COLUMBUS – The final seconds of Ohio State’s 58-0 win over Rutgers on Saturday ran off the clock with the stadium lights on even though the sun was shining brightly.
But it had become apparent long before then that Rutgers was not ready to compete with No. 2 Ohio State under bright lights, in the first light of sunrise, in the last light of sunset, under the light of the full moon or in any other kind of light.
Ohio State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) came into the game favored by 38 points and exceeded that by nearly three touchdowns.
The Buckeyes rolled up 669 yards total offense and held Rutgers (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) to just 116 yards.
And it could have been worse if Ohio State hadn’t gotten off to a bit of a slow start when it scored only six points in the first quarter or if coach Urban Meyer hadn’t taken his starters out of the game with four minutes left in the third quarter.
J.T. Barrett threw four touchdown passes – all in the first half – and became OSU’s career touchdown pass leader.
The junior quarterback completed 21 of 29 passes for 238 yards and four TDs. He now has 59 touchdown passes in 27 games.
The old record of 57 officially belonged to Bob Hoying. Terrelle Pryor also threw 57 but his name does not appear in the Ohio State record book because the 2010 season was vacated because of NCAA violations.
Even a perfectionist like Meyer couldn’t find much to criticize in the way OSU played.
“They did what they’re supposed to do – come out and play with a chip on their shoulder. They came out and played hard,” Meyer said about his team.
“I thought our defense just smothered them. I feel like our defense was all over the field,” he said.
Rutgers coach Chris Ash, who was Ohio State co-defensive coordinator the last two seasons, described the Buckeyes’ defensive effort the same way. “They smothered us. We struggled to get open,” he said.
“We played extremely well last week (in a 14-7 loss to Iowa) but this was a completely different animal with the players Ohio State has. Their offensive system is sophisticated, they have a lot of weapons,” Ash said.
Redshirt freshman Mike Weber gained 144 yards on 14 carries and broke loose for a 49-yard run and a 46-yard touchdown run, his two biggest plays of the season. Weber has gone over 100 yards in three of his first four starts.
Curtis Samuel had 68 yards rushing on nine carries and was the leading receiver with seven catches for 86 yards.
Freshman Demario McCall ran for 85 yards on 10 carries and scored on a 20-yard touchdown run.
Raekwon McMillan led OSU’s defense with seven tackles. Nick Bosa, Robert Landers and Tyquan Lewis all had sacks.
It was the first time this season Ohio State’s defense did not force a turnover after getting 11 of them in the first three games.
After Barrett threw an interception on Ohio State’s first possession it scored the next nine times it had the ball. None of Rutgers’ 12 possessions ended in Ohio State territory.
An 18-yard pass from Barrett to Dontre Wilson with 4:19 left in the first quarter started the scoring for OSU.
The lead grew to 9-0 on a 33-yard field goal in the first minute of the second quarter by Tyler Durbin, who had missed the extra point on the first touchdown.
Terry McLaurin’s first career touchdown catch, on a 14-yard throw from Barrett, raised the lead to 16-0. A 16-yard touchdown catch by tight end Marcus Baugh made it a 23-0 game and put Barrett at the top of OSU’s career touchdown pass list.
Barrett got his fourth touchdown pass on a 5-yard throw to Curtis Samuel, which gave OSU a 30-0 halftime lead.
At halftime, Ohio State had gained 360 yards total offense to 95 for Rutgers. And it only got worse in the third quarter, when OSU rolled up 202 yards more and held Rutgers to 5 yards.
Weber sprinted 46 yards for a touchdown two and a half minutes into the third quarter. Parris Campbell’s 5-yard touchdown run made it 44-0. McCall’s 20-yard touchdown run and Johnnie Dixon’s 5-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter raised the lead to 58-0.
Before the game, former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce dotted the “I” in Script Ohio, an honor only a few people outside the OSU band have received.
Meyer referred to Bruce as his mentor and said, “What I learned from him is that you do right. There are no gray areas.”
Once the game started, the same lesson was repeated. Ohio State did much right and there were no gray areas. Only scarlet and gray areas.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.