This may be the first game of the short series between Ohio State and Rutgers where anyone is really entertaining the idea of “what if” Rutgers is able to get past the Buckeyes? In the previous meetings, games were not close, including the 2020 game. The final score of that contest reads much closer than the game actually was and Greg Schiano emptied the trick play book to confuse the Buckeyes and put up 18 points in a 49-27 Ohio State win, a game that was 35-3 at the half.
The 2021 edition of this game has a 3-1 Rutgers team hosting a Buckeye team with the same record but there has just been something off about Ohio State all season long, hot-and-cold offense, defensive issues and throw in a couple of mid-season roster departures for good (bad) measure. It just does not feel like past Ohio State teams.
Does this open the door for what could be one of the biggest upsets in college football this season? No, not from a line standpoint, even if the Buckeyes have been hovering just above a two-touchdown favorite for most of the week. No, this would be from a perception standpoint. When Rutgers was announced as a new member of the Big Ten almost a decade ago, the expectation was that the Scarlet Knights might pick off some mid-level Big Ten teams but that the Buckeyes should have their way in this series.
We turn to an old friend to get the view from the other side of things, Richie Schnyderite of TheKnightReport.com, to go behind enemy lines, get a few questions answered and as always, get him on the record with a pick.
How is this Rutgers team different than past teams? We can’t really look at 2020 as an example for anyone, but how has Greg Schiano reshaped this team?
Richie Schnyderite: I would say that this year‘s team isn’t all that different from team’s of the past under Schiano as they always tend to have a pretty good defense. However this year’s defense is on a different level as they have done a pretty good job in all four games this season, not to mention they just held Michigan, arguably the nation’s best running attack heading into week four to under four yards per carry.
Now Schiano has reshaped this team mostly via the help of the portal as the tram is riddled with guys from programs all over. He’s also also recruiting really well and has a good amount of you g guys playing early on. On top of it all, there is a complete culture change within the entire program, guys are buying in and he’s got his players to believe they can compete against any school in the Big Ten.
Even though the win was elusive, what will Rutgers be able to take from the Michigan game and try and carry forward into the game against Ohio State?
Richie Schnyderite: Even though the win was elusive, what will Rutgers be able to take from the Michigan game and try and carry forward into the game against Ohio State?
There’s a lot of people that think Rutgers could’ve and probably should’ve beat Michigan, but I think the biggest thing they will learn is to be better with the play calls at times, especially in fourth down situations.
Now even though they lost, the team and fan base just gained a big boost of confidence after proving they belong last week.
Ohio State is generally going to put up a lot of points, does Rutgers have enough offense to outscore the Buckeyes? What can Noah Vedral do in this game to get the Scarlet Knights across the finish line?
Richie Schnyderite: Absolutely not, not many teams in the entire country can keep up offensively with Ohio State, let alone outscore them.
The offense at this point is what it is, they have been both up and down so far this season. Minus last week against Michigan, the run game has been awful, starting RG Reggie Sutton for the season last week and not to mention the offensive line still hasn’t been 100% solidified yet either as they’ve have three different combos of starting tackles in four games.
Vedral has to just continue to be smart with the ball, he’s been pretty accurate this season so far, has zero interceptions on the year and only one total turnover on the year. If the OLine can keep Vedral on his feet and let him and give him time to get it he ball to his playmakers in space, they’d have a shot.
Rutgers wins if it…
Richie Schnyderite: They play smart football and shut down the OSU passing game. It’s a tall task to ask going against some of the best receivers in college football but if they can do that they have a chance.
How do you see this game playing out and what is your prediction?
Richie Schnyderite: I see it being a close game in the first half but I think OSU’s wide receiver core is ridiculously good and Rutgers more than likely not having their top corner in Max Melton due to suspension isn’t helping matters either. So I think the Buckeyes take advantage of that and should score a good amount. Also Vegas knows everything, so 42-28 sounds about right.