Our Rutgers Scarlet Knights are 5-2! After a dramatic, emotional fourth quarter comeback against Michigan State, Rutgers finds itself on the brink of bowl eligibility. Buckle up, folks, cause were heading out to Bloomington with one mission...GET THAT SIXTH DUB!
Now, the Michigan State game was far from pretty. It was mostly frustrating to be honest. Midway through the third quarter I was so thoroughly convinced that fans were yet again fooled and this team was the “same old Rutgers”. Thankfully, I was wrong and Rutgers pulled off the 18-point comeback. Rutgers won this game because each unit made big plays: offense, defense, and most importantly, SPECIAL TEAMS!
This game gave us some really great answers to questions that still hover over this team. To recap last week’s answers, click here.
Answers to Questions after Week 7
Will Gavin improve as a QB? (Week 6 answer: Sticking with yes, but it’s complicated)
Yes, despite a confusing performance. Wimsatt started this game hot with a long completion to Dremel. He continued to make nice throws down the field, but when the field shrunk and Rutgers was in the redzone, he couldn’t connect for a TD in the first half. Then, a pass goes right through Ian Strong’s hand for an interception. It was a high throw but still one Strong needs to make. This is then followed up by Gavin’s second worst throw of the season which resulted in his fourth interception of the year. For the second game in a row, Rutgers found itself facing adversity entering the second half.
As the game progressed, so did Gavin. He finished the game strong and completed a beautiful TD pass to Isaiah Washington in the corner of the endzone. Aaron Young was open in the flat for a quick throw, but I am not sure Gavin saw him. There are times Gavin misses on throws or doesn’t see open WRs. I am hoping he can show us continued improvement against a struggling Hoosiers defense. I’m expecting him to make some plays with his feet on Saturday.
Wimsatt ➡️ Washington for 6️⃣— Rutgers Football (@RFootball) October 15, 2023
Wimsatt ➡️ Dremel for 2️⃣ pic.twitter.com/RUMVS417lE
Will 5 starters emerge for the offensive line? (Week 6 answer: Tough to say, still a lot of shuffling)
YES. Two words: REGGIE SUTTON. What a comeback story! Sutton made his first start of the year at right tackle after recovering from a devastating knee injury last season. Before his injury, he was the team’s best lineman. To get him into the starting lineup could be a huge X-factor for this team. Hollin Pierce continues to play at a very high level and the rest of the offensive line played most of the game at their set positions. This is massive progress for an offensive line that is definitely improved from last season! Keep blocking, keep Gavin protected, and KEEP CHOPPING!
Will the offensive line improve? (Week 6 answer: It’s split right now. Run (no) vs pass blocking (yes))
Yes, especially if Sutton remains healthy. I think the win against MSU was arguably the offensive line’s best performance. Rutgers is at its best when it run the ball and gets a nice push from the big boys upfront. Well, thats exactly how Rutgers won this game. Unfortunately, Gavin was sacked three times in this game and that was certainly a concern. However, the unit finished strong and proved they are much improved from a year ago. Listen, it isn’t luck that Kyle Monangai is the league’s top rusher. The offensive line is a B1G reason for that.
Will the passing game improve? Will there be a No. 1 WR? (Week 6 answer: The passing game will not improve if Rutgers cannot run the ball. Yes, either JaQuae Jackson or Ian Strong)
Yes and yes. The passing HAS improved and there is a number one WR on this team: Christian Dremel. Look, I was very unhappy that Gavin threw two interceptions on Saturday, but I still think the passing game is definitely improved from last season. Multiple WRs catch balls each game and we aren’t reliant on Johnny Langan to be our leading receiver. It would be great to see the running backs catch more passes. Might be too late to improve it much, but If Gavin can get his completion percentage above 60%, the offense should be pretty dang competitive.
Christian Dremel is the teams number 1 WR. He is targeted the most and has done a very good job making tough catches on big plays. I am excited to see how he finishes the season. I will say though, I still want to see more Jaquae Jackson and Ian Strong in the passing game.
Never give up on your dreams— Rutgers Football (@RFootball) October 16, 2023
Christian Dremel always wanted to play for @RFootball.
He joined the program as a walk-on in 2019.
In 2021, he earned a scholarship.
Now, @ChristianDremel leads the team in receptions & receiving touchdowns. pic.twitter.com/oTEvyqPdKT
Are the running backs the strongest unit on offense? (Week 6 answer: Yes, but it doesn’t matter if the run game is nonexistent)
Let’s make this quick. KYLE FREAKING MONANGAI! He is the Big Ten’s leading rusher and carried the Rutgers offense on the final drive of the game. WE LOVE KYLE MONANGAI! Outplaying his former teammate, Jalen Berger, must’ve felt great!
Will the defense live up to the preseason hype? (Week 6 answer: Yes)
YUP! Flip Dixon and Desmond Igbinosun were ENFORCERS on Saturday. Both of them made plays all over the field. Obviously the best play of the game was Tyreem Powell’s MASSIVE fourth down stop...that was later reversed because of targeting. Lame. Stupid. Dumb. Regardless, this defense has DAWGS at each level and I can’t wait to watch them FEAST against Indiana.
Will Kirk Ciarrocca install an offense that works? (Week 6 answer: Only if the script goes as planned it appears)
Yes, but it won’t always be pretty. I mentioned last week that when the offensive script goes as planned, the offense can move the ball efficiently. This game was weird, but when Rutgers was fighting back in the fourth quarter, fans got to watch what this offense is capable of when they move the ball.
The play calling does confuse me, though. Sometimes we start games with a lot of passing and seemingly abandon the run game. I do not think that is a recipe for success for Rutgers. As you saw in the fourth game, Rutgers wins games when they POUND THE ROCK!
Will fans show up to games? (Week 4 answer: I hope so, it’s HOMECOMING WEEK!)
Weather stunk and the turnout was not good, but the strongest and most passionate Scarlet Knight fans remained in their seats for an awesome come from behind victory! Read about a first hand experience here by OTB’s own Francis Hearne!
If Rutgers wins on Saturday, they will be 6-2, bowl eligible, and coming home to a bye week. They will have 2 weeks to prepare for Ohio State. I expect the turnout for that game to be the strongest showing this season. I am not predicting a win, but I am predicting an exciting atmosphere at SHI Stadium!
Did I post a Tik Tok about Rutgers win against MSU?