Buckeyes (8-0) vs. Scarlet Knights (6-2): Match-Up Preview 11/4 12 PM EST.

November 3, 2023

Andy Billman

Gameday Preview Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Buckeyes Prepare for Game 9 of Season Against Rutgers on Saturday: 

1 – Harrison for Heisman

WR Marvin Harrison Jr. is the most dynamic player in college football and the big difference-maker in this game against Rutgers.  Every time Ohio State needs a big play, it goes to number 18, and he’s been a significant reason why the Buckeyes are undefeated.

Harrison also could tie an Ohio State record if he gets 100 yards or more.  And if he does, it will be the 14th time he has done so, tying the record with former Buckeye great David Boston (according to CBS Sports).

2 – Hand it to Henderson

Rutgers does have a pretty good defense, as they rank in the top ten in some categories nationally. They don’t give up a lot of touchdowns either, so look for the Buckeyes to try to wear them down with RB TreVeyon Henderson, who had a big day against the Badgers last week with 164 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. 

3 – Buckeyes D

The Buckeyes defense is ranked high nationally, 4th nationally in total defense. And Rutgers does not have a very good offense, ranked 106th nationally in total offense.  

This looks to be where the game could get ugly for the Scarlet Knights, as it might be hard for them to score without much firepower on this side of the ball.


This is the first game all season that feels like it could be a trap game for the Buckeyes.  Going on the road to Jersey with Rutgers coming off of a bye and with fans worrying about QB Kyle McCord, it feels like this game could go sideways.  However, Ohio State has too many weapons, and it is hard to see the Scarlet Knights keep in this game late offensively.

Ohio State wins, but Rutgers covers, keeping the game close until the 4th. 30-14 (-18.5 Ohio State)

Ohio State Buckeyes Notes

Rutgers has had a challenging history when facing Big Ten Conference opponents, particularly Ohio State since the Scarlet Knights became part of the league in 2014. In the nine meetings between the teams, the third-ranked Buckeyes have emerged victorious in each, often by significant margins. The closest Rutgers has come to a win was a 22-point deficit.

This year, Rutgers holds a 6-2 record (3-2 in the conference) and the Buckeyes boast an unblemished 8-0 record (5-0 in the conference) and are ranked No. 1 in the College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings, there is hope for a more competitive matchup when they clash at SHI Stadium on Saturday.

Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt views this game as an extraordinary opportunity, as the top CFP-ranked team will visit their stadium. He’s excited to compete alongside his teammates in front of their fans and play the game they love.

The reason for Rutgers’ optimism lies in Coach Greg Schiano’s fourth year, where he now has a complete recruiting class for his second tenure. The team’s defense is outstanding, the ball-control offense has minimized mistakes, and Wimsatt has exceeded expectations. Special teams have also been making significant contributions.

Although Ohio State remains a formidable team, their offense hasn’t been as dynamic in recent years. However, their defense continues to be among the nation’s best.

Ohio State’s coach, Ryan Day, emphasizes the importance of maintaining a high level of performance every day, reflecting the program’s demanding standards.

Notably, Ohio State has struggled with their ground game this season, but the return of running back TreVeyon Henderson provided a significant boost. He rushed for 162 yards against Wisconsin, helping to revive their running game.

The Buckeyes are dealing with injuries to key players, including quarterback Kyle McCord, who limped off the field in the previous game, and receiver Emeka Egbuka and safety Lathan Ransom, who are questionable due to injuries.

Rutgers faces the challenge of containing Ohio State’s talented junior wide receiver, Marvin Harrison Jr., who is expected to be a top NFL Draft pick. Harrison has been exceptional this season with 48 catches for 889 yards and eight touchdowns, leading the nation in average yards per catch among receivers with at least 40 receptions.

Rutgers’ defense, however, ranks second nationally in passing defense, giving up an average of 156.2 yards per game. They have intercepted passes through cornerbacks Max Melton and Robert Longerbeam and safeties Flip Dixon and Shaquan Loyal.

Special teams have historically been a strength for Rutgers, with numerous blocked kicks over the years. Recently, they scored a touchdown from a blocked punt and also recovered a fumbled punt for a touchdown in their last two games.

Rutgers has relied on a ball-control offense this season, with Wimsatt and Kyle Monangai running behind an offensive line that has enabled the team to achieve four 250-yard games on the ground, matching the total from the previous six seasons (70 games). Monangai is second in the Big Ten with 744 rushing yards, while Wimsatt set a program record for quarterback rushing yards with 143 in a single game.

Players to Watch

Buckeyes Player to Watch

Ohio State’s defense depends heavily on linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, who plays a pivotal role in thwarting Rutgers’ running game. As a fifth-year player, Eichenberg partners with Steele Chambers in Jim Knowles’ two-linebacker formations. Knowles places significant trust in Eichenberg to ensure that the entire defensive unit is in sync. Eichenberg leads the team with an impressive 65 tackles and will play a crucial role in deciphering the Scarlet Knights’ run-pass choices, particularly against QB Gavin Wimsatt.

Scarlett Knight Player to Watch

Rutgers relies on the junior running back, Kyle Monangai, to power their ground game. Monangai has been instrumental in the Scarlet Knights’ offensive success, accumulating 744 yards on 144 carries, making him the second-highest rusher in the conference this season. He has also reached the end zone seven times with rushing touchdowns. When you compare his first two seasons, Monangai’s impact becomes even more apparent, as he had 171 carries for 680 yards and six touchdowns during that period.

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