Ohio State notes: Rutgers pulls out all the tricks

Ohio State celebrates victory against Rutgers on Nov. 7, 2020.

Buckeyes improve to 7-0 against Rutgers

Ohio State Buckeyes coach Ryan Day had never seen anything quite like the magic show Rutgers performed Saturday night at Ohio Stadium.

Explore» PHOTOS: Buckeyes vs. Scarlet Knights

The Scarlet Knights made an otherwise forgettable game memorable with a number of trick plays and onside kicks. It didn’t lead to a victory or even a competitive game, but it did help Rutgers keep the score more respectable.

The Buckeyes won 49-27. It’s the closest game between the two teams in seven meetings, all won by Ohio State, since 2014.

Rutgers ran its first trick play on the opening kickoff as the player who received the kickoff threw a lateral across the field. It helped Rutgers advance the ball to the 36-yard line. Rutgers coach Greg Schiano thought that one was going to go the distance but credited Ohio State’s speed for stopping it. A similar play on a punt late in the game did lead to a score.

“That’s what they pay us for,” said Schiano, a former Ohio State defensive coordinator in his first season in his second stint at Rutgers. “We’ll dream something up. I believe every week is a one-game season. You literally mourn it when you lose. I know many people didn’t expect us to win, but we did. We expected to win, and we didn’t win, so we’re mourning this right now. It’s hard. We’ve got to learn from it.”

Ohio State ran a trick play of its own in the first half. Steele Chambers took the snap on a punt and ran 38 yards. It led to Ohio State’s third touchdown.

“We knew Greg was going to be aggressive with special teams, have some different things," Day said. "We didn’t know it was going to be all of those things. We wanted to be aggressive as well. I thought the fake punt really allowed us to pull away in the second half.”

Explore» HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Roger Bacon ends Shawnee's run

Return to action: Linebacker Justin Hilliard was back on the field after missing the last two games: the first with an injury and the second because of a false positive COVID-19 test. He said there was frustration and a little bit of anger when he couldn’t play against Penn State.

“I know this is my last shot at playing,” Hilliard said. “Being out there means so much. The last couple of weeks haven’t gone how I wanted them to go. Overall, we’ve got a lot to work on, but it was great to be back out there.”

Lineup change: Freshman kicker Jake Seibert, a Cincinnati La Salle graduate, made his first start, replacing the injured Blake Haubeil. Seibert made 7 of 7 extra points.

Walk-on Dominic DiMaccio filled in for Haubeil when he suffered an injury during the Penn State game. DiMaccio handled kickoffs against Rutgers.

Around the Big Ten: When Ohio State returns to Ohio Stadium in two weeks, it could be playing another undefeated team. Indiana has beaten Penn State, Rutgers and Michigan and plays Michigan State next.

Ohio State travels to Maryland next and then plays the Hoosiers at home on Nov. 21. Ohio State and Indiana (each 3-0) are the only undefeated teams left in the East Division.

In Other News