Ohio State football: 5 things to know about blowout win over Rutgers

Ohio State wasted no time exerting its dominance at Rutgers on Saturday afternoon.

The 11th-ranked Buckeyes scored early and often en route to a 52-13 win.

Cam Martinez broke up a pass on a fake punt to stop the Scarlet Knights’ first possession, TreVeyon Henderson broke off another long run, and Ohio State never looked back.

“You have to play well early in conference games like this, especially on the road, and hopefully take the crowd out of it,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said. “I thought the play that Cam Martinez made was was a big play and then a couple plays later we scored the touchdown with TreVeyon and that kind of got us going.”

Here are five things to know about the game:

1. C.J. Stroud made a triumphant return.

The redshirt freshman quarterback sat out last week’s win over Akron to rest a sore throwing shoulder, and looked like a new man against Rutgers.

He was sharp in his throws and decisions while completing 17 of 23 passes for 330 yards and five touchdowns. He also seemed a little less reluctant to run and picked up 13 yards on two carries.

“That week off really helped,” Stroud told reporters in Piscataway after the game. “It helped me rest, and I did every precaution I could to get it back to feeling right and it felt really good. I just think it will get better and better. I’m blessed to even be in this position to even play at this great university and be healthy. A lot of dudes aren’t healthy right now, so I just have to deal with it.”

He said there were benefits both physical and psychological.

“It helped me to take a week off and really step back and realize what position I’m in,” he said. “This is a big-time university, a big-time fan base, a big-time everything and I’m blessed to even be in this predicament. So a week off really helped me step back and notice what I’m into and that’s why I’m just blessed by God, man. Without Him, I wouldn’t be nothing.”

2. The freshmen continued to bring it.

First-year players have been making headlines all season for Ohio State, and Saturday was no different.

Henderson started the scoring with a 44-yard touchdown run with 12:13 on the clock in the first quarter, and fellow true freshman Denzel Burke returned an interception 23 yards for a touchdown 40 seconds later to make it 14-0.

On defense, J.T. Tuimoloau had a tackle for loss while fellow defensive lineman Tyleik Williams had a pressure to force an interception.

The quick scores set the tone for a blowout, though Henderson’s day was short. He sat out the second half of the second quarter and did not play in the second half.

Day told reporters that was a coach’s decision and he could have returned if needed.

Henderson finished with 71 yards on eight carries while Burke added three tackles.

3. Ohio State has returned an interception for a touchdown in three straight games.

A lack of play-making was among the problems for the Buckeyes defensively in the first two games, but they have made up for it the last three.

Burke’s pick-six continued a trend that started with Martinez in Week 3 against Tulsa and continued when Ronnie Hickman returned an interception for a score last week against Akron.

“Before I think they were just trying to get lined up and everything they were doing was for the first time, so I thought the defensive staff did a great job just with the plan,” Day said. “They mixed up the looks, created disruption in the backfield and we were able to create some turnovers.”

4. The starting defense gave up one big play but was pretty good otherwise.

Ohio State suffered a breakdown when Aron Cruickshank caught a short pass in the middle of the secondary and outran the Buckeyes for a 75-yard score, but that was about all they gave up when the starters were in the game.

Rutgers had six points and 221 yards through three quarters before tacking on 125 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter against OSU reserves.

The Buckeyes finished with three takeaways and held Rutgers to under five yards per play.

5. Chris Olave tied a local legend’s mark.

A senior receiver from California, Olave caught the 26th and 27th touchdown passes of his Ohio State career.

That moved him into a tie with Cris Carter for No. 3 on the Buckeyes’ all-time list.

Carter, a Middletown High School grad, congratulated Olave via Twitter and later added, “I’ve got love for these kids. Everybody told me never to go to Ohio State because they won’t throw the football. Now WRs still making the right decision!”

Carter’s mark was the career record when he finished his OSU career in 1986, as were his 186 receptions (now third).

David Boston holds the school record for touchdown catches with 34 while Devin Smith is second with 30.

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