COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW Rutgers (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) at No. 2 Ohio State (3-0, 0-0)
When: Noon, today.
Radio: WNIO-AM 1390.
Line: Ohio State by 37.
Series record: Ohio State leads 2-0.
What’s at stake: For surging Ohio State it’s essentially another tuneup game before the Buckeyes get to the meat of their nine-game Big Ten schedule. An improbable win by Rutgers, which played tough in losing to Iowa 14-17 last week, would be one of the biggest in program history. Just staying competitive with the Buckeyes would be a major accomplishment for first-year coach and former Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash.
Key matchup: Rutgers QB Chris Laviano vs. the Ohio State defense. The Buckeyes defense is mean and fast, leading the nation in turnover margin including nine interceptions in their first three games. Four interception returns for touchdowns in the three games tied an Ohio State school record. S Malik Hooker and CB Marshon Lattimore are tied for the FBS lead with three picks apiece. The Ohio State D has yet to allow a rushing touchdown.
Players to watch: Rutgers — RB Robert Martin. The junior leads the Big Ten with a 119.3 rushing-yards average — just ahead of Ohio State’s Mike Weber — and is fifth with a 127.7 all-purpose average. Ohio State — HB Curtis Samuel. As a hybrid back in coach Urban Meyer’s system, leads the Big Ten in all-purpose yards with 260 rushing and 259 receiving.
Facts & figures: Rutgers lost two of its best players, WR Janarion Grant and DE Quanzell Lambert, to season-ending injuries last week. ... The Scarlet Knights have beaten ranked opponents nine times in their history, the last time in 2008 at No. 20 Pittsburgh. The highest ranked opponent beaten was No. 2 USF in 2007... Barrett has 55 touchdown passes and is three away from owning the school record. ... Seven of Ash’s staffers have Ohio State ties, and Buckeyes’ co-defensive coordinator Greg Schiano was head coach of the Scarlet Knights for 11 seasons (2001-11). ... Former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce will dot the “I” in the marching band’s famous Script Ohio today. The now 85-year-old Bruce took over when Woody Hayes was fired and coached Ohio State from 1979 to 1987.