J.T. Barrett came to Ohio State looking to become the starting quarterback, win some games and be successful.
He has more than exceeded expectations. He’s now the Buckeyes’ career passing leader.
Barrett threw three touchdown passes and took over the top spot in the Ohio State record book from Art Schlichter in leading the 11th-ranked Buckeyes to a 56-0 victory over Rutgers on Saturday night.
“I think it’s a tremendous honor,” said Barrett, who is 30-5 as a starter, making him just the fourth 30-game winner in school history, joining Schlichter, Cornelius Green and Bobby Hoying. “I came to Ohio State, I always wanted to be a quarterback there, and win football games and be productive. This is a great honor and I’m just going to focus on winning football games.
Mike Weber ran for a career-high three touchdowns and Ohio State (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) blanked Rutgers (1-4, 0-2) for the second straight year. The Buckeyes have won three straight after being upset by Oklahoma.
This marked the second meeting between Ohio Stata coach Urban Meyer and former defensive coordinator and now Scarlet Knights coach Chris Ash. It also marked the first time former Rutgers coach and current Buckeyes defensive coordinator Greg Schiano returned to High Point Solutions Stadium for a game.
This one wasn’t much of a contest with Ohio State outgaining Rutgers 628-209.
The Scarlet Knights, who were beaten by the Buckeyes 58-0 last year, had an embarrassing end to their night as Andrew Harte’s 32-yard field goal attempt banged off the upright in the final minute.
Barrett threw touchdown passes of 70 and 39 yards to Johnnie Dixon in the first half in building a 35-0 lead. The fifth-year senior added a 22-yard strike to Binjimen Victor in the third quarter for his eighth touchdown in the last two games and 13th of the season.
“J.T. is a great player. J.T. is a leader, and I’ve got nothing but respect for J.T., and he obviously makes a lot of plays for that football team,” Ash said.
Weber, a 1,000-yard rusher last year as a freshman, scored on runs of 1, 3 and 2 yards in showing signs that the hamstring injury that limited him to seven carries this season is healed.
Barrett finished 14 of 22 for 275 yards. He has 7,622 yards passing, surpassing Schlichter (7,547) for the top spot in Buckeyes history. Barrett’s 364 yards in total offense (89 rushing) put him over 10,000 for his career (10,350).
Barrett’s big play was finding Dixon wide open on a third and 17 play for the long touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
“A guy like J.T. who does everything right, just a program guy — selfless — so it’s great to be a part of that,” Dixon said.
Backup Dwayne Haskins threw a 35-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Demario McCall, who also had a 48-yard scamper to close out the scoring.
Rutgers quarterbacks Kyle Bolin and freshman Johnathan Lewis were under pressure. Bolin was 5 of 14 for 56 yards. Lewis was 3 of 10 for 21 yards and two interceptions, including one by linebacker Dante Booker at the Buckeyes 13 late in the first quarter with the Scarlet Knights down 7-0.
Ash said his team needs to keep working to improve.
“I mean, there’s no magic formula, guys,” he said. “When you’re talking about turning around a program, it’s working, it’s hard work, that’s it. You coach your tails off every single day. You develop your players as much as you can physically, mentally, fundamentally, and you recruit. That’s it. You build a culture.”
Ohio State: The Buckeyes have found their offense the past two weeks, gaining more than 600 yards in total offense in each game in lopsided wins over UNLV and Rutgers. They are going to need it next week. Maryland has been surprising and the Terps knocked off Minnesota, running for 262 yards against a defense that was ranked No. 1 in the country against the run.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights’ Big Ten losing streak hit 16. Ash’s team has not been competitive against the conference’s big boys. It was beaten 78-0 by Michigan, 49-0 by Michigan State and 39-0 by Penn State last season. A week off should help.
SHUTOUTS: The last time Ohio State shut out an opponent in consecutive seasons was 1979-80 against Wisconsin.
“Work in progress,” Schiano said. “We have a chance to be good, but we have to really clean up a lot of stuff. But I’ll tell you what, our kids are working so hard that it’s going to happen.”
Ohio State: Hosts Maryland (3-1), which beat Minnesota 31-24.
Rutgers. At Illinois Oct. 14.