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Game Recap: Rutgers Blown Out by Wisconsin 48-10

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Camp Randall Stadium proved to be a house of horrors for Rutgers on Halloween.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

I want to start the recap by stating I am optimistic by nature. Week after week I get excited by the possibility of Rutgers proving the doubters wrong.  I started rooting for this program back in the eighties, before the school committed to big time football.  I saw Rutgers go 8-36 my four years as an undergrad.  I can't say this is the most frustrated I have ever been, that was in 2013 when Rutgers lost to Houston, Cincinnati, UCF and UCONN by the combined score of 170-60. Any rational Rutgers fan cannot expect this team to beat the Big Ten traditional powers on a regular basis at this stage of our program's development.  However, the lack of competitiveness is alarming and seemingly unpreparedness by the coaching staff is disturbing. That is inexcusable.

Today's performance was the worst of the season, topping last week against Ohio State.  Rutgers was outclassed in every phase of the game, by a team decimated by injuries.  The coaching staff should be ashamed of how unprepared and uninspired this team looked today. The last drive of the 1st half and the 1st drive of the second half are all you need to watch to understand how bad this team was. The time management of the last drive made no sense whatsoever.

It's not the losing, it's the way in which they look so utterly helpless. Laviano looked so shell shocked and scared that I actually felt bad for him. The defense was in zone coverage most of the game and the Wisconsin receivers were consistently wide open. Just like last week, this team showed some fight in the 1st quarter, only to become completely unhinged.

Last year, Rutgers lost to Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State and Wisconsin by the combined score of 151-30.  This year, they lost to those four teams by the combined score of 156-44.  Give them credit for being competitive against Michigan State, but they were equally bad against the other three teams.  Is it unfair to expect some type of progress year to year?

Rutgers is 3-5 heading to the Big House next week against #15 Michigan. There is no reason to believe this team will be competitive against the fighting Harbaugh's.

Another troubling fact is the special teams unit has officially regressed this season.  Once the pride of the program, they are regularly surrendering significant returns by the opponent and the kicking game is a mess.  One kickoff went out of bounds and Federico missed another field goal, not that it mattered.

The game was over when...

Wisconsin took a 17-3 lead in the 2nd quarter, scoring on a 4th and 7 pass to Alex Erickson for a 31 yard TD after Rutgers settled for a field goal near the goal line.

Stats to Know

Chris Laviano was 4-14 for 31 yards passing, 1 INT, 1 lost fumble and 2.2 yards passing per attempt.

Hayden Rettig was 2-6 for 51 yards passing in the 4th quarter in garbage time.

Josh Hicks rushed for 72 yards on 15 carries for 4.8 yards per carry.  It was good to see him show some life for the first time in weeks.

Robert Martin and Paul James combined for a disappointing 37 yards rushing on 15 carries for 3.5 yards a carry.

Blessuan Austin returned his first career interception for a 50 yard touchdown.  The defense outscored the offense, as they only managed a first quarter field goal.

Wisconsin gained 426 yards of offense versus 165 yards for Rutgers.

Final Thoughts

I understand the concern that there are many power 5 coaching jobs open around college football.  However, I personally don't agree that Rutgers should retain Flood for that reason.  I'd much rather take a chance on a young coach who can bring a fresh approach and enthusiasm to the program.  Flood no longer has the "but our coach does things the right way" calling card to fall back on.  He lost the benefit of the doubt with emailgate.  Now he just looks like a bad football coach who has proven to be unethical.  Joe Rossi has been dealt a difficult hand with a depleted defensive roster, but what exactly was the gameplan today?  Josh McDaniels called plays like he had no confidence in Laviano, so why play him? On a day when former Rutgers assistant and much maligned Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell, led his 1-6 team to a resounding win over Nebraska, it's fair for the fanbase to demand more from our head coach. Hopefully, the administration and influential football donors of the program start to demand more as well. Sadly, it's not reasonable to expect much long term progress until a change is made.