C.J. Stroud throws five TD passes, No. 11 Ohio State rolls

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Greg Schiano of Rutgers has a warning for the rest of the teams in the Big Ten Conference: No. 11 Ohio State is finding its stride.

C.J. Stroud threw for 330 yards and a career-high five touchdowns after sitting out a game to rest a shoulder and the Buckeyes won their 20th straight conference game with a 52-13 victory over Rutgers on Saturday.

“We had a bad day and we had it against a team that is finding its stride,” Schiano said after suffering his worst loss since returning for a second stint with the Scarlet Knights (3-2, 0-2). “The result was there to see.”

What everyone saw was a dominant Ohio State (4-1, 2-0) put a complete performance on display, especially on offense. The nation’s No. 2 offense scored on its first six possessions and had its defense deliver a pick-6.

“Having a win like this after the last month, it’s given us a little bit of juice now as we head into the next month of October,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “It was some tough times here, but we grew through it, we didn’t panic, and in that we might have a good team as we head into October, November.”

Stroud connected with Chris Olave on touchdown passes of 56 and 11 yards, found Garrett Wilson on a 32-yard catch-and-run, and hit tight ends Jeremy Ruckert and Mitch Rossi on scoring passes of 19 and 1 yard, respectively. The freshman, who threw four TD passes against Minnesota in the opener, finished 17 of 23 and did not throw an interception. Olave finished with five catches for a team-high 119 yards.

“This is this is what he’s capable of,” Day said about Stroud. “And now he’s got to bring it through and be consistent.”

Ohio State has beaten Rutgers eight straight times. The Buckeyes outgained the Scarlet Knights 541-346, flowed through a defense that had given up just 54 points in its first four games, and intercepted Noah Vedral three times.

Freshman TreVeyon Henderson opened the scoring with a 44-yard touchdown run on the Buckeyes’ second play from scrimmage. Freshman Denzel Burke scored on a 23-yard interception return 40 seconds later.

The Buckeyes extended the lead to 24-0 on a 23-yard field goal by Noah Ruggles and the Wilson TD catch with 2:34 left in the opening quarter.

Rutgers’ only major play in the game was a 75-yard catch-and-run by Aron Cruickshank on a short pass over the middle on the next series. The distance was a career best for both players. Vedral finished 16 of 26 for 152 yards.

Cole Snyder added a 12-yard touchdown pass to Josh Youngblood with 7:40 to play to close out the scoring and close the yardage gap for the Scarlet Knights.

“Major credit to Ohio State,” Rutgers defensive end Mike Tverdov said. “They came out, they did their thing. It’s a very good football team and we cannot afford to do what we did today against a team like that. Hats off to them. They came here and took care of business.”

The result was a major letdown for Rutgers following a 20-13 loss to No. 14 Michigan on the road last weekend. They played very well in that game. They didn’t follow that up this week and Schiano contributed to the problem on the opening series, using a trick play on a punt that backfired, giving the Buckeyes a short field.

Ohio State has never scored fewer than 49 points against Rutgers.

THE TAKEAWAY

Ohio State: This team can do it all, especially on offense with Stroud throwing the ball to a trio of top wideouts and Henderson running through huge holes. The defense might have played its best game this season, giving up one play early.

Rutgers: While it has made up little ground on Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State since Schiano returned last year, it remains light years behind Ohio State in the Big Ten pecking order. The Scarlet Knights were seriously outplayed in all phases of the game, and certainly outcoached. Schiano’s decision to throw a pass on fourth-and-8 from its own 46 put Rutgers in a hole it never left.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Ohio State: The Buckeyes were outstanding on both sides of the ball. Except for one long TD in the opening half, it was a near-perfect performance. If anyone loses or plays a poor game, they are back in the Top 10.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights were hoping to follow a strong showing in a loss against Michigan with a good game against the Buckeyes. The hope was that an upset would get them a first spot in the poll since 2012. Obviously, they have a long way to go.

UP NEXT:

Ohio State: Hosts Maryland on Saturday.

Rutgers: Hosts No. 17 Michigan State on Saturday.

No. 2 Michigan beats Purdue 43-22 for Big Ten crown

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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INDIANAPOLIS – Donovan Edwards ran for 185 yards and a score, J.J. McCarthy threw three touchdown passes and No. 2 Michigan beat Purdue 43-22 on Saturday night for its second straight Big Ten title and a likely No. 2 playoff seed.

College football’s winningest program has the first 13-win season in school history. Two more victories would give the Wolverines (13-0, No. 2 CFP) their first national championship since 1997.

And with injured star Blake Corum sidelined by a season-ending left knee injury, Edwards stole the show for the second straight week.

After shredding rival Ohio State for 216 yards and two scores last week, Edwards broke open this game with a 60-yard on the first play of the second half to set up one score. He added a 27-yard TD sprint on Michigan’s next series to make it 28-13.

Purdue (8-5) never recovered from Michigan’s quick, seven-play onslaught after it trailed 14-13 at halftime.

But quarterback Aidan O'Connell and receiver Charlie Jones helped the Boilermakers make it interesting for a while.

O’Connell was 32 of 47 with 366 yards and two interceptions after missing some practice time early this week to mourn the death of his oldest brother. Jones, who lost to Michigan in last year’s game while playing for Iowa, had 13 receptions for 162 yards.

It just wasn’t enough.

