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Football: Ohio State versus Rutgers – By the Numbers

The Buckeyes celebrate redshirt sophomore running back Mike Weber (25) after running in a touchdown in the first quarter against Rutgers on Sep. 30. Ohio State won 56-0. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

PISCATAWAY, New Jersey — After No. 11 Ohio State’s 56-0 victory over Rutgers, there are a lot of statistics to break down, few positive for Rutgers and few negative for Ohio State. Here are a few statistics selected from the game that are important to know.

7,622 – J.T. Barrett’s career passing yard total. During the blowout, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett became Ohio State’s all-time leading passer, totaling 275 passing yards in the game and increasing his career mark to 7,622 and surpassing Art Schlichter’s total of 7,547 passing yards. During the game, Barrett also became the only player in Ohio State history to total more than 10,000 all-purpose yards in a career.

Critics of Barrett have often cited inaccuracy and an inability to complete deep passes, but there is no denying the numbers: Barrett has been arguably the most productive player in Ohio State history. He now owns 23 program records and ranks up or near the top of many other lists. This game will likely not be one many look back at, but it will prove to be yet another game in which Barrett further built upon his case to be regarded as one of the greatest players in Ohio State history.

10 and 6 – carries from Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins. In Weber’s first game this season in which the Buckeyes used him throughout the game, the redshirt sophomore running back out-carried freshman J.K. Dobbins 10 to six. The third freshman in program history to rush for more than 1,000 yards a season ago, Weber was the primary back for the Buckeyes in the third quarter of the game before the majority of starters were pulled in the fourth quarter. Weber finished with 44 yards on those carries and Dobbins finished with 53.

What is probably more telling than the carries from the two running backs is what each running back made of their carries. Though Weber finished with seven fewer yards than Dobbins, he scored three of the Buckeyes’ four rushing touchdowns while Dobbins came away with none. If this game is any indication, Weber could be used as a goal-line back for the Buckeyes moving forward while Dobbins is used more as the all-purpose back for the team.

115 – receiving yards by Johnnie Dixon. Seemingly every game, a new wide receiver among the six listed as starters has a breakout game. More often than not it has been Parris Campbell, but Saturday it was Dixon, who turned in the biggest game of any Buckeye receiver. Though he brought down only three passes, he totaled 115 yards and racked up two touchdowns. He would have had another 60-yard-plus touchdown reception had it not been brought back on an offensive pass interference penalty.

Ohio State junior wide receiver Johnnie Dixon (1) runs the ball in for a touchdown in the second quarter against Rutgers on Sep. 30. Ohio State won 56-0. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

The first touchdown — a 70-yard reception — he brought down was a case of blown coverage by the defense and him standing wide open on the other side of the secondary. His next touchdown allowed him to put his blazing speed even more on display as he caught a short pass and burned past the defense for a 39-yard score. Dixon has dealt with some health issues this season, which has limited his involvement in the offense the past couple games, but if he can remain healthy, he has the quickness and hands to be one of Barrett’s favorite targets moving forward.

137 – all-purpose yards by Demario McCall. The Ohio State running game has been held down by both Barrett and Dobbins this season, but added depth is never a bad thing for a team. Especially not when part of that depth comes in the form of McCall, who appears to be able to do a little bit of everything. Against Rutgers, McCall led the Buckeyes with 103 rushing yards, caught a 35-yard touchdown pass on a wheel route and was used as a punt returner in the fourth quarter.

Though he entered the game when the game was out of reach, McCall flashed some of the tools coaches have raved about when he busted out a 48-yard touchdown run after beating every defender on the run. On the wheel route, he found himself wide open past the defense and caught a perfectly placed pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Dwayne Haskins in stride and easily ran into the end zone.

What Ohio State fans saw Saturday might not even be a fully healthy McCall, coach Urban Meyer said after the game.

“He’s still not 100 percent,” Meyer said. “He’s got more in the tank than what I saw. So, you know, in that one where he broke away, usually he’s out. We’re still fighting through that thing. He’s doing a good job trying to fight through it.”

0 – catches by Rutgers wide receivers. Ohio State cornerbacks this season have for the most part struggled to contain the pass. Over the first two games of the season, Ohio State had allowed the most passing yards in all of college football. Though it seemed to improve in the following two, those numbers came against run-heavy, non-Power 5 opponents who were not expected to put up much of a fight. But Saturday, the defense turned in its most solid performance yet, holding Rutgers to the fewest offensive yards it has allowed all season and prevented any Scarlet Knight wide receiver from bringing down a pass.

Ohio State redshirt sophomore cornerback Damon Arnette (3) guards a Scarlet Knight in the second quarter against Rutgers on Sep. 30. Ohio State won 56-0. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

Certainly, part of the problem for Rutgers came in the form of some drastic miscues on passes and inaccuracy from the quarterbacks who played. However, a shutdown game from the corners that totaled six pass breakups and two interceptions — not to mention two near interceptions early in the game from Denzel Ward — helped to provide additional confidence for the Buckeyes moving forward in their secondary.

Defensive coordinator and former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said while he was impressed with the way his defense played, he doesn’t believe the secondary has proven it has taken that step forward to become what it was last season.

“Work in progress,” Schiano said. “We have a chance to be good. But we have to really clean up a lot of stuff. But I tell you what, our kids are working so hard, that it’s going to happen.”

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