Justin Fields threw five touchdown passes and ran for another score to help No. 3 Ohio State beat Rutgers 49-27 on Saturday night.
Fields, a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2019, 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 as the Buckeyes (3-0 Big Ten) played through some sloppiness and held off a second-half push by the Scarlet Knights.
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Rutgers (1-2) had a promising drive early to answer Ohio’s State’s first score but had to settle for a 30-yard Guy Fava field goal. Trailing 35-3 at halftime, Rutgers came out and outscored the Buckeyes 24-14 in the second half.
“It was a tale of two halves,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. He said he felt “kind of flat” after jumping out to the big lead and then not being able to contain Rutgers in the second half.
Wilson caught six passes for 104 yards for Ohio State, and Fields completed passes to eight other receivers. Running backs Master Teague III, Steele Chambers and Trey Sermon pieced together 174 rushing yards, and Teague had a touchdown.
Rutgers quarterback Noah Vedral, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma, was 22 of 33 for 168 yards. Bo Melton caught seven passes for 86 yards.
Ohio State rolled up 517 yards compared with 373 by Rutgers.
“We played the measuring stick in our league, in the Big Ten Conference, and we didn’t quite measure up,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. “I thought we did some good things.”
Rutgers: Schiano, a former Ohio State assistant in his second stint running the team, has the Scarlet Knights playing aggressively. They played a tough second half but couldn’t climb out of the hole they dug early.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes were sloppy and got stuck in the mud at times, but Fields can make things happen.
The Buckeyes beat a team they were supposed to beat, which probably won’t impress voters much.
Attendance at cavernous Ohio Stadium again was again was limited because of the Big Ten’s COVID-19 rules, with 1,275 live souls mixed in among 6,200 cardboard cutouts. Concern over the virus is intensifying again in Ohio, where single-day records for new cases were broken Friday and Saturday. More than 10,500 cases were recorded statewide over the two days.
Rutgers: Hosts Illinois on Saturday.
Ohio State: At Maryland on Saturday.