Ladies and gentlemen, our Rutgers Scarlet Knights are going BOWLING! 6-2! Received votes in the AP poll (technically ranked 34th in the nation)! So much to be excited about!
With Saturday’s road victory in Bloomington, this marks THREE straight wins over lil bro. At some point we’re going to need to at least consider having the conversation on the mind’s of most people: Does Indiana belong in the Big Ten? It’s a fair question! You’re telling me Tom Allen is a Big Ten caliber coach? This team is bad and is becoming a true blemish of the best conference in college football. I really don’t like seeing lil bro down so bad, but seriously, stop embarrassing the conference.
Enough about lil bro, let’s focus on RUTGERS. They played well and clearly took over in the second half. The opening drive was certainly disappointing, but Gavin led the offense down the field to immediately answer with a touchdown. After that, Indiana began to sputter out, but did find themselves in the end zone again. Rushing for almost 300 yards is an easy way to secure the sixth win of the season!
Can’t wait to watch Rutgers play on Satur—oh, its a bye week. Dang. Well, as much as the team needs a rest, so do the fans. Credit to us for staying so focused the past 8 weeks, we deserve a break. But first, lets answer some questions! To recap answers we got after week 7, click here.
Answers to Questions after Week 7
Will Gavin improve as a QB? (Week 7 answer: Yes, despite a confusing performance)
Yes, but he will be heavily tested the remaining 4 weeks. Gavin WAS the offense on Saturday. Rushing for 143 yards and 3 TDs, Wimsatt outsourced the Hoosiers all on his own. Obviously we didn’t see much through the air, but personally I am fine with that. Passing for only 36 yards is definitely a concern, but getting the win was the only goal of this game. As fans, we want to see more success in the passing game and I think that’s fair. I’ll talk more about the offense later, but I will say Gavin continuing to use his legs (on both designed run play and QB scrambles) can become a true X Factor for this offense.
Will 5 starters emerge for the offensive line? (Week 7 answer: YES.)
Yes. For the third straight game, we saw the same starting 5 on the offensive line. I imagine it stays this way for the remainder of the season. I may have to change this question for future weeks, but regardless, its extremely important that as the season progressed we received a clear answer to this question!
Will the offensive line improve? (Week 7 answer: Yes, especially if Sutton remains healthy)
Yes. Despite allowing a sack this game, the offense line played very strong. You don’t rush the ball for 276 yards without outstanding offensive line play. We will get a much better read on the o-line after back to back to back games against three elite defenses. The offensive line was the position group Rutgers needed to improve the most and that is exactly what they have done through 8 weeks. Schiano has hit the recruiting trail hard when it comes to offensive line, so I expect this group to only to continue to get better. The additional of Pat Flaherty has already paid early dividends!
Will the passing game improve? Will there be a No. 1 WR? (Week 7 answer: Yes and yes)
N/A to both. Passing for only 36 yards makes me want to answer this question “no”, but that is not a fair assessment. This is the second game this season Gavin has passed for under 50 yards (VT was the other). What happened in both of those games? Rutgers RAN THE DANG BALL and won by multiple scores. Regardless, Gavin did an excellent job protecting the ball and extending broken pass plays with his legs. Rutgers will need to pass for more than 36 yards against Ohio State on November 4th (shocker).
Despite only catching 2 balls for 14 yards, Dremel was yet again Rutgers #1 WR and continues to look like Gavin’s go to guy through the air. Rutgers will rely heavily on the WR group to generate separation on routes and make big catches against the upcoming defenses Rutgers will face.
Are the running backs the strongest unit on offense? (Week 7 answer: Let’s make this quick. KYLE FREAKING MONANGAI!)
Yes, especially when Wimsatt goes OFF! I know I know, Gavin plays QB! Kyle Monangai rushed for over 100 yards against Indiana, did you know that? Probably not because you’re still watching the highlight of Gavin GASH the Hoosiers defense for an 80 yard TD run. This game was fun because we saw a little bit of everyone: Brown, Benjamin, and Young (sounds like a law firm).
Will the defense live up to the preseason hype? (Week 7 answer: YUP!)
Yes, but losing Powell for the year is BRUTAL! Tyreem Powell was playing at an All Big Ten caliber level (probably second team). Injuries/surgeries happen and are a part of the game, but MAN does this come at the worst time of the season. Yes, Rutgers is bowl eligible and has every reason to consider this season a success, but possibly adding a 7th or 8th win to record becomes a lot more difficult. This is the first major adversity the defense has faced, but I trust Schiano and Harasymiak to make the adjustments needed for the defense to continue to play at an ELITE level.
Regardless, the defense is still very good. Did they play a perfect game in the first half? No. The fourth down TD pass on Indiana’s opening drive was bad. You know what team is very capable of doing that on every offensive drive? OHIO STATE. Thankfully, the defense cleaned up their mistakes and shut out the Hoosier’s in the second half.
This team will look to Moses Walker to fill Powell’s absence. A highly rated 4 star recruit coming out of high school, Walker has been a player I’ve been DYING to see on the field more. Pairing him with Mohamed Toure could be a match made in heaven. Speaking of Toure...he is an absolute FORCE. He nearly killed Jaylin Lucas on a slant route with a literal bone crunching hit.
Will Kirk Ciarrocca install an offense that works? (Week 7 answer: Yes, but it won’t always be pretty)
Run the ball. Control the clock. Protect the ball. The Ciarrocca recipe. It won’t always be exciting; in fact, most games won’t be exciting under a Kirk Ciarrocca offense. I thought the play calling was fine this game and the offense did nothing to prevent this team from securing their sixth win! In 2023, Rutgers will win games running the ball. This is no surprise. Eventually, and maybe it’s not this year, we will need to win games because of Gavin’s arm, not his legs.
There is no question the offense is improving, especially when the script goes as planned. It’s tough to argue that the offense Ciarrocca installed is NOT working. It’s not flashy, but it works (right now). The easiest way to show it’s working is simple: 2022, Rutgers finished 13th in the Big Ten in scoring offense (17.4 pts/game). 2023, Rutgers currently ranks FIFITH in the Big Ten in scoring offense (28.1 pts/game). Now, will that change by the end of the season? Yes. It will be challenge to score 28 points against OSU, PSU, and Iowa. Regardless, the offense is better and will hopefully finish the year strong.
Will fans show up to games? (Week 7 answer: 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)
I’m expecting the game against OSU on November 4th to be close to a sell out. Sure, there will be LOADS of Buckeye fans in the stands, but they will be wearing Scarlet as well so you won’t be able to tell! I’m really really hoping for an awesome environment for the OSU game. Winning is the best way to bring fans out to games, however it will still be challenge to get people in their seats BEFORE kickoff. BUY TICKETS NOW!!
Is special teams a third of the game??
YOU BET YOUR ASS THEY ARE! For the second straight game, Rutgers special teams blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown! I LOVE special teams touchdowns. I am still kindly asking for a punt or kick return touchdown!
Is Rutgers Football back?
Listen to yesterday’s podcast to find out!!