Quarterback C.J. Stroud has thrown for 16 touchdowns and the Buckeyes are piling up the yards on the ground.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Coach Greg Schiano knows consistency is the key to producing winners, and he admits his Rutgers team still struggles with it.

The Scarlet Knights (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten) must now travel to Columbus as heavy underdogs and try to keep up with well-rounded and talent-rich No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday.

Schiano knows how the Buckeyes work. He was the defensive coordinator at Ohio State for three seasons under Urban Meyer, coaching 10 players who went on to be selected in the NFL Draft.

“They’re the third-ranked team in the country for a reason,” Schiano said. “I was there. I understand the culture, I understand the program, I understand the talent level. For us to have a chance to win this game, we have to be consistent, we have to be at our best all the time. And (sequence) is the last one. But the task is big. That’s what I love about this league and I’m looking forward to it.”

The Scarlet Knights’ defense is playing well — No. 2 in the nation against the run — but they still might struggle to keep up with the Buckeyes. Two turnovers cost Rutgers in a 27-10 loss to Iowa in last week’s Big Ten opener.

Meanwhile, Ohio State (4-0, 1-0) is doing just about everything right. Quarterback C.J. Stroud has thrown for 16 touchdowns, the Buckeyes are piling up yards on the ground with running backs TreVaion Henderson and Mian Williams, and the defense is much improved under new coordinator Jim Knowles.

“You could see a lot of guys playing with an edge,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “And that’s what we’re counting on. Now we have to figure out if it’s something we’ve done in a few games or if it’s our identity moving forward. I think we showed that we can do it.”

Ohio State scored touchdowns on its first four drives last week and went up 28-0 before the Wisconsin Badgers could catch their breath. The Buckeyes won easily, 52-21, behind Stroud’s five touchdown passes and 100-yard games from Henderson and Williams.

With quarterbacks Noah Vedral and Gavin Wimsott battling undisclosed injuries, sophomore point guard Evan Simon carries the load for Rutgers. Schiano said this week that Vedral and Wimsatt were “making progress,” but he did not know if they would be available Saturday.

Simon was 28 for 49 for 300 yards passing with a touchdown and two interceptions, one with their pick 6, against Iowa.

“One thing you can say is that he’s a tough guy now,” Schiano said. “He stood there and took a few shots and as he was releasing it he got hit but he didn’t flinch. And this cannot be taught.”


Ohio State star wide receiver Jackson Smith-Njigba has had limited playing time this season due to a hamstring injury. In his absence, Emeka Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Julian Fleming have more than picked up the slack. Egbuki and Harrison each have five touchdown receptions.

“I think what we’ve done is build the offense around those guys, which is a little bit different than the feel,” Day said. “And I think CJ has embraced that and over time he’s developed some chemistry with those guys. And those guys settled into some roles, which was really the blessing — the silver lining — of not having Jackson for a couple of those games.”

Rutgers will be the last in a streak of five straight home games to open the season for the Buckeyes. They played five straight games at Ohio Stadium in two other seasons, 1999 (4-1) and 2003 (5-0). Since the Scarlet Knights joined the Big Ten in 2014, Rutgers has lost eight straight.

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