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Opinion: 5 takeaways from Ohio State’s win over Rutgers

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Redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall (17) reaches for a pass from redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) during OSU’s 56-17 win against Rutgers on Oct. 18 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Jon McAllister / Asst. photo editor

Redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall (17) reaches for a pass from redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) during OSU’s 56-17 win against Rutgers on Oct. 18 at Ohio Stadium.
Credit: Jon McAllister / Asst. photo editor

The Ohio State Buckeyes jumped out to a 35-7 halftime lead Saturday, en route to a 56-17 drubbing of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

And beyond just a victory, the Buckeye offense collected another record-setting performance by racking up more than 500 yards for the fourth straight game.

The Lantern sports editors compiled a list of five things we learned from the Buckeye victory.

1. J.T. Barrett could be best in the Big Ten

Coming into the season, senior quarterback Braxton Miller and Penn State sophomore gunslinger Christian Hackenberg were thought to be the class of the Big Ten quarterbacks.

But eight weeks into the season, Barrett seems to be heads and tails over any quarterback in the conference.

The redshirt-freshman from Wichita Falls, Texas, leads all Big Ten quarterbacks in completion percentage, touchdown passes and quarterback rating and has not thrown an interception since Sept. 13 against Kent State.

Not too bad for a guy who was the third string quarterback to start fall camp.

If Barrett continues to impress with his play, there is a good chance he could unseat Miller as the Big Ten offensive player of the year.

2. The offensive line is dominating

After being embarrassed against Virginia Tech in the second game of the season, the Buckeye offensive front has been making opposing defenses look silly.

Since the loss to the Hokies in which the Buckeyes totaled just 108 rushing yards, OSU is averaging 314.25 yards per game on the ground.

In addition, the Buckeye line has allowed just five sacks in four games since the Virginia Tech game, when Barrett was sacked seven times.

OSU coach Urban Meyer has said this year that the Buckeyes are an offensive line driven team, and it has shown the last four weeks.

3. Secondary improving, but yet to be tested

While the OSU secondary held Rutgers to just 196 yards passing, how much stock can we put into the Buckeyes’ performance?

Yes, Gary Nova threw for more than 400 yards against Michigan, but this year’s Wolverines are not your traditional Big Ten power.

The Buckeye secondary has yet to be tested, but will be on Saturday against Hackenberg and the Nittany Lions.

Hackenberg leads the Big Ten in passing yards per game and Penn State is last in the Big Ten in total rushing.

Needless to say, the Nittany Lions will be throwing early and often against the Buckeyes in what will likely be the first real test of the OSU secondary this season.

4. Redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall has star potential

Marshall — a former high school quarterback — had to take some time before finding his role in OSU’s offense. On Saturday, that role become more defined than ever before.

He is simply a playmaker for the Buckeyes and keeps on improving week to week. In OSU’s win against Rutgers, he totaled three receptions for a team-high 58 yards and returned four punts for 45 yards along with one kickoff return for another 26 yards. He ended up leading the game with 129 all-purpose yards, 22 ahead of Barrett.

Marshall was expected to make contributions last season before ending up having to redshirt, but he’s proven so far this year that he can step up when his number is called. If he continues on the same kind of trajectory, he has a chance to become the most dangerous player on the Buckeyes’ offense along with the special teams units.

5. And so does freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan

Not only does McMillan have star potential down the road, but he is quickly morphing into an important player this season.

While he’s not a starter on OSU’s defense, his playing time has continued to increase week by week, and at times it seems like he is the more trusted option ahead of senior linebacker and incumbent starter Curtis Grant.

McMillan totaled five tackles against Rutgers — tied for fourth on the team — and made his presence felt throughout the game. Grant, much like McMillan, is a former blue-chip prospect, but it’s starting to look like the younger of the two is ready to unseat the elder sooner than anyone expected.

Regardless of Grant’s experience, look for McMillan to be starting games before this season comes to a close.

The Buckeyes are set to hit the road on Saturday to take on Penn State in State College, Pa. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.

 

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