Ohio State quarterback J. T. Barrett throws a pass to warm up before the Fiesta Bowl game between the Buckeyes and Notre Dame at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, January 1 2016. Photo by Art Foxall/UPI | License Photo
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, on a record-setting day for his second-ranked Buckeyes, was most pleased with the closing minutes of the first half.
Junior quarterback J.T. Barrett, who set the school record for career touchdown passes, directed a 53-yard touchdown drive late in the half, executing the kind of offense that will be vital in closer games than what Ohio State had Saturday.
"What we're going to need at some point is the two-minute drill, and I thought that was damn near perfection," Meyer said after a 58-0 victory over Rutgers at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
"He did very well managing the clock, getting the ball down, getting guys set. I expect that out of him, but I'm glad we got that work."
Barrett threw four touchdown passes -- all in the first half -- including a 5-yard strike to H-back Curtis Samuel with 11 seconds to go before halftime for a 30-0 lead at Ohio Stadium.
On that drive, Ohio State (4-0, 1-0) took over with 1:29 left and rallied from a second-and-25 situation. OSU converted a fourth-and-1 and twice stopped the clock with spikes.
"It's one thing to practice it," Meyer said. "But to do it in live fire, that was very impressive."
Barrett, who left late in the third quarter after completing 21 of 29 passes for 238 yards, has 59 career touchdown passes -- breaking Bobby Hoying's record of 57.
"It's surreal," Barrett said. "I'm just trying to do my part and do the best thing for the team, and with that came a record."
Running back Mike Weber, who rushed for 144 yards on 14 carries, helped Ohio State pour it on with a 46-yard touchdown burst on the opening possession of the second half. The Buckeyes never stopped, scoring on nine consecutive possessions before turning the ball over on downs with 1:17 to go.
"We struggled to stop the run on defense," said Rutgers coach Chris Ash, who was an Ohio State assistant the past two seasons. "The wheels kind of came off in the second quarter. It was tough to get them stopped."
Ohio State, which rushed for 410 yards and gained 669 overall, posted its largest margin of victory in a Big Ten game in almost 25 years, dating to a 70-6 win over Northwestern on Nov. 14, 1981. In addition, the Buckeyes have scored at least 45 points in every game this season.
Rutgers (2-3, 0-2) managed only 116 yards and punted 10 times while being shut out for the first time since Nov. 1, 2014 against Wisconsin. The Scarlet Knights completed just three passes, all from Chris Laviano (3 of 13 for 33 yards). Tylin Oden entered midway through the third quarter and went 0 for 4.
"It's hard to say they're better than I thought," Ash said of the Buckeyes. "I thought all along they were pretty darn good."
Ohio State, which is the only team in the country to not allow a rushing touchdown, posted its first shutout since Sept. 12, 2015, against Hawaii.
Weber, a redshirt freshman, entered the game second in the Big Ten in rushing at 117.0 yards per game, but he overtook leader Robert Martin of Rutgers, who was averaging 119.3 yards. The Buckeyes held Martin to 40 yards on 13 carries.
Samuel had 154 all-purpose yards, including a team-high 86 receiving yards on seven catches. He ran nine times for 68 yards.
Ohio State started somewhat slowly, but Barrett got Ohio State on the board with 4:19 to go in the first quarter when he stepped out of a potential sack and found H-back Dontre Wilson over the middle for an 18-yard touchdown.
The Buckeyes scored on all four of their second-quarter possessions, including touchdown passes of 14 yards to receiver Terry McLaurin, 16 yards to tight end Marcus Baugh and 5 yards to Samuel.
NOTES: Rutgers LB Greg Jones was taken off the field in the first quarter on a backboard and cart after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from a teammate while making a tackle. The school reported that he was conscious and moving extremities, although he was taken to a hospital as a precaution. He came back to the field and was walking on the sideline in the second half. ... Former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce became the 14th non-band member to "dot the i" in the band's pregame performance of Script Ohio. ... Rutgers played its first full game without its top playmaker, senior WR/RET Janarion Grant, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury last week. The Scarlet Knights also lost senior DE Quanzell Lambert (knee) for the season in that loss to Iowa. ... By beating Rutgers' first-year head coach Chris Ash, Ohio State's Urban Meyer improved to 7-1 against his former assistants.