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Rutgers hangs around early, falls late to No. 17 Indiana 37-21

It was not the homecoming that Greg Schiano was hoping for on Saturday against Indiana.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 31 Indiana at Rutgers Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon College Football

The dream start is over. After snapping their 21-game Big Ten losing streak last week, Rutgers began a new one on Saturday.

Indiana was able to ride their momentum from Week 1 into Piscataway and take down the Scarlet Knights 37-21.

The first quarter saw the Scarlet Knights allow just 39 total yards and 10 on the ground. They were able to get on the board first on a Noah Vedral 23-yard touchdown to Bo Melton and led 7-3 through 15 minutes. This was one of two touchdown catches for Melton who finished with four catches for 52 yards.

The defense was able to hold up on the ensuing possession for Indiana but they lost Mohamed Toure in the process. Toure, who finished with two sacks against Michigan State, was ejected for targeting after a late hit on Michael Penix Jr. on third-and-eight. They were able to hold the Hoosiers to a field goal.

The Toure ejection seemed to impact both sidelines. Indiana, who looked sluggish early on, gained some momentum. The second quarter belonged to Indiana in a big way. Back-to-back turnovers by Vedral led to two Hoosier touchdowns.

First, it was a one-yard run by Penix Jr. to give Indiana the lead. After Jaylin Williams came up with an interception, Indiana would score on a 15-yard connection from Penix Jr. to Ty Fryfogle.

The offensive line for Rutgers struggled throughout the game. After a solid performance against the Spartans, they looked good in the first quarter of this one. It was all downhill once Sam Vretman went down early on. Isaih Pacheco carried the ball just five times for 17 yards in the first half as the offense totaled just 60 yards of offense.

The bend but don’t break defense for Rutgers continued in the second half as they held Indiana to a field goal on their first possession. Trailing 23-7, Kay’Ron Adams broke a 37-yard touchdown run. The Scarlet Knights were able to convert the two-point conversion to make it an eight-point game.

With 3:56 left in the third quarter, the defense finally broke. Indiana drove 75 yards in one minute and 26 seconds, aided by two pass interference penalties. It ended with a Penix Jr. touchdown pass to Peyton Hendershot to extend their lead to 30-15. And that was all she wrote.

This was a measuring stick game for Rutgers and it was clear that they did not matchup. The offense is still a massive work in progress and the defense was gashed by Penix Jr.,who finished 17-26 for 238 yards and three touchdowns.

Rutgers showed some different things today. Aron Cruickshank made some plays in the return game and the Scarlet Knights gave a bigger taste of the multi-quarterback scheme. Jonny Langan carried the ball twice for nine years and logged one catch. The Scarlet Knights even tried a reverse ending with Langan attempting a pass.

You will hear these words all season long — toughness, compete, and culture. These are aspects of the team that are expected to improve under Greg Schiano. That is the only fair way to judge this football team throughout the course of their schedule here in 2020.