Who is going to be the quarterback? How will the return of Greg Schiano impact the team? Can Rutgers actually win this game?
These were just a few of the questions asked leading up to Rutgers’ season opener against Michigan State. Well, they were all answered as they snapped their 21-game Big Ten losing streak with a 38-27 win over the Spartans in East Lansing.
Rutgers’ defense stole the show early on in this one. They forced turnovers on Michigan State’s first two possessions of the game. This led to a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Leading up to the game, Noah Vedral and Artur Sitkowski were listed on the depth chart at quarterback with the word “OR” in between. As we approached game time, Vedral was named the starter. The Scarlet Knights were expected to move fast under new offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson and that is exactly what happened.
Rutgers got the ball first in this one and set the tone right away. They marched 75-yards on 10 plays and scored on an Isaih Pacheco touchdown run, one of his two in the game.
Already trailing by two scores, Michigan State would answer with a 50-yard touchdown from Rocky Lombardi to Jayden Reed. From that moment on, the Spartans were unable to get within seven points in the game. Rutgers would get an interception from Tre Avery that set up a touchdown. The Scarlet Knights led 28-13 at halftime.
The Spartans tried to claw their way back into this football game but could not thanks to swarming defense from the Scarlet Knights. Tyson Fogg led the way with 10 tackles while Avery Young finished with seven of his own and two forced fumbles. Mohamed Toure was an animal at the linebackers position finished with two sacks and two forced fumbles.
Rutgers was not perfect in this game but they were able to outplay the Spartans from the beginning. Rutgers forced seven turnovers in this game and rushed for 111 yards.
Was the impact of Schiano visible in game one? That is an understatement. We do not know yet what the 2020 season holds but we watched a team today that played aggressive and with a purpose. Welcome home, Coach Schiano.