Big Ten Football Odds: (1) Ohio State Buckeyes at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Urban Meyer-ohio-state-2015(1) Ohio St-Rutgers
Time: 7 PM
Spread: OSU -21
Total: 64

Odds c/o 5dimes


J.T. Barrett is now the starting QB at Ohio State, replacing Cradle Jones as the team travels to Rutgers looking to improve to 8-0 on the season. Barrett came into relieve Jones last week against Penn State and helped the team score four TDs.

Head coach Urban Meyer said after the 38-10 win that the team would do “Whatever it takes to win.” He added, “Cardale is going to be a very active part, too, we’ll keep him very much involved…but red zone production and third down production were the two areas that made the difference. Barrett earned that with the way he played Saturday.”

Barrett helped the tam finally begin to capitalize in the red zone, scoring 6 of 6 red zone trips two weeks against Maryland. Against PSU he did the same, running for two TDs and throwing for two more, to go 4 of 6 in the red zone, with another of the missed attempts at least producing a field goal. OSU is No. 81 in the nation at converting third downs at just 37.5 percent, and it ranks No. 72 in converting red zone trips at 60.7 percent (17 of 28).

Barrett has been the one with the most success though, and that is what earned him the starting role. Moreover, beyond these simple stats, Barrett just seems like the best option for what OSU is trying to do. He’s quick like Braxton Miller, and he ran for 102 yards on 11 carries against Penn State, which mitigated the Nittany Lions often effective pass rush.

Jones is a monster at 6’5” 250 pounds, but the Buckeyes have not been able to make much use of his cannon arm. Last season the Buckeyes thrived with Devin Smith at WR with Jones starting but there are no guys that can get up off the field like Smith on this year’s roster. Jones has seven TD passes but five INTs and ranks No. 48 in the nation with a passer rating of 141.23. He was good for just 84 passing yards against PSU before Barrett replaced him in the third Q.

It is not likely that this is the beginning of a two-QB system like Meyer used at Florida in 2006, but if Barrett struggles that might end up being the case. Jones is also a matchup problem for some teams, if Meyer wants to play to his opposition or get creative.

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are 3-3 and 1-2 in Big Ten play. Rutgers held its own against Michigan State on Oct 10, losing just 31-24. Last week it won 55-52 over Indiana, in a game that certainly was not short on excitement. It overcame a 25-point deficit with three fourth-quarter TOs converted into TDs and the 26-yard field goal by Kyle Federico won the game as time expired.

Robert Martin ran 17 times for a career high 124 yards and he had three TDs in the game. HC Kyle Flood said, “It’s adjustments, it’s guys making plays. I think it’s just a matter of continuing to compete and it’s not easy to do.”

Ohio State beat Rutgers 56-17 at home last Oct. 18 in the teams’ first meeting, as Barrett passed for 261 yards and three TDs while throwing no INTs and rushing for 107 yards and two TDs on seven carries.

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