters.
Rutgers dropped to 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the Big Ten with the loss.
Rutgers coach Chris Ash said, “Obviously we ran into a real good football team today. When you play teams like this on the road, the margin for error is very small and we made a lot of mistakes. They took advantage of those mistakes, capitalized on them and you just can’t do that against good teams. It was disappointing.”