This was a beautiful day on the banks of the ol’Raritan as Rutgers was beating the Indiana Hoosiers 24-13 in the third quarter. Rutgers then gave up 20 unanswered points and lost the game 33-27 to fall to 2-7 on the year.
Then the offense stalled and the defense got tired and broken. Seven straight punts, 10 total yards in those 7 drives, 7 first downs in the game until the last four minutes. It was a rough day for this offense and the defense never was able to catch a breathe.
Considering the amount of time Rutgers’ defense was on the field, they played very well. They gave up a lot of yards but they made a lot of key red one stops. This defense now has 11 red zone stops this season which is the most in the Big Ten Conference.
Rutgers forced four turnovers and blocked two kicks on the day. Normal days that is a recipe for success. Today, it almost worked but Indiana’s big play capabilities killed this defense today.
Penalties also haunted this team today. Isaiah Wharton got flagged for a pair of pass interference calls and John Tsimis late in the game gets called for an illegal touching. It seemed we could not catch a break.
Rutgers also went 1/16 on third down today compared to 7/17 for Indiana. Rutgers had a lot of opportunities but were never able to capitalize on them. Also, Michael Cintron had issues punting the ball. Indiana started their drive in Rutgers territory on three straight drives at one point. That is a killer for any team anywhere in the country.
Rutgers gave up a lot of yards but their defense held their own until the offense sputtered out and gained 10 yards in seven drives. The defense got tired and there really was not much else they could have done against a great offensive weapon like Indiana.
While Rescigno and Co. had a rough time for a stretch offensively, they passed the eye test for a good part of the game. Gio showed his ability to evade sacks and throw on the move. The offensive line and receivers did not do much to help Gio back there, but Gio did what he could.
Justin Goodwin looked good running and catching the ball in place of a still-injured Robert Martin*. The receivers had their chances but they could not create enough separation nor could they actually hold on to the ball. Andre Patton’s drop on fourth down late in the game is a perfect example of the terrible drops this team endures. Gio put it right in Patton’s hand right in the end zone. Perfection was thrown out the window.
*Robert Martin only played special teams today. See what Coach Chris Ash has to say about his health situation in his post game press conference.
This is two games in a row that the Scarlet Knights were disallowed their first conference win of the season by a narrow margin. Michigan State, surprisingly, has gone 0-5 in conference this season and, as of this writing, is down to Illinois 24-17 in the fourth quarter.
Rutgers somehow has a real chance to defeat the Spartans this season for their first conference win. If not, we still have Penn State and Maryland to do it. This was an honorable and strong performance from Rutgers today. Clean up the sputters and we win this game.
Here is to improvement each week and a victory against the Spartans next week.
RURahRah, bELieve, Keep Chopping
Read my full game thread for play updates, highlights, and comment section to catch you up even further on today’s action.