May 28, 2024

Here are 4 things we learned from the Ohio State Buckeyes’ 35-16 win over Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Here are four things we learned from Ohio State’s 35-16 win at Rutgers on Saturday:

TreVeyon Henderson adds another gear

Running backC Henderson might be as valuable to the Buckeyes’ offense as superstar wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.

That was evident on a game-changing catch early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Kyle McCord dumped a pass off to Henderson on third-and-9.

Henderson was 6 yards shy of a first down when he caught it but sped past linebacker Dariel Djabome to reach the marker and continued on, outrunning nearly a half-dozen defenders before being tripped up by cornerback Max Melton at Rutgers’ 9-yard line.

More:Everything you need to know ahead of Ohio State’s game against Rutgers

The burst by Henderson turned an ordinary check down into a gain of 65 yards, a show of explosiveness that set the Buckeyes up to go ahead by two scores later in the drive.

“I wasn’t even expecting it to be that big,” Henderson said.

Since his return from an injury, Henderson has twice surpassed 200 all-purpose yards.

He had 207 total yards last week at Wisconsin, with 162 rushing yards and 45 receiving yards.

In the win over Rutgers, he finished with 208 yards with 128 on the ground and 80 through the air.

Defense remains tough in the red zone

The Buckeyes have made a series of stands at the goal line over the past two weeks to put themselves in position to pull away in the second half.

There was the moment late in the second quarter last week at Wisconsin when linebacker Tommy Eichenberg caught running back Braelon Allen on a shovel pass on third down at the 1-yard line, leading the Badgers to settle for a field goal.

Three times in the first half on Saturday, Ohio State’s defense was backed up inside its 5-yard line.

All three times, it forced the Scarlet Knights into kicking field goals, ensuring OSU was behind by only a 9-7 score at halftime.

Opponents have made eight trips to the red zone over the past two games, but the Buckeyes have allowed them to reach the end zone only twice.

“We have a lot of confidence,” defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said. “Obviously, we wouldn’t like to let them down there. But the guys know what to do.

Issues continue on special teams

Special teams continue to be a thorn in the side of Ohio State.

In the second quarter, punter Jesse Mirco attempted to run for a first down rather than kick the ball.

But Mirco picked up only 2 yards, stopped well short of moving the chains, resulting in Ohio State handing over possession at the Buckeyes’ 32-yard line.

Rutgers capitalized on the favorable field position, tacking on the second of three field goals by Jai Patel.

Buckeyes coach Ryan Day said they did not call a fake punt and that it was the result of a miscommunication.

“That can’t happen,” Day said.

He declined to comment further on the issues that led to the mishap.

The sequence was reminiscent of another gaffe on special teams deep in their own territory last month against Maryland.

At the end of the Buckeyes’ opening possession against the Terrapins, long snapper John Ferlmann hiked the ball to linebacker Cody Simon, who was lined up as one of the upbacks, instead of Mirco, setting up Maryland’s first touchdown drive.

Trick plays strike again

Rutgers’ trickeration against the Buckeyes continued.

It was in the middle of the second quarter when Greg Schiano dialed up a variation of a “fumblerooski.”

On a fourth-and-1 at their 43-yard line, quarterback Gavin Wimsatt took a snap from underneath center Gus Zilinskas, but rather than place the ball on the turf, Wimsatt hiked it between his own legs to running back Kyle Monangai.

Most of the Buckeyes had converged on Wimsatt, allowing Monangai to slip off down the field for a gain of 45 yards.

“That was great play by them,” Knowles said. “It was a nice trick play.”

It also was the longest play from scrimmage allowed by Ohio State, which had not surrendered one longer than 40 yards through the first nine weeks.

Rutgers has tried a series of trick plays against the Buckeyes since Schiano returned in 2020, but none were as critical as the one they pulled on Saturday.

The play led to the first points for the Scarlet Knights — a 22-yard field goal by Patel — by positioning them inside the red zone and provided them with a spark.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *