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Rutgers Football: Can Scarlet Knights make up for loss of Samuel Brown?

Rutgers will be without its starting back for the remainder of the season.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

It was announced prior to Saturday’s game against Minnesota that Samuel Brown would miss the remainder of the season with a foot injury. Rutgers got a taste of life without Brown and it was as bitter as expected.

Rutgers rushed for a total of 48 yards in a 31-0 loss to Minnesota. This performance comes one week after Brown carried the load with 28 carries for 101 yards against Indiana. Now, the Scarlet Knights will need to find a way to run the offense without their main back.

“We thought he was going to be okay, and then each day, one test led to another test led to another test,” head coach Greg Schiano said prior to Saturday’s game via NJ Advance Media. “These tests are kind of the way that it happens in the order to get to the conclusion that we have.”

It was difficult to get the rushing attack going once the Scarlet Knights fell behind by two scores. Kyle Monangai led Rutgers with seven carries for 29 yards. Aaron Young added three carries for seven yards. In a game that was expected to be decided on the ground, Mohamed Ibrahim and Minnesota took control early and did not let up.

Ibrahim finished with 159 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries. It is no surprise why the Gophers were able to run away, especially with Rutgers’ quarterback play.

Schiano named Gavin Wimsatt the starter for Saturday’s game because he saw an “opportunity.” The fact of the matter is, Wimsatt is not ready and that is not a knock.

As a redshirt freshman, Wimsatt has plenty of time to develop. Rutgers expects Wimsatt to be the quarterback of the future but it is hard to expect a young player to come in and be ready for Big Ten play right away. This was Wimsatt’s first start in conference play and he finished 6-for-17 for 68 yards and an interception.

Yes, receivers did not help with some key drops but Wimsatt has struggled with inconsistencies all season — and injuries. Wimsatt was forced to leave the game in the fourth quarter and Noah Vedral took over. It is time to let Wimsatt develop and get healthy to be ready for 2023. This means handing the job back to Vedral and letting him play out the season.

It is expected that fans want to see Wimsatt on the field but right now, it is doing more harm than good. Unfortunately, the two young prospects for the Scarlet Knights are dealing with injuries. Both Brown and Wimsatt are expected to be pieces to build around but they will need to get healthy first.

This season, Rutgers should feature a lot of Vedral and Monangai. The loss of Brown is one that will significantly impact the offense moving forward.