Ohio State’s star quarterback isn’t fielding as much playing time while the Buckeyes dismantle weaker competition, but his numbers remain impressive.
Sophomore quarterback Justin Fields was swapped out at halftime against Maryland and one drive into the second half against Rutgers, but still managed 200 yards on both occasions.
Against Rutgers, he did it with laser precision, dissecting the Scarlet Knights to complete 15-of-19 passes for 305 yards — a career high — and four touchdowns.
“Game by game, whatever the stats are, that’s what it is,” Fields said. “I’m just glad we got the W.”
Fields’ accuracy leapt out quickly Saturday, as the Georgia native completed his first four passes to help engineer two Ohio State scoring drives. He polished off the latter possession with an 11-yard dart to senior wide receiver Binjimen Victor to place Ohio State ahead 14-0.
Following his first incompletion, Fields started another streak of completions that lasted five throws and included a 35-yard touchdown bomb to redshirt senior wide receiver K.J. Hill.
Multiple completion strings showed Fields’ accuracy, but several deep balls demonstrated there’s a cannon attached to his right shoulder.
Most notably, Fields let loose a rocket after sophomore wide receiver Chris Olave sped beyond the defensive backfield, the spiral flying more than 50 yards in the air before landing in the wideout’s waiting arms.
Olave and Fields connected again for a 42-yard gain on the duo’s final possession of the game.
“Me and Justin, we kind of struggled earlier in the year with the deep ball,” Olave said. “He was overthrowing me, and we finally got connected today.”
Redshirt senior quarterback Chris Chugunov entered for Fields following that drive with Ohio State up 42-7. He finished 5-for-14 with 61 yards.
Given the sharp dropoff between Chugunov and Fields, a trend that’s echoed throughout Ohio State’s season, doubts about the Buckeyes’ gunslinger should Fields go down remain.
Fields said it’s obvious fans want him out of the game as soon as possible.
“It’s pretty clear on the sideline. They’re yelling my name,” Fields said. “They’re definitely crazy.”
Questions about getting the efficient Georgia transfer off the field quickly in blowouts trail Day like a shadow in press conferences.
“At halftime, we’re up 28. It just felt like that’s not enough,” Day said. “You come out there in the second half and go three-and-out, and they score. It’s 21. It’s not enough.”
Victor stepped on Fields’ hand during Saturday’s game, cutting his thumb, Fields said, but he is healthy and prepared to take on No. 9 Penn State Nov. 23.
For now, Day said the country still hasn’t seen the quarterback’s ceiling with how early he tends to exit games.
“It just goes to show you how unselfish they are,” Day said. “It’s not about their stats. If you double those stats right there, you can throw for over  or 600 yards. If he’s playing those games, he’s playing for four quarters. They’re saying he’s right there for the leader of the Heisman.”