Friday, September 30, 2016

Buckeyes Preview 9.30.16: Rutgers Scarlett Knights @ Ohio State Buckeyes

By Jason Disantis, @JasonInCLE

This Saturday the #2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0) are back at home for their homecoming game and to start conference play against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten).  The Buckeyes are coming off of a bye week after their biggest win of the season on the road against Oklahoma while Rutgers is heading to Columbus after losing to Iowa last week.  

The biggest story line of this game has more to do with who will be on the sidelines rather than on the field.  Rutgers head coach, Chris Ash, was Urban Meyer's co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach from January 2014 to December 2015.  And while the Ohio State coaching staff will recognize many of the coaches across the field this game should bring back some memories for current Buckeyes co-defensive coordinator and former Rutgers head coach, Greg Schiano.  

Meyer has already noticed the impact Ash and the coaches he took with him have made on the defensive side of the ball for Rutgers.

"They do a very good job and their defensive line is much improved and the guys are bigger and stronger and they also stole one of our strength coaches, Kenny Parker, and it looks like it.  They're very strong," said Meyer. 

Although these coaches know each other well the talent on the field is still worlds apart.  

J.T. Barrett will resume his Heisman campaign as he looks to improve on his 650 yards passing and 13 total touchdowns through three games. Barrett leads the Big Ten in passing efficiency and touchdowns while orchestrating an offense which leads the conference in scoring average.  

Mike Weber is number two in the Big Ten in total rushing and yards per game only to Rutgers junior running back Robert Martin.  

The Buckeyes defense will be looking to add to their conference leading 11 turnovers this Saturday.  Previously turnover-free Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was picked off twice by the Silver Bullets secondary as the Buckeyes "basic" defense proved to be a problem for the Sooners.  Now the Buckeyes will look to force a Rutgers offense lead by senior quarterback Chris Laviano into the same mistakes.  

Chris Ash has a lot of work to do at Rutgers before the Scarlet Knights can stand toe-to-toe against the Buckeyes and come out winners.  The talent differential is just too much and it would take a major letdown by Ohio State to give this game up at home.  It's going to be good for the Buckeyes to get their first taste of Big Ten play this year as they have some tough in-conference match-ups in the upcoming weeks.  

What:  Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
When:  Saturday October 1, 2016 at 12:00 PM ET
Where:  Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Watch:  Big Ten Network (BTN)
Line: OSU -39, O/U 60

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