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Buckeyes Week 10 Recap: Scarlet Knights Knocked Out

Piscataway, New Jersey- The heart of the schedule has finally arrived. With it, an unassuming challenge of a game unfolded for the Ohio State Buckeyes as they took on a top-ten defense Saturday in the Garden State. Ohio State struggled throughout the first half, achieving many firsts this season, but in the end came out winners in a game that could have easily turned out to be a letdown.

A first half of firsts saw the Buckeye faithful scratching their heads and wondering if this was the day they got upset, as so many seasons before. Quarterback Kyle McCord officially broke the record for most consecutive passes in school history with 18 completed in a row. Although he accomplished this feat over the course of two games (the last seven passes against Wisconsin and the first 11 against Rutgers), it is still an impressive mark. Of those first 11 passes completed, one was a touchdown to backup tight end Gee Scott, leaving many to feel that this would be an exciting blowout akin to the Purdue game a few weeks back.

Alas, the Buckeyes were held to only seven points on one score in the first half, marking the first time this has happened to the Buckeye offense this season, as they have scored a minimum of two times in the first half against every other opponent, proving that the Rutgers defense is more than up to the challenge of facing top-tier offenses.

On the other side of the ball, the Buckeye defense gave up their first play of 40 or more yards this season, although it was on fourth down fumblerooskie-esque play. The Buckeyes would also give up three scores, all field goals, and for the first time this season, trailed at the half. Albeit by two points, it was enough to cause grave concern amongst fans and critics alike.

After five seasons with Ryan Day, something should be understood about the Scarlet and Gray. They are the masters of half-time adjustments, often winning what many coaches call the “middle eight” minutes (the four minutes before the end of the half, half-time adjustments, and the first four minutes of the second half). The Buckeyes may have ended the half down, looking a bit lackluster, but they turned the tide in the second half. An early pick-six in the third quarter allowed the Bucks some breathing room, allowing for a business-as-usual ending.


Ohio State

This Buckeye team may go down as one of the best, underrated, enigmatic offenses of head coach Ryan Day’s tenure. They win, but they aren’t flashy. They score but don’t hang the expected 60-plus on every opponent. There are weapons most coaches only dream of having once in their careers, and yet the Bucks’ stables are full of Sunday-caliber talent. You have players like running back TreVeyon Henderson, who, when healthy, runs all over the competition. He is a special player to watch because when most backs shy away from the hit, he lowers his shoulder and lays the lumber. Not enough can ever be spoken about receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. He may have had a pedestrian game stat-wise, but the sheer amount of attention he draws from opposing defenses opens up the rest of the playbook. To me, being the best athlete on the field, causing entire teams to alter and shift their game plans according to one man, screams Heisman.

For the first time in years, this Buckeye defense is elite and yet vastly underrated. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has put on a master class of preparation, adjustment, and keeping the team alive as the offense figures things out.

Nine games into this season, and I’m convinced the world hasn’t seen the Buckeyes genuinely fire on all cylinders just yet. Time is running out, though. As Ohio State prepares for one embattled Michigan (State) program, the other embattled Michigan team lies in wait just around the corner.


As the world of college football evolves, head coach Greg Schiano proves time and again that defense will cover up most offenses’ shortcomings. Rutgers has been built and rebuilt on a strong foundation of defense-first principles, and the crazy thing is that it works! The Scarlet Knights are bowl-eligible for the first time since 2014. If Schiano can get some offense, they will be true contenders; until then, Rutgers will be dependent on a stout defense and gadget plays to upset the standard-bearers of the Big Ten.

Up Next:

(3) Ohio State, 9-0 (6-0), heads home for a primetime showdown with the Michigan State Spartans, 3-6 (1-5), on Saturday, 11/11, at 7:30 PM, Eastern.

Rutgers, 6-3 (3-3), will be in Iowa City, Iowa, to take on the Big Ten West-leading Hawkeyes, 7-2 (4-2), on Saturday, 11/11, at 3:30 PM, Eastern.

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

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