AP NEWS

Rutgers faces No. 5 Ohio State in Big Ten opener

September 6, 2018

Rutgers (1-0) at No. 4 Ohio State (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET (BTN).

Line: Ohio State by 35.

Series record: Ohio State leads 4-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Ohio State’s prolific offense looks to build on last week’s rout of Oregon State, despite coach Urban Meyer missing from the sideline while he serves a three-game suspension. Though Meyer was back at practice this week. QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. could put up similar numbers against the Rutgers defense. The Scarlet Knights are coming off a confidence-boosting 35-7 win over an FBS team, Texas State. Rutgers has not come close to beating the Buckeyes since joining the Big Ten in 2014 and been shut out the last two seasons.

KEY MATCHUP

Rutgers QB Arthur Sitkowski vs. Ohio State defensive backs. Sitkowski, a true freshman, had some good moments against Texas State, hitting on 20 of 30 attempts for 205 yards and touchdown, but he also threw three interceptions. The Ohio State secondary, missing S Jordan Fuller, showed it can be exploited, giving up several big plays to Oregon State. Fuller is expected back this week.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Rutgers: RB Raheem Blackshear. The sophomore got his first career start and paced the Scarlet Knights. He has 12 rushes for 62 yards and touchdown, plus he grabbed seven passes for another 56 yards and a score.

Ohio State: RB Mike Weber. After battling a leg injury for much of last year, Weber split carries with J.K. Dobbins last week and finished with a career-high 186 yards and three touchdowns, adding another score receiving on a shovel pass. Acting coach Ryan Day says he’ll again rotate the two elite backs.

FACTS & FIGURES

Ohio State is one win away from 900 in its 129th season playing football. The only team with more is Michigan. ... Sitkowski was only the third true freshman quarterback since World War II to start a game for Rutgers. ...Buckeyes WR Terry McLaurin had career highs in receiving yards (121) and touchdowns (two) in the opener. ... Ash spent two seasons as a co-defensive coordinator for Ohio State, including the 2014 national championship season. ... Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano spent 11 seasons as the Rutgers head coach (2001-11), finishing 68-67.

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