Friday, October 23, 2015

#Buckeyes Preview 10.23.15: Ohio State @ #Rutgers Scarlet Knights

By @jddisantis

Saturday night the Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0 conf) will travel to High Point Solutions stadium to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-3, 1-2 conf) in what is a slow weekend in college football (as evident by this being a nationally televised night game).  Both teams are coming off of big wins for their respective programs and will look to continue that momentum through the Big Ten schedule.

Ohio State made national news this week as coach Urban Meyer realized what everyone in the nation had been saying for two weeks, J.T. Barrett is the better quarterback right now.  Meyer was hesitant as Cardale Jones struggled the past couple weeks to make any changes at the quarterback position.  The Buckeyes instituted a red-zone package with Barrett at quarterback two weeks ago against Maryland which proved to be the right move as the Buckeyes scored six touchdowns in six red-zone possessions against the Terrapins.  Last week against Penn State Jones once again got the start and once again struggled with accuracy, throwing for just 84 yards against the Nittany Lions.  

It took one half and two possessions into the third quarter for Meyer to replace Jones with Barrett for good.  J.T. could literally take the job and run with it as he has shown a better understanding and execution of the read-option, tallying up over 100 yards against the Nittany Lions.  "Red-zone production and third-down production were the two areas that made the difference.  (Barrett) earned that with the way he played Saturday," Meyer said.

Rutgers has won two of three and have played their three best games of the year.  Their one loss in the last three games was to then #4 Michigan State who they stuck close to and only lost by a touchdown, 31-24.  Their wins came at home vs. Kansas and most recently a comeback 55-52 victory at Indiana.

The Scarlet Knights haven't found a way to stop anybody this year as they are giving up 29.2 points per game.  They will rely on the connection of quarterback Chris Laviano to wide out Leonte Carroo and running back Robert Martin to try and keep up with the Buckeyes offense.  All three of those players are coming off of career highs in either yards or touchdowns against Indiana.

This game wouldn't garner much interest if it wasn't for the change at quarterback for the Buckeyes.  Many pundits expect the Ohio State offense to take off with J.T. Barrett under center and exhibit the dynamic playmaking ability that made them the first ever unanimous pre-season #1 team in the nation.  This team is loaded and has been getting closer and closer to exploding as the weeks have passed.  Unfortunately for Rutgers, Saturday night may be the moment it explodes.

What:  Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
When:  Saturday, October 24, 2015.  8:00 PM ET
Where:  High Point Stadium, Piscataway, New Jersey
Watch:  ABC
Line: OSU - 21.5, Over/Under 63.5

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