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Instant Reaction: Rutgers Football shut out at Iowa 30-0

Scarlet Passing game completely anemic.

Rutgers v Iowa
The defense held on for as long as they could in this one.
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

On Saturday, the Iowa Hawkeyes methodically disposed of the visiting Rutgers Scarlet Knights. A late field goal after a McLane Carter interception with time running down in the first half gave the Hawkeyes a 20-0 advantage heading into the locker room. At that point, the Rutgers defense had played pretty well and it felt like if the offense could just get some momentum, Rutgers could still steal this game. The Scarlet Knights were winning the field position battle and multiple times were gifted the ball at or near midfield, but could not capitalize.

The staff elected to put Art Sitkowski in the game at quarterback for the second half and we saw a vintage 2018 Art Sitkowski performance: no pocket presence, poor timing, and inaccurate throws when he had time and the receiver was open. With Rutgers moving the ball early in the 4th quarter with some tough running from Blackshear and Pacheco, John McNulty had the right play call against the right coverage. Unfortunately, Sitkowski floated one to hit the defender in stride even though his receiver was wide open and a catch would have gotten the Knights into field goal range, maybe even the red zone with a good run after the catch. That was pretty much all she wrote.

Immediate Reactions:

  1. Though he was quite poor in this game, McLane Carter (5 for 15, 22 yards, 1 INT) is the Quarterback for this team. Art Sitkowski (4 for 11, 19 yards, 1 INT) was exactly what we saw last year.
  2. If the offense plays like this, Rutgers will not win another game. Take it to the bank.
  3. This is not an offensive scheme problem, though play calling clearly did not work in this game. Rutgers was so scared of Iowa’s pass rush, we saw the same plan as last year: throw incomplete on first down usually with time, run on 2nd when the opponent is surely expecting it to set up a long third down attempt. Then never make the play to convert.
  4. Iowa’s game plan was to confuse Rutgers into not having Nick Krimin block anyone and get a free rusher elsewhere. Sitkowski cannot call blocking schemes at all and relies solely on Mike Maietti.
  5. The Rutgers defense had two critical penalties on third down when the game was still within reach. At that moment, Iowa was just 2 for 9 on third down otherwise so the penalties were killers.
  6. Drew Singleton simply has to see the field. When the ball was run at him or Tyshon Fogg, they made the play.

The short of it is that every competent offense in college football these days scores about 30 points per game, so the Rutgers defense is an average Big Ten defense right now. The offense on the other hand was atrocious with no sign of being any better as a whole than they were in 2018.

Full recap HERE.