COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State and Rutgers, both winners on the ﬁrst full weekend of college football, begin conference play with a 3:30 kickoff on Saturday afternoon inside Ohio Stadium.
The Buckeyes are coming off their 18th consecutive season-opening win, a 77-31 triumph over Oregon State in which the offense racked up 721 yards of total offense – the second-highest total in school history.
Through the air, quarterback Dwayne Haskins put together the best debut start in program history, throwing for 313 yards and ﬁve touchdowns – both school records for a QB making his ﬁrst-ever start. Haskins completed passes to seven different receivers and touchdown passes to four different players.
Mike Weber posted a career high with 186 yards on the ground and also found the endzone four times – three rushing and one receiving. His 49-yard score in the second quarter gave Ohio State a commanding 28-7 lead.
In all, the Buckeyes’ offense generated 10 rushes of 10 yards or more and nine passes of 15 yards or more.
The Scarlet Knights opened their season with a 35-7 win over Texas State last Saturday at HighPoint.com Stadium.
True freshman QB Artur Sitkowski went 20-for-29 for 205 yards and a TD in his Rutgers debut, becoming just the third true freshman quarterback to start a season opener for Rutgers since World War II.
Running backs Raheem Blackshear and Jonathan Hilliman each scored two touchdowns as Rutgers built a 21-0 halftime lead. Blackshear is a sophomore and Hilliman is a graduate transfer who played previously at Boston College. Freshman Isaih Pacheco led the team with 76 yards on 11 carries.
Ohio State/Rutgers Connections
Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano was Rutgers’ head coach from 2001 through 2011. The Wyckoff, New Jersey native took the Scarlet Knights to six bowl games over his ﬁnal seven seasons before leaving to become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. From 2006 through 2011, his Rutgers teams went 49-28 (.636) and won ﬁve of the six bowl games that they played in. Ten of the current Rutgers players in the NFL were coached by Schiano.
The Buckeyes’ roster has four players from New Jersey – SAF Jordan Fuller (Norwood, N.J. / Old Tappan H.S.), QB Chris Chugunov (Skillman, N.J. / Montgomery H.S.), DE Javontae Jean-Baptiste (Oradell, N.J. / Bergan Catholic) and DE Tyler Friday (Ramsey, N.J. / Don Bosco Prep).
Rutgers head coach Chris Ash spent two seasons as Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach, helping the Buckeyes win the ﬁrst-ever College Football Playoff national championship in 2014 and a Fiesta Bowl title in 2015.