Last Saturday in Piscataway was one of the best Rutgers game day experiences in a very very long time. SHI Stadium was full and loud the entire game and, despite the loss, fans left feeling optimistic about what they saw on the field. We will discuss it more below, but there is plenty Rutgers can work on in the final three games of the season. Regardless, I was so proud of the way the team performed against the #1 ranked team the country.
In front of a national audience, Rutgers demonstrated to the nearly 4 MILLION people watching at home why they belong in the Big Ten. There are no moral victories in football, but gosh dangit Rutgers was competitive for the full 60 minutes. In previous years, this game is practically over in the second quarter. November football is typically when the wheels fall off for Rