Tate Martell covered half the field in no time at all, showcasing his quickness as he hurried to celebrate his first career touchdown pass for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Martell, a redshirt freshman appearing in his second game, threw a 51-yard pass to Terry McLaurin in the first half and added a 42-yard touchdown run in the second half of No. 4 Ohio State’s 52-3 victory against Rutgers on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. He completed 10 of 10 passes for 121 yards and rushed for 95 yards on eight carries.
Martell will serve as starter Dwayne Haskins’ backup this season, and if the first two games are any indication, he will get plenty of work.
“I thought you got a chance to see what Tate can do today, which is great,” acting head coach Ryan Day said. “He can beat you with his feet and beat you with his arm, and that's what makes him a special player. We got him in the rhythm early.”
» SERIES HISTORY: Ohio State has dominated Rutgers like few others
Pregame message: Ohio State defensive tackle Robert Landers, a Wayne grad, celebrated the start of conference play with a message on Instagram under a photo of him kneeling on the turf before the Cotton Bowl last season.
“We were hand picked to carry the weight of adversity and carry it proud and strong,” Landers wrote. “Lord forgive us for what we are about to do to the Big Ten.”
Close to milestone: Ohio State became the second FBS team to win 900 games in its 129-year history. Its all-time record is 899-324-53. Only Michigan, with 943 victories, has won more games. Texas entered the weekend with 898 wins.
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Injury update: Ohio State offensive lineman Brandon Bowen, who suffered a season-ending injury in the sixth game of the 2017 season, posted a photo to Instagram on Friday of him recovering from surgery in a hospital bed at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center.
“This past year has been by far the most challenging year of my life,” Bowen wrote. “I found out a couple weeks ago that my fibula hadn’t fully healed, and was not connected (known as a non-union), and would most likely never fully heal on its own. I tried to play through this for a while, but the pain became too much as it was affecting how I was playing, from running, to simply taking my steps as an offensive lineman. As frustrating as this injury has been, I know it’s going to make me stronger after it’s all said and done. I know God has a plan for me. I’ll be back and better than ever.”
Looking ahead: The Buckeyes play the premier game of their non-conference schedule at 8 p.m. Sept. 15, facing Texas Christian at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Buckeyes and Horned Frogs played six times between 1937 and 1973. Ohio State leads the series 4-1-1.
Ohio State has played twice at the home of the Dallas Cowboys in recent years, beating Oregon 42-20 in the national championship game in 2015 and Southern California 24-7 in the Cotton Bowl last season.
No. 16 TCU improved to 2-0 with a 42-12 victory against Southern Methodist on Friday. That followed a 55-7 victory against Southern in the season opener Sept. 1.