The Ohio State Buckeyes have parlayed their fantastic 9-0 record into a No. 2 College Football Playoff ranking. Things can't possibly get easier for Ohio State than this week, when they face off against 2-7 Rutgers, whose only two wins of the season have come against UMass and Liberty. While the Buckeyes will annihilate the Scarlet Knights, they may also treat the game as a tune-up for the two major matchups looming on the horizon against No. 9 Penn State and No. 14 Michigan. With that said, here are three Buckeyes backups who could explode for them if coach Ryan Day gives his starters a couple of quarters off.
3. Chris Chugunov, QB
Starting quarterback Justin Fields will see plenty of action in the first half, but if last week's 73-14 win over Maryland is any indication of how Ohio State plans on treating blowouts, Chugunov could see some major action as early as the second quarter. Last week, Chugunov threw for 103 yards and a touchdown on 8-of-11 passing in relief of Fields. The New Jersey native has a substantial chance to perform in front of his hometown family and friends, and if he does, expect a sparkling performance against a Rutgers defense that's had trouble containing the likes of Indiana and Maryland, let alone Ohio State.
2. Master Teague III, RB
J.K. Dobbins has improved his draft stock exponentially with his performance this year, and NFL teams won't penalize him for taking a couple of quarters off against Rutgers, as long as he puts his usual amount of effort in. That brings in Master Teague III to receive the bulk of carries against Rutgers. Teague is averaging an absurd 6.7 yards per carry, which is still behind Dobbins' 7.2 YPC. He has a chance to improve on that against a Rutgers team that's done a horrific job defending the ground attack.
1. Tyreke Smith, DE
Everyone knows that Heisman Trophy candidate Chase Young is irreplaceable on the defensive side of the ball. However, in Young's absence, Smith did a pretty good job impersonating him last week, collecting two sacks vs Maryland and leading the pass rush. He'll look to capitalize on a prime opportunity to expose the Rutgers offensive line and collect a couple of sacks before Young returns to action next week against Penn State.