COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — J.T. Barrett broke the school record for career touchdown passes with the third of his four TD tosses Saturday, No. 2 Ohio State’s stifling defense forced Rutgers to punt on each of its 10 drives and the surging Buckeyes gave Chris Ash a rude welcome in his return to The Horseshoe with a 58-0 victory.
Barrett was 21 for 29 for 238 yards before giving way to backup Joe Burrow near the end of the third quarter. He now has 59 TD passes in 27 career games for Ohio State.
“There’s no doubt he’s a Heisman candidate,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.
Freshman tailback Mike Weber continued to cement his place in the Ohio State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) backfield, rushing for 144 yards on 14 attempts before also taking a seat in the third quarter. He also scored a touchdown, cutting around the left end and racing untouched for a 46-yard score 2 1/2 minutes into the second half.
Ohio State’s superb defense never allowed the Scarlet Knights (2-3, 0-2) to penetrate deeper than the Ohio State 38 yard line. They sacked quarterback Chris Laviano three times and allowed just 33 passing yards.
“They smothered us,” said Rutgers coach Ash, who spent the past two seasons as a co-defensive coordinator for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State piled up 669 yards of total offense, including 410 on the ground. Barrett threw touchdown passes to four different receivers.
“They played exceptionally well today, so no, they were not better than I thought, and I thought all along they were pretty darn good,” Ash said.
Safety Chris Cioffi had one of the few highlights for Rutgers, picking off a Barrett pass on Ohio State’s opening drive.
“We came out and fought in the beginning, but the wheels just fell off,” Cioffi said.
Rutgers: After playing tough against Iowa in 14-7 loss last week, Ash and the Scarlet Knights showed they will need a talent upgrade to keep up with the Big Ten’s elite teams. It didn’t help that star wide receiver and kick returner Janarion Grant suffered a season-ending injury in the Iowa game.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes took care of business again and blew out an overmatched team. They show no signs of slowing down.
Rutgers: The Scarlets Knights’ rough ride through the conference continues with a night game at home against No. 4 Michigan.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes will be heavily favored again when they play Indiana in another appetizer game next Saturday before the Big Ten main course.
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