Support for the defending champions had definitely been lacking in recent weeks.

In last two weeks of the Associated Press poll, Ohio State was far from the unanimous No. 1 selection it was at the beginning of the season. Week 7 produced only 27 first-place votes and Week 8 produced only 28 of the possible 61 first-place AP votes.

This week, that was a different story.

The Buckeyes earned 39 Associated Press first-place votes and strengthen their hold on the nation’s top spot. They improved their all-time record of 104 weeks atop the AP poll.

With J.T. Barrett starting his first game of the 2015 season, the Buckeyes looked every bit like the nation’s best in a 49-7 rout of Rutgers. Barrett accounted for five touchdowns, three of which came with his arm and two were with his legs.

Since Barrett carved out a regular role in the offense against Maryland, Ohio State averaged 45 points per game.

B1G foes Michigan State cracked the poll at No. 6 while Iowa earned its first top-10 ranking and idle Michigan stayed at No. 15.

Ohio State will have a solid chance of starting at No. 1 when the first College Football Playoff poll is released on Nov. 3. The Buckeyes will be on bye in Week 9.