PISCATAWAY, Nj. -- An opening-drive missed field goal was enough to derail Rutgers in the spotlight against top-ranked Ohio State. The Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0) proved worthy of the top ranking in college football, trampling the Scarlet Knights (3-4, 1-3) for an explosive 49-7 victory at The Birthplace.
The Knights drove down the field on their first drive versus a Joey Bosa-led defense, but a missed 26-yard kick by Kyle Federico at its end derailed the team, and while the Rutgers defense forced a fumble on the next drive, the team had nothing going for them the rest of the desolate night.
It was a blast for Ohio State, on the other hand.
J.T. Barrett was coach Urban Meyer's starter for the first time this season, and he led the Buckeyes with five total touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) and 324 yards in an almost unfair result.
Barrett fumbled on the Buckeyes' first offensive series, but marched downfield on all but one of his following drives en route to the big win.
Ohio State struck the board first with just 10 ticks left on the first quarter clock, as Ezekiel Elliot took in a two-yard scamper to gain a 7-0 lead. Elliot ran for 142 and a couple of touchdowns on 19 carries for the night.
After a punt on the successive series, wideout Michael Thomas trashed half of Rutgers' secondary and powered his way to a 50-yard catch-and-run to double OSU's lead. Thomas led the Buckeyes receivers with five catches and 103 yards on the night along with that momentum-providing TD.
With less than five minutes remaining in the first half, QB-turned-receiver Braxton Miller caught a 45-yard bomb and on the next play ran for 16 yards to set up Barrett's first rushing score from two yards out.
Barrett hit Curtis Samuel in the back of the endzone for a 30-yard post route touchdown less than two minutes into the third quarter to make it 28-0 for the Buckeyes and keep the momentum flowing in their direction.
On the next series, Barrett finished off a well-orchestrated drive with his second of two rushing scores with a ten-yard scamper. Just four minutes later, a big drive and a one-yard capping reception touchdown for Jalin Marshall took it to 42-0.
Ezekiel Elliot finished off the onslaught on the second play of Barrett's final drive with a demoralizing 55-yard run through the heart of the Scarlet Knights' D to put Ohio State up 49-to-zip.
Cardale Jones came on for the final drive of the night, turning it over on downs inside Rutgers' ten with four minutes to go. Jones threw for 24 yards on 3/3 through the air.
On a lone bright spot in the final twenty seconds, backup quarterback Hayden Rettig hit Andre Patton in the back of the endzone to finally get on the board with a four-yard score. A 58-yard reception by Carlton Agudosi set up the throw for paydirt.
It was a disappointing night for the normally-explosive Rutgers offense, as Leonte Carroo managed just 55 yards on three receptions, Chris Laviano threw for 117 yards and a pick, and the team's leading rusher was Paul James with 56 yards.
That was mostly in direct effect from superb defensive play by Ohio State. Joey Bosa and an absolutely locked-down secondary led the charge, with Rutgers mounting four three-and-outs, a turnover, and most importantly under 300 yards total offense.
The Scarlet Knights were a mere 5-15 on third down throughout the night.
Ohio State enters their bye week now at a whole higher level of play and reputation at 8-0 and the #1 spot in AP and Coaches' Polls while Rutgers faces Wisconsin next week, now at 3-4 in the Big Ten.