COLUMBUS — Rutgers, known as the Scarlet Knights, traipsed into a soggy Ohio Stadium wearing all white uniforms Saturday.
The State University of New Jersey needed a white knight against the fourth-ranked Buckeyes. Instead, the all-white threads signaled surrender.
No team in recent years has taken a beating like Rutgers against Ohio State. In five meetings since joining the Big Ten, Rutgers has been outscored 271-27 by the Buckeyes.
OSU’s 52-3 victory was more of the same in the lopsided series. The conference win also puts Ohio State in the catbird seat of the Big Ten East Division, a position the Buckeyes might occupy all season long.
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What happened: Ohio State got the ball and scored. Again, and again, and again.
For the second consecutive game, a deluge of rain descended on the Horseshoe — and so did points.
Ohio State scored on five of its six first-half possessions, building a 35-0 halftime lead. The Buckeyes rolled up 310 yards of offense, limiting Rutgers to 45 yards and four first downs.
It didn’t get better in the second half for the Scarlet Knights, who had 134 total yards and 12 first downs.
Behind Dwayne Haskins, the Buckeye offense put up silly numbers for the second consecutive week — 32 first downs, 52 points, and 579 yards. Johnnie Dixon, J.K. Dobbins, Parris Campbell, Luke Farrell, Terry McLaurin, and Tate Martell all reached paydirt.
It was over when: Rutgers punted after the game’s opening possession. OK, maybe that’s harsh, but it isn’t far off from being the truth. On Ohio State’s fifth play from scrimmage, Haskins connected with Dixon on a 38-yard touchdown pass, and the Buckeyes never looked back.
He said it: Martell actually didn’t say anything, but his reaction drew plenty of laughs. In his postgame press conference, Martell was asked by Ari Wasserman of The Athletic if he wants Haskins to leave for the NFL after the season. Martell smiled and shook his head.
Buckeye standouts: Is there enough space? Haskins completed 20 of 23 passes for 233 yards and four touchdowns, and he didn’t have the highest quarterback rating on his team. That belonged to Martell, who finished 10-of-10 passing for 121 yards and a touchdown — and a 47-yard touchdown run.
Dixon was Haskins’ favorite target, catching four passes — including two touchdowns — for 89 yards. Dobbins ran only 12 times, adding up to 73 yards and a touchdown.
Defensive end Nick Bosa continued his trendy Heisman campaign with five solo tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, and a quarterback hurry. His counterpart, Chase Young, had two sacks, but he was ejected in the fourth quarter after his second personal foul.
Play of the game: Take your pick. One of Ohio State’s seven touchdowns or maybe a defensive highlight? The play most indicative of the afternoon was Martell’s 51-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open McLaurin on third-and-16 in the second quarter.
The Buckeyes already were leading 21-0, but the lost Rutgers cornerback on an underthrown ball typified the mismatch on the field.
Statistically speaking: If stats do lie, one of the biggest examples of fibbing all season will be Rutgers’ defensive ranking after Week 1. The Scarlet Knights were No. 7 nationally after beating Texas State, arguably the worst team in the Football Bowl Subdivision, 35-7 and allowing just 169 total yards. Eighteen minutes into this affair, Ohio State had 180 yards and led 21-0.
■ A third-quarter field goal by Rutgers ended a stretch of 156 consecutive Ohio State points against the Scarlet Knights. The Buckeyes won 58-0 in 2016, 56-0 in 2017, and scored the first 42 points in this one.
■ Bad weather, bad opponent, bad attendance. That phrase isn’t trademarked, but perhaps it should be. Steady rain and Rutgers brought only 93,057 fans to Ohio Stadium, the first sub-100,000 game since 2002 against Kent State, a streak of 114 games.
■ Bosa has at least one sack in the past five games. During that span, he has 7½ sacks.
Next week: The final non-Urban Meyer game is one of the biggest of the season for the Buckeyes, who travel to Arlington, Texas, to take on No. 16 TCU (2-0). The neutral site game at Jerry World, where Ohio State won the 2014 national championship and beat USC in the Cotton Bowl, will be a virtual home game for the Horned Frogs. Haskins will be making his first start away from Ohio Stadium, and Ryan Day will coach his first game outside the comforts of the home sideline.
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