PISCATAWAY, New Jersey — The cannon at High Point Solutions Field, which fires after every Rutgers score, did not go off until the Scarlet Knights headed into halftime, almost signaling the home fans to wake up after watching Ohio State drop 35 unanswered points in the first half.
It was not set off again the rest of the game.
The Buckeyes, boosted by three punch-in touchdowns from running back Mike Weber and two touchdown receptions from wideout Johnnie Dixon, continued to pour it on in the second half en route to a 56-0 victory Saturday night.
“We came into a Big Ten opponent that played some pretty good football in the past and you won a game,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “These guys are pros and took care of business. We got a lot out of it. You got a win win and you got some young guys playing and some guys getting game experience.”
Ohio State (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) dominated the Scarlet Knights (1-4, 0-2 Big Ten) in all facets of the game as the Buckeyes led 628-209 in total yards.
Before he was subbed out for redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins late in the third quarter amid the blowout, redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett passed Art Schlichter to become Ohio State’s career passing yard leader near the end of the first half. He also broke the 10,000 yard mark for career total offensive yards with his 37-yard carry early in the first quarter, becoming the first Buckeye to accomplish the feat.
“I think it’s pretty crazy, honestly,” Barrett said. “I didn’t think it was going to be me. It’s almost like, why not me? It could be me. But did I think about it before like, hey, I’m going to go out there and break these records? That never came across my mind, I was just worried about winning football games and playing at a high level and just trying to continue to do that.”
Barrett completed 14-of-22 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns and added 89 rushing yards on 10 carries.
Freshman running back J.K. Dobbins had his fifth start of the season and his career, but Weber scored the first points of the game and his first touchdown of the season with a 1-yard plunge with 10:29 to go in the first quarter. He followed that with the second score of the game, as he took a carry up the middle for a 3-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.
Weber scored his third touchdown of the game when he crossed the goalline for a 2-yard touchdown with 0:46 left in the second quarter. The redshirt sophomore carried the ball 10 times for 44 yards. Dobbins took six carries for 53 yards, the lowest total of his career, and averaged 8.8 yards per carry.
“Gotta knock the rust off of [Weber] a little bit, but there’s not doubt we want to get both those cats involved,” Meyer said. “It’s going to be enjoyable to have those two checkers to work with.”
Midway through the second quarter, Barrett hit Dixon for a 70-yard touchdown after the redshirt junior broke open due to broken coverage and found himself alone behind every Rutgers defender.
Dixon scored his second touchdown of the half when he took a short pass, juked a defender and raced down the sideline, tip-toeing for a 39-yard touchdown with 4:08 remaining in the second quarter to give Ohio State a 28-0 lead. Dixon potentially had a third 60-plus yard touchdown called back in the third quarter as he pushed off and was flagged for pass interference.
Sophomore wide receiver Binjimen Victor used all of his 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame to reel in a 22-yard touchdown pass in the front corner of the endzone from Barrett, who was subbed out after the drive, which put the Buckeyes up 42-0 with 8:02 remaining in the third quarter.
“We’re on a roll, but we’re realistic,” Meyer said.
Ohio State’s dominance extended to its defense as Rutgers did not score and tallied just 209 yards, including 92 through the air.
Linebacker Dante Booker picked off the first pass of his career with 2:52 remaining in the first quarter. The Scarlet Knights had reached the red zone for the first time of the game, but would not cross Ohio State’s 20-yard line until the middle of the third quarter.
“I definitely got a taste,” Booker said. I don’t see myself pulling back from that. It felt good. I’m going to try to get that feeling again.”
Senior safety Damon Webb also picked off a pass as he snagged his second interception in as many games on the Scarlet Knights’ first drive of the second half.
Rutgers quarterbacks Kyle Bolin, Johnathan Lewis, Giovanni Rescigno and wideout Hunter Hayek combined to complete 11-of-27 passes for 92 yards.
In relief of Barrett, Haskins went 3-for-6 for 47 yards and tossed a touchdown. He hit sophomore H-back Demario McCall for a 35-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter. McCall took 11 carries for a team-leading 103 yards in his first extended playing time of the season. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Joe Burrow completed 2-of-2 passes late in the fourth quarter.
Redshirt junior receiver Terry McLaurin caught five passes for 51 yards, including a 27-yarder which is the longest reception of his career. The next play, he drilled junior linebacker Deonte Roberts on a crackback block and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones (leg), linebacker Chris Worley (sprained foot), safety Erick Smith (undisclosed issue) and running back Antonio Williams (undisclosed medical issue) did not play for Ohio State. Jones scraped his leg on a locker after practice this week and required stitches. He will likely miss next week’s game, Meyer said after the game.
Ohio State will look to extend its winning streak when the Buckeyes play host to Maryland (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) next Saturday at Ohio Stadium.