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Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights Preview and Prediction

J.T. Barrett

J.T. Barrett

Fresh off a #DarkNight 38-10 victory over Penn State, Ohio State travels to High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey, to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. This game will mark the first trip to High Point Solutions Stadium for the Buckeyes, as the teams played for the first time in 2014; Ohio State defeated Rutgers in Ohio Stadium 56-17.

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New Jersey is one of the most fertile recruiting areas in the country, and Ohio State is no exception to pulling talent from New Jersey. Among the players on Ohio State's roster that call New Jersey home are freshman offensive lineman Kevin Feder, sophomore wide receiver Noah Brown, sophomore cornerback Eli Apple, redshirt freshman defensive end Darius Slade, and senior placekicker Jack Willoughby. Of the players listed, Apple and Willoughby are certain to play against Rutgers; Brown is out for the season with an injury. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer expressed his affinity for the caliber of talent and coaching within New Jersey, among other things ~

Rutgers enters this game at 3-3, fresh off a comeback victory at Indiana (55-52). The victory over Indiana marked the first game back on the sidelines for embattled Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood. Flood had served a three-game suspension, following a university-led investigation into rules violations for inappropriate contact with a faculty member.

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Ohio State at Rutgers

Kickoff:8 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ABC

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Spread: Ohio State -21

Three Things To Watch

1. Rutgers WR Leonte Caroo vs. Ohio State's Secondary

Caroo is averaging over 22 yards per reception and leads Rutgers with nine touchdown receptions. Fresh off a game at Indiana where Caroo had seven receptions for 157 yards and three touchdowns, look for Ohio State cornerbacks Eli Apple and Gareon Conley to share responsibility for covering Caroo, if Caroo plays. Caroo was listed as questionable for the Ohio State game at the beginning of the week.

2. J.T. Barrett's Time To Start, And Shine

Barrett was named Ohio State's starter by Meyer on the afternoon of Oct. 20, during The B1G coaches' teleconference. Barrett has been a spark for the Ohio State offense the last two games against Maryland and Penn State; how will Barrett perform as a starter for the first time in the 2015 season?

3. Ohio State's Rush Defense Against Rutgers' Running Game

Ohio State has been giving up substantial yardage on the ground, especially the last few games in wins over Maryland and Penn State. Rutgers brings in running backs Robert Martin and Josh Hicks, who both average over five yards a carry. Ohio State is also dealing with the loss of starter Tommy Schutt, who is out due to surgery. Ohio State will rotate other defensive linemen, such as Josh Hale, Michael Hill, and true freshman Robert Landers, to supplement Schutt's absence. Will Ohio State be able to shut down the Rutgers running game?

Final Analysis

Rutgers and its fans are gearing up for the first ever visit by the Buckeyes. Considering how much of a scare Rutgers was able to put into Michigan State when the Spartans visited, as well as a start by Barrett at quarterback, look for Ohio State to come out playing efficiently and effectively.

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Prediction: Ohio State 49, Rutgers 21

— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a diehard Ohio State fan. Minnich also writes and podcasts for menofthescarletandgray.com, a site dedicated to Ohio sports with a special emphasis on the Buckeyes. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.