Ohio State opened the College Football Playoff rankings as the No. 1 team on the committee’s list this week. While the Buckeyes did not look like the best team in the country against Rutgers, Ryan Day’s team was able to avoid disaster in Piscataway.

Heading into halftime, the Scarlet Knights had a 9-7 lead and were outplaying and out-hustling Ohio State. The big issue that eventually bit Greg Schiano’s team was some blown chances in the red zone.

When it was all said and done, Ohio State rode TreVeyon Henderson and a huge second-half surge to get over the hump with a 35-16 win. Here are the key takeaways from that game:


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TreVeyon Henderson could be Ohio State’s key to success

This statement feels wrong, malicious even, to suggest that Marvin Harrison Jr. is not the offensive key for the Buckeyes. However, it might need to be clarified a bit.

Harrison is undoubtedly the best player on Ohio State’s roster, a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate and arguably the best NFL Draft prospect in the country. And yet, it’s Henderson who has looked like the indispensable cog for the Buckeye offense.

How is that? Well, part of it comes back to the ability of defenses to take Harrison away, and some of that ability has nothing to do with Harrison.

Multiple times against Rutgers, Harrison was open in coverage, but Kyle McCord was either under duress or simply unable to get the ball to his receiver. Henderson — as a running back — is less dependent on those issues.

After displaying his burst and acceleration against Wisconsin, Henderson torched Rutgers with the ball in his hands throughout the second half in the passing game and ground game. He delivered 128 yards on the ground and a touchdown and was the leading receiver for the Buckeyes with 5 catches for 80 yards.

Ohio State needs both Harrison and Henderson to be successful, but Henderson continues to show he can be one of the most dynamic backs in the country.

Ohio State’s secondary turning into an area of concern

Ohio State knew ahead of kickoff that the defense would be down a pair of pieces with Lathan Ransom and Denzel Burke ruled out for the game against Rutgers. It was the first absence of the season for Ransom who is the team’s 4th-leading tackler heading into Week 10. Burke missed one game this season, and he is widely regarded as Ohio State’s best cover corner.

That duo missing any time is worrisome, and that only increases if both players cannot suit up in Week 11. Furthermore, another player in the secondary was dinged up during the game.

Josh Proctor started an incredible sequence in the second half that led to an incredible pick-6 for Jordan Hancock. Unfortunately, he was injured on that play.

Facing Rutgers, Gavin Wimsatt and the Scarlet Knights were unable to capitalize enough against the Buckeyes, but a more talented QB and offense could have a different outcome. The Buckeyes need the back half of the defense at full strength for the end of the season.

Kyle Monangai delivers magnificent outing in defeat

Monangai has been brilliant for Rutgers all season long with 4 games of 100+ rushing yards in leading the Scarlet Knights to bowl eligibility. Against the Buckeyes, Monangai delivered over 150 yards for the second time all season (third in his career) while facing the No. 1 team in the CFP.

Monangai did not find the end zone, but he did deliver 159 yards on 24 carries while averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Considering the unit Rutgers facing, Monangai should hold his head high with that type of outing.