OSU grade card: Buckeyes shore up a few things in Jersey

Jim Naveau - jnaveau@limanews.com

Grading Ohio State’s 56-0 win over Rutgers in which J.T. Barrett became the career passing leader for the Buckeyes and Johnnie Dixon reminded everyone he’s really fast.

Offense: A-

Other than a couple of dropped passes, which to be realistic probably happens in most games for most teams, there isn’t much to pick at on a night when Ohio State scored 56 points and rolled up 628 yards of total offense.

It could have been even worse for Rutgers if OSU hadn’t gotten off to a slow start when it scored only seven points in the first quarter. The Buckeyes punted on two of their first three possessions and had five penalties in the first 10 minutes.

Barrett was 14 of 22 for 275 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to Dixon. The first was a 70-yarder where Dixon was all alone behind the Rutgers’ defense. The other was a 39-yard catch and run TD. If Dixon had been able to conceal a push off against a Rutgers defender just a little better he would have had another TD, but a 69-yarder was called back because of offensive pass interference.

Mike Weber scored three touchdowns on runs of three, two and one yards. It will be interesting to see how OSU divides the carries between him and J.K. Dobbins the rest of the season. Coach Urban Meyer said Weber’s preseason hamstring injury nearly required surgery.

Defense: A

Rutgers got the ball past the 50-yard line on only three of its 14 drives against OSU’s defense. One of those three drives ended with an interception, one ended when the Buckeyes stopped the Scarlet Knights on fourth down and the final one ended when a Rutgers field goal attempt hit an upright and bounced back on to the field.

The depth of Ohio State’s defensive line stood out. Defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones did not play after requiring stitches for a cut on his knee that he suffered in the locker room after practice one day last week in what Meyer called “a freak accident.” And Michael Hill, another defensive tackle who played a lot last year, has been suspended all season.

Linebacker Dante Booker had an interception and OSU’s only sack in what was statistically his best game of the season.

Special Teams: A-

In just five games, punter Drue Chrisman has become so automatic it was a shock when one of his punts went only 26 yards. But he rebounded and dropped three kicks inside the 20-yard line and none of his punts were returned. No kickoffs went out of bounds and Rutgers’ longest kickoff return was 15 yards.

Overall: A

For the third week in a row Ohio State won by a big score over a team that had zero chance of beating the Buckeyes. And for the third week in a row, OSU showed signs of improving in some of the areas that were costly in its only loss against Oklahoma.

The question remains, though, if that same consistent improvement would have been there if an opponent of Oklahoma’s caliber had been in that three-game stretch. That answer probably won’t come until the Penn State game on Oct. 28.


Jim Naveau


Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.