Michigan showed no signs of a hangover after last week’s rout over the Buckeyes, taking a 7-0 lead on its opening possession with a 25-yard TD pass from J.J. McCarthy to Colston Loveland.

Purdue answered with Devin Mockobee’s 1-yard scoring run to tie the score then took the lead on Mitchell Fineran’s 33-yard field goal.

Michigan answered by taking advantage of an offside call on fourth-and-6 by going for the first down, picking it up and eventually converting the drive into a 7-yard TD pass from McCarthy to Luke Schoonmaker. They never trailed again.

Edwards big run set up Kalel Mullings‘ 1-yard TD plunge before Edwards celebrated his own scoring run.

All Purdue could muster was three more field goals.

McCarthy was 11 of 17 with 161 yards and one interception.

Corum posted a message on Twitter on Saturday morning to say his knee surgery went well.

THE TAKEAWAY

Purdue: The Boilermakers’ magical season ended with a solid showing in the championship game where they played better than most expected. Still, they won the Big Ten’s wild, wild West, both trophy games and should be bound for a warm-weather bowl game.

Michigan: Yes, the Wolverines may have already locked up a top-two seed thanks to losses by Southern Cal and TCU. Michigan now has back-to-back conference crowns for the first time since 2003-04 though the hard part remains – ending its national title drought.

DIALING UP TRICKERY

Brohm played one season in the now defunct XFL and has acknowledged that experience helped him understand how to inject personality and creativity into play calling. It was on full display Saturday.

A surprise end around set up Purdue’s first score, a fake punt helped keep its second scoring drive alive and then Mockobee sprinted 25 yards on a fake flea-flicker in the third quarter.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Will find out its bowl game, destination and opponent Sunday.

Michigan: Waiting to see where its headed and who it will face in the national semifinals.

Klubnik, No. 10 Clemson rout No. 24 UNC 39-10 for ACC title

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Backup quarterback Cade Klubnik completed 20 of 24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score and No. 10 Clemson reclaimed the Atlantic Coast Conference championship with a 39-10 victory over No. 24 North Carolina on Saturday night.

Cornerback Nate Wiggins broke up two passes in the end zone, blocked a field goal and returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown to help the Tigers win their seventh ACC title in eight seasons.

Clemson (11-2, No. 9 CFP) won six straight ACC championships from 2015 to 2020 before failing to reach the title game last season. But coach Dabo Swinney‘s Tigers rebounded in a big way, going 9-0 against ACC foes this season to reach the Orange Bowl.

They have Klubnik to thank for that.

With Clemson down 7-0, Swinney benched two-year starter D.J. Uiagalelei after the Tigers failed to pick up a first down on their first two possessions, Swinney turned to Klubnik, a 5-star recruit from Austin, Texas. He responded by leading the Tigers to four straight scores and a 24-10 lead at halftime.

Clemson stretched it to 39-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

It wasn’t the first time Swinney has turned to Klubnik.

He benched Uiagalelei in the second half against Syracuse and Klubnik responded by leading the Tigers to a come-from-behind 27-21 victory. Swinney also turned to Klubnik against Notre Dame, although the results were the opposite with the freshman throwing a Pick 6 in a 35-14 loss.

Swinney has never been shy about replacing veteran QBs with less experienced players. He did it in 2014, sitting Cole Stoudt for Deshaun Watson, and again in 2018 replacing Kelly Bryant with Trevor Lawrence.

ACC player of the year Drake Maye was limited to 268 yards passing and turned the ball over three times for North Carolina (9-4, No. 23 CFP), which was seeking its first ACC championship since 1980 when Lawrence Taylor was wreaking havoc on quarterbacks.

Maye got things started on the right foot for the Tar Heels, capping an 11-play, 78-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead on UNC’s first possession.

But the Tar Heels repeatedly sputtered on offense inside the red zone after that, the biggest blow coming when Maye misfired near the goal line and Wiggins – who had struggled in Clemson’s 51-45 win over Wake Forest – returned his pass for a touchdown to give Clemson a 32-10 lead with 5:05 left in the third quarter.

Klubnik provided an immediate spark for Clemson.

He led the Tigers on a nine-play, 71-yard drive, culminating in a 1-yard TD pass to Davis Allen. After Maye’s fumble, Klubnik caught a 19-yard pass from Phil Mafah to set up Mafah’s 4-yard touchdown run – Clemson’s second TD in a span of 40 seconds.

Klubnik then showed off his arm strength with a 68-yard pass to fellow freshman Cole Turner to set up his own 1-yard TD run for a 21-7 lead.

END OF AN ERA

This is the final year the ACC will feature its two division winners playing for a championship. In future years, all ACC teams will be lumped together and the two teams with the best records will advance to the title game.

THE TAKEAWAY

North Carolina: Maye garnered plenty of Heisman Trophy talk during the season, but the Tar Heels offense has stalled resulting in a three-game losing streak. But as long as Maye doesn’t transfer – and there are no indications he will given his family history at North Carolina – the Tar Heels have a good chance to get back to the ACC title game next season.

Clemson: The Tigers have set a high bar by winning national championships, so as much as they will enjoy getting back atop the ACC mountain there will be plenty of talk over whether Swinney cost his team a chance at a spot in the College Football Playoff by not turning to Klubnik at quarterback earlier in the season. It seems Uiagalelei might be a logical transfer portal candidate.

UP NEXT

Clemson will play in the Orange Bowl, while North Carolina awaits a bowl bid.