Adam RittenbergESPN Senior WriterNov 4, 2023, 10:54 AM ET2 Minute Read
Well 1 Ohio State scored a 35-16 win over Rutgers on Saturday without starting defensive backs Denzel Burke and Lathan Ransom in a game that turned on cornerback Jordan Hancock’s 93-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The Buckeyes trailed 9-7 at the half, and Rutgers appeared ready to add to that lead when it took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and drove to the Ohio State 20.
On second down, quarterback Gavin Wimsatt tried to loop a pass around the 5-yard line. Running back Kyle Monangai and safety Josh Proctor collided, and the ball popped in the air. Hancock grabbed the fluttering ball, turned and headed upfield and never stopped to give Ohio State a 14-9 lead.
Rutgers cut the deficit to 21-16 in the fourth quarter, but Ohio State put the game away with a pair of touchdown passes to Marvin Harrison Jr.
Burke, the team’s top cornerback, missed his second game in three weeks because of an ankle injury. He left an Oct. 14 game against Purdue in the third quarter, sat the following week against Penn State and then returned Oct. 28 at Wisconsin and recorded one tackle. Ransom left the field in the fourth quarter against Wisconsin with a non-contact injury to his left leg and was carted to the locker room. He had three tackles, one for a loss, against the Badgers and has 34 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble this season.
Emeka Egbuka, the Buckeyes’ No. 2 receiver behind Harrison, played in his first game since Oct. 7 against Maryland and had four receptions for 29 yards.
Rutgers was without starting nose tackle Mayan Ahanotu and linebacker Tyreem Powell, its leading tackler who is out for the season with a hand injury.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.