The first half of Saturday’s game at Ohio State was an all-around awful performance by the Rutgers football team. They trailed 35-0 and were utterly dominated in every facet of the game. However, the last play of the half made a nightmare reality as starting quarterback Artur Sitkowski was left in a heap on the ground by Buckeye’s defensive star Nick Bosa. He blew by Rutgers’ best lineman, Tariq Cole, and demolished Sitkowski with a clean hit. The cameras showed the QB on the sidelines holding his throwing arm and shoulder with plenty of Rutgers personnel surrounding him. He then walked off the field with the rest of the team continuing to hold his throwing arm and shoulder.
Artur Sitkowski wincing and holding his shoulder as he walks to the locker room at halftime. The first half could not have gone worse for Rutgers. pic.twitter.com/OeekFDgI89— Brian Fonseca (@briannnnf) September 8, 2018
There is no word on what type of injury Sitkowski suffered or if he simply had a stinger from the hit and was able to shake it off. There was no chance he will return in this game regardless and Gio Rescigno started the second half. Rutgers ultimately lost the game 52-3.
Sitkowski finished the day completing 6 of 18 passes for 38 yards and 1 interception.
What is absolutely fair to question is what was offensive coordinator John McNulty thinking in calling a pass play with 22 seconds remaining in the first half. He called two run plays right before and Rutgers was on their own 33 yard line. It made zero sense and may have single handedly jeopardized both Sitkowski’s and Rutgers season with one play in a lost game.
Let me be clear, I think McNulty is absolutely the right guy to be offensive coordinator with this program, but making that call in Columbus at the end of a disaster of a first half is inexcusable. The only saving grace would be if Sitkowski ends up being fine from the play and doesn’t miss any time. If he isn’t okay, then that play will haunt this team the rest of the season and perhaps beyond. With multiple winnable games ahead in the next six weeks, getting out of the Ohio State game relatively healthy was an absolute must. Plus, Sitkowski’s development this season is so important to the future of this program as well, so risking his health on that last play made zero sense.
As Rutgers fans ponder what happened in another embarrasing rout at the hands of the Buckeyes, hoping Sitkowski is not seriously injured is a tough pill to swallow in just the second game of the 2018 season.
Update: Ash said after the game Sitkowski will be evaluated on Sunday, as reported by Keith Sargeant of NJ Advance Media. For what it’s worth, Ash said Sitkowski told him he was fine. Let’s hope that is the case.
Update #2: Ash declared Sitkowski “day to day” and said no long term injury occurred.
Hindsight is 20/20 but calling a pass play with 5 seconds before the half was ridiculous and Rutgers may have paid the ultimate price with Sitkowski getting clocked by Bosa and appearing to hurt his shoulder. Half couldn’t have gone any worse.— Aaron Breitman (@aaron_breitman) September 8, 2018