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Can Giovanni Rescigno Help the Running Game?

Gio is much better with his feet

Illinois v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Chris Ash announced in his press conference today that Giovanni Rescigno is now the starter for Rutgers Football as Chris Laviano goes to the bench. We saw that Gio has the ability to run the ball, designed or not. How will having a run threat at the quarterback position impact the running backs and the offense as a whole?

Head Coach Chris Ash Press Conference

Offensive Coordinator Drew Mehringer Press Conference

I will break down how the offense did this past weekend and then comment on how the quarterback change may impact the second half of their season.

Robert Martin

Rutgers’ lead back bounced back pretty nicely after two pretty bad games. Martin gained 97 yards on 16 carries which is good for a 6.1 average. Martin needed this game badly because the past two games he has failed to eclipse even 50 yards and struggled to get more than 3.0 yards a carry.

Drew Mehringer said that you are always a little hesitant after a running back fumbles the ball, but the lack of carries in the second half was not necessarily punishment. Since Goodwin was running well, they wanted to help Martin clear his head and make sure he was in the right place before playing him again.

Martin led the Big Ten in rushing yards going into the Ohio State game, but then there were some major issues that we all know about. Hopefully he has a strong second half and finishes with numbers good enough to put him in the top three in the conference in yards.

Look for more holes for Martin to run through now that there is a quarterback who can and will run the ball if the opportunity arises. The couple of designed runs should be in play too. The more Gio runs, the easier it will be for Martin and the other running backs to get to the second level and beyond.

Josh Hicks

I am fast forwarding to Josh Hicks even though he did not see any playing time this week simply because Coach Ash addressed his absence in his press conference. Ash simply said that it would not have been fair both to Josh and the offense if he played. He missed a week of offensive practices due to him playing at safety and then he missed a couple of practices this week due to personal reasons.

Ash made it clear, though, that they need to get Hicks more carries. They acknowledge him as a good back and a play maker and that he needs the ball in his hands to make plays. Look for more Hicks in the coming weeks.

Justin Goodwin

Goodwin had a decent day carrying the ball as he amassed 51 yards on 13 carries good for a 3.9 average. Goodwin served as a nice change-of-pace back for the Knights as he showed off his hands and open field ability in a nice 18 yards catch and run.

Goodwin really shined when he got most of his playing time in the second half after Robert Martin had fumbled at the end of the first half. The coaches ran with the hot hand so Martin could clear his head. Mehringer said, why not use Goodwin when he is producing as well as Robert did but he had not fumbled the ball?

With Coach Ash saying that Hicks needs more game action and will get more action in the coming weeks Goodwin may have less of a load. He should be able to still add a nice contribution but his work will be less needed when the explosive Josh Hicks gets in the backfield.

Giovanni Rescigno

Rescigno came in the game in the second half and played pretty well. Coach Ash said that him being in there had a different feel to it. The fans, the sidelines, and the team as a whole had a different feel to it which helped in his decision to keep Gio as the starter going forward.

Rescigno ended the game 10/18 for 120 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The touchdown was Rutgers’ first score since September 24 against Iowa. Unfortunately for Rutgers, Gio’s pick went for six solidifying the game for the Illini.

Gio was also good with his feet as he gained 37 yards on 12 carries which is a 3.1 average. The numbers are not great, but we know that he can run and plow people over based off of the first look we ever got of him a few weeks ago. This should help the offense because we will actually have a quarterback that can and will run the ball in the option. I look for more quarterback designed runs in the offense the rest of the year.

Drew Mehringer made it a point to mention Gio’s good feet and that he could be a duel threat. He may not be a pure runner per say and there were only about two designed quarterback runs, but the fact that he got a third and six with his feet stood out to the coaches. Mehringer also said that some more of the playbook may be used now that Gio is starting based on the fact that he can move his feet.

The red-shirt sophomore looks to be a nice change for a team that really needed it. From the eye test on Saturday, it looked as if he just may be the change we were looking for and needed.

Chris Laviano

The Junior quarterback got benched after a half of play this weekend in favor of Giovanni Rescigno and it turned out that the benching is an extended benching. Laviano, the starter all season, is now going to be on the bench on a quarterback carousel that is no longer revolving.

Coach Ash thanked Chris for being the starter and for all of the work he has done and put in. He also said that all the blame is not on Chris or the quarterback position. Ash said Chris was the most consistent and game-ready quarterback all season until recently.

Laviano finished the Illinois game 7/12 for 62 yards and had 7 carries for 15 yards. Laviano had a decent accuracy percentage in this game but the yards were not there. Also, he is not fast enough to gain the yards he would normally gain on run plays or plays where he escapes the pocket and has open field. As I previously said, look for more quarterback runs now that Gio is the starter.

Looking Forward...

This week, Gio gets his first start of his collegiate career against a 4-2 Golden Gopher team. It will not be an easy match up by any means, especially on the road. The Scarlet Knights will need to be able to run the ball, and Gio looks like a good quarterback to utilize as such to get good, long drives and scores.

#RFootball #GoKnights #KeepChopping #MINNvsRUTG