PISCATAWAY, N.J. — A rested C.J. Stroud and a motivated Ohio State team looking to atone for its non-conference slip-up last month could soon prove to be a dangerous combination for the rest of the Big Ten Conference and the country as the heart of the college football season takes shape. A former Ohio State employee was on the receiving end of it first hand on Saturday afternoon.
Stroud, the Buckeyes’ freshman quarterback, threw for five touchdowns while leading the team to scoring drives on six consecutive possessions in the second half during its 52-13 demolition of Rutgers at SHI Stadium on Saturday afternoon. All-America candidate Chris Olave caught two of Olave’s five scoring throws as the Buckeyes racked up 541 yards of total offense and jumped on Rutgers early and often.
The 11th-ranked Buckeyes have not been used to being ranked outside the Associated Press’ Top 10 to begin the month of October, as it found itself outside of that elite perch after a 35-28 home defeat at the hands of Oregon on Sept. 11. That loss, while surprising, is not a death knell to the Buckeyes’ College Football Playoff hopes given the high level of competition it lost to and the strength of the Big Ten Conference, which came into this week with six teams ranked in the Top 25 and a seventh, Maryland, ranked just outside. IF the Buckeyes hit top form during the fall, as it did to begin this autumnal equinox, their time away from the top of college football will be a relative short one.
“Having a win like this after the last month, it’s given us a little bit of juice now as we head into the next month of October,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “It was some tough times here, but we grew through it, we didn’t panic, and in that we might have a good team as we head into October, November.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday afternoon’s contest, with photos taken by ALOST senior photographer Robert Cole. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 14 pictures in total.