Gavin Wimsatt

First Glance: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

I have sat here wondering how I can make this game sound more exciting. It’s only Rutgers rings in my ears, the fact that Ohio State regularly hangs 50-plus on this team is also something that I will have to talk about.

But nothing has been easy for the Ohio State offense this year, Ohio State is averaging just 32.5 points per game this season, down from 44.2 points per game last season. That is a touchdown and a field goal plus a little bit more for those of you who only count in 3s and 6s.

I could go on-and-on about how this Rutgers team is different and in a lot of ways, I would be correct. This is a team that has won some games, it not scrambling doing November math to see if a path to the postseason is feasible and honestly, just appears to be different from some of the pre-Greg Schiano teams as well as early ones where he was trying to fix a broken roster.

Ohio State fans are going to relate with Schiano and even if the Ohio State defense was trending downward during the end of his tenure, fans are still going to side with Schiano over Tennessee (and that whole job fiasco) along with applaud him for his comments about Michigan in a nod to the sign-stealing scandal that has gripped the imaginations and outrage of Ohio State fans across the world.

Is the outcome of this game be really in jeopardy for the Buckeyes? I have learned a long time ago to never say never, but opening lines were around the 20-point mark and the Buckeyes would need to be down a lot of players to even approach leveling out the playing field for Saturday’s game (12pm – CBS).

As always, I will do a much deeper dive into this game later in the week, but here on Sunday as I ride shotgun on my trip back from Wisconsin, I take a first glance as Ohio State’s next opponent with a few thoughts to get the week started off right.

Last game: Rutgers def. Indiana 31-14 (Oct. 21st)

The Scarlet Knights are coming off of an open week as the Big Ten cycles through its final open weeks of the 2023 season.

So we have to go back a week prior for the last game that Rutgers played, a 31-14 win over Indiana in Bloomington (Ind.).

This is a significant win for Rutgers because it gets the team to six wins and bowl eligible. That is important because there are no real layups left on the schedule with Ohio State, Iowa, Penn State and Maryland all left to play.

Against the Hoosiers, Gavin Wimsatt really took matters into his own hands, or his legs rather, rushing for three touchdowns, the only three offensive scores by the Scarlet Knights.

Add to that a blocked punt that was taken in for a score and a field goal and it was enough to pull away from Indiana, a team that took a 7-0 lead to start the game and saw the score tied at 14-all in the first half.

Offensive names to know

QB – Gavin Wimsatt: Ohio State has faced and will face worse quarterbacks than Wimsatt this season. Wimsatt is still trying to get it all put together but he is the kind of player that can still hurt you a couple of times just because he is too athletic not to cause some damage.

Wimsatt is only a 50-percent passer (barely) and is not asked to throw the ball a lot (22.6 attempts per game). He has seven touchdowns against four picks and and averages just a little bit better than 141 yards of passing per game. Nobody is going to mistake him for Caleb Williams when it comes to throwing the ball.

Wimsatt the runner however may give you a little more of those feels as he has 73 attempts for 362 yards and seven rushing touchdowns. That may be the biggest issue for Ohio State, dealing with a real dual-threat type of quarterback and if we are being honest, maybe more of a runner than a passer.

RB – Kyle Monangai: The Rutgers running back has been a nice surprise this year with seven rushing touchdowns of his own and while he is not really a 20-plus carry type of back most weeks, he is still getting his team about 93 yards per game on the ground.

Rutgers has more than twice as many touchdowns on the ground than via the air and so much of the success is tied to Monangai and the Buckeyes will need to find ways to limit his impact because if Rutgers has to focus on the pass, it won’t work out well for the Scarlet Knights.

WR – Christian Dremel: Do you really need to watch Dremel? Did I really just want to have three players listed on each side of the ball? It is more of the latter than the prior.

Nobody on Rutgers averages 40 yards per game in terms of receiving and Dremel leads the team with three of Rutgers’ eight receiving touchdowns on the year.

Defensive names to know

DL – Aaron Lewis: Lewis has three sacks for a share of the team lead (along with Wesley Bailey). Lewis is very active on the line for the Scarlet Knights and while he may not jump off the page, if Ohio State’s offensive line takes a step back this week, Lewis may play a big role.

DB – Robert Longerbeam: Longerbeam leads the team with eight pass breakups along with a sack, a pick and two fumble recoveries.

Now, if he draws a lot of duty against MHJ, it could be a long day and if the Buckeyes have Emeka Egbuka back, it might be a pick your poison type of day. But don’t look for Longerbeam to shy away from the challenge(s).

DB – Desmond Igbinosun: Familiar last name? You would be correct. Remember that Davison is from the state of New Jersey and his brother plays at Rutgers.

Desmond leads the team with 5.5 tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and an interception.

Again, this is not a defense filled with big names but just a lot of guys who do their job and often do it quite well.

series history

Saturday will mark the 10th time that these two teams have played, all as conference mates in the Big Ten, going back to the 2014 season.

Without divisions moving forward, this will no longer be a yearly game, something that Greg Schiano is privately thrilled about, having been stuck in the most competitive (in my book) division of college football as part of the Big Ten East.

It should come as no surprise that Ohio State is 9-0 in this series and has held Rutgers to seven or fewer points in four of the previous nine games, and fewer than 14 points in six of the nine.

Ohio State has never scored fewer than 49 points against Rutgers in a game, with 2022 and 2015 seeing that feat. With the early over/under set at fewer than 49, it appears that Vegas does not think that trend will continue and based on what we have seen all season for the Ohio State offense, we tend to agree, especially if Kyle McCord is still feeling some of the same lower body pain that plagued him during the Wisconsin game.

To Rutgers’ credit, the Scarlet Knights have not had a defense equivalent to the one that the team is sporting this season, but Rutgers has only faced one offense with a pulse thus far and even there, holding Michigan to just 31 points is noteworthy, as the Wolverines are scoring in the upper-40s over their past four games and could have easily scored more.

A sign of things to come? I am not going to steal anyone’s thunder. I don’t want to disqualify any future articles coming later this week like the Tale of the Tape.

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