COLUMBUS, Ohio – Justin Fields threw five touchdown passes, and No. 3 Ohio State won a Big Ten game on Saturday night. But it was hard to tell from the postgame demeanor of coach Ryan Day and some of his players.
The Buckeyes charged out to a 35-3 halftime lead over Rutgers, a five-touchdown underdog. But mistakes, sloppiness and a few trick plays allowed the Scarlet Knights to put up 24 second-half points and get a little too close for Day’s comfort. Ohio State (3-0 Big Ten) won 49-27, but things didn't go as well as planned.
Day said he felt “just kind of flat."
“Not to make excuses for our guys but one of the things that’s real is you go up 35-3, it’s whatever time it is, 8:30 or 9 o’clock on a Saturday night, (and) the stadium's empty,” Day said. “No juice in the stadium, and so we have to do that, we have to bring our own energy in. That's a challenge for us that we’ve got to do. And it’s something that we’re going to really address this week and talk about."
Fields had another great day. In addition to the five touchdown passes, he ran for another score. A Heisman Trophy finalist in 2019, he added to his already gaudy 2020 resume, completing 24 of 28 passes for 314 yards.
Fields threw two touchdown passes to Chris Olave, with Jameson Williams, Garrett Wilson and Jeremy Ruckert also recipients of scoring passes.
Wilson caught six passes for 104 yards for Ohio State, and Fields completed passes to nine receivers. Running backs Master Teague III, Steele Chambers and Trey Sermon pieced together 174 rushing yards, and Teague ran for a 9-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
“I don’t think we’re at our peak right now," Fields said. “I don’t think we’ve reached our full potential."