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Ozone Staff Picks: How do the Buckeyes Come Out of the Bye?
By Patrick Murphy


COLUMBUS – After an “off” week, the Buckeyes are back in action Saturday hosting Rutgers in a Homecoming matchup. Chris Ash makes his first appearance on the visitor's sideline as the new head coach of the Scarlet Knights.

Ohio State is looking to carry the momentum from two season-opening victories and the big win at Oklahoma two weeks ago. Ranked No. 2 in the country, it will be interesting to see how this team responds to plenty of new hype.

Our guest picker this week is Joe Jeswald, a Youngstown native who graduated from Ohio State in 2014. He now lives in New York City working for J.P Morgan Chase but remains a passionate fan of the Scarlet and Gray.

With OSU favored by more than five touchdowns over Rutgers, it’s hard to imagine anyone picking against the Buckeyes. Will our staff be so bold?

Joe Jeswald (Fan Pick)

One of my fondest memories of attending The Ohio State University is, after a long night on High Street (most likely ending at Charlie Bear or what you young kids call Bullwinkle’s), stumbling into PJ’s and ordering a Fat B*!%h sandwich. That warm toasted bun with chicken tenders, french fries, mac and cheese wedges, mozzarella sticks, hot sauce and ranch is the perfect end to a fantastic night in Columbus. According to the Rutgers faithful, these “fat sandwiches” originated in New Brunswick, NJ, home of the Scarlet Knights. Now, if this fact was not on the Rutgers resume for entering the Big Ten, they are fools, as they would have been admitted almost instantaneously on that alone.

Although Rutgers is led by a very familiar name to the Buckeyes (Chris Ash) that has earned many accolades as the former defensive coordinator at Ohio State, the Scarlet Knights are very much in a “rebuilding” phase, and will not prove to be much of a test for a very impressive Buckeye team coming off a bye week. Noah Brown will continue his impressive start to the 2016-2017 season with two touchdowns, Mike Weber will have a “Carlos Hyde-esque” performance with 150+ yds and two touchdowns, and the Silver Bullets will add to their interception tally. The Buckeyes’ biggest opposing threat will be Rutgers running back Robert Martin, who has rushed for over 100 yards in his last two outings. Not-so-bold prediction: Dontre Wilson will score a touchdown.
Ohio State 63  Rutgers 10

It might be a homer pick if it likely weren’t true. Let’s continue.

John Porentas

Vegas thinks that the Buckeyes will beat Rutgers by something in the range of five touchdowns, and those guys are rarely wrong. They will be this week though. The Buckeyes will beat Rutgers, but it won't be by as much as Vegas thinks. It's hard, really hard, to play your best game in consecutive games, particularly for a young team. Look for this one to be one sided, but not as one-sided as expected because the Buckeyes just won't be as sharp, and Chris Ash knows a little too much to let this be really easy for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State 31  Rutgers 10

It’s funny when a three-score win doesn’t meet expectations. That’s what Mr. Ed is predicting. What about Gerd?

Tony Gerdeman

For the first time in maybe ever, I am thinking about how the weather may affect this game. But my phone says it will rain around the start of the game and then maybe shortly after, so why bother worrying about it? That's what I get for having foresight for once. I really don't see Rutgers having success on offense. I don't think they'll run the ball well and I know they won't throw the ball well with Chris Laviano. There should be multiple interceptions. I wonder if at some point they'll just go with freshman quarterback Tylin Oden, who was an OSU target not so long ago. The Buckeyes may struggle on offense initially just due to the feeling out of a familiar opponent — and the weather — but they'll get things figured out well enough in advance to win comfortably. I don't think it will always look pretty, however.
Ohio State 38  Rutgers 10

Two in a row taking the Scarlet Knights with the points. Will it be three?


Kyle Morgan

This game will be a lot of fun to watch… if you’re a Buckeye fan. While Coach Ash knows the ins and outs of the Buckeye attack, he does’t have the horses to remain competitive over the course of a full game. There is the likelihood the Buckeye offense comes out flat following a bye week, but I expect the Buckeyes to remain balanced while limiting the carries of J.T. Barrett early. Rutgers gave up numerous big plays to Washington to open the season so I do expect the Buckeyes to attempt to jump start their deep passing game this week as they prepare for the tougher Big Ten opponents in the near future. Look for Parris Campbell and Johnnie Dixon to haul in long passes, but this game is about the development of Austin Mack and he has the opportunity to get a lot of targets on Saturday.

Defensively, the Buckeyes must limit the big play ability of running back Robert Martin. He will likely see a larger workload, both out of the backfield and lined up as a wide receiver, to make up for the lost production of wide out Janarion Grant. I expect Coach Meyer to play conservatively throughout the fourth quarter when the game is out of hand out of respect to Coach Ash and the rest of the Rutgers staff with ties to Coach Meyer.
Ohio State 48  Rutgers 13

That’s a bigger margin of victory for OSU, but still under the 38-point spread. Will the fans be OK with that?

Patrick Murphy

When I look at Rutgers, all I see is bad. I searched for another decent game last week but all I could find were blowouts or Purdue, so I watched the Scarlet Knights’ debacle with Iowa. Now RU is down their best offensive weapons – receiver Janarion Grant – and one of their top defensive players – defensive tackle Darius Hamilton – and I fear for what happens to them Saturday.

The concern is the coming out flat following a big win and a bye week, but I’m not sure that will be an issue for this team. These players remain hungry and still with a lot to prove and I think they do that in this one.

The weather may play a part, but rain just means more rushing and that’s really what the Buckeyes have done best this year. I see big days for both Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel on the ground, plus another solid outing from J.T. Barrett rushing. Hopefully the rain will clear up enough to allow some passing because Ohio State fans would love to see another pick six and Chris Laviano seems ripe.

It’s a big win for Ohio State that would be bigger if Urban Meyer didn’t have more respect for former assistant Chris Ash.
Ohio State 45  Rutgers 6

All double-digit Buckeye wins so far. Don’t disappoint now Caroline.

Caroline Rice

After facing Oklahoma and coming away with a big win, the Buckeyes proved how good they really are. I think this will be another easy win for Ohio State. Their defense has been doing a great job of shutting down offenses. So far, the Buckeyes have not allowed a rushing touchdown this season. This will be the problem for Rutgers, especially without their top receiver, Janarion Grant. I think it will be a true challenge for the Scarlet Knights to put up points. The Scarlet and Gray will continue to dominate the game both offensively and defensively. Even though Rutgers has former Ohio State assistant coach Chris Ash, I don't think his knowledge of Ohio State's program will affect this game at all. I see another big win for the Buckeyes this week. 
Ohio State 56  Rutgers 13

How do you see this game playing out? Will the Buckeyes be a little sleepy coming off the bye or will it be another domination to start Big Ten play? Let us know in the comments below.

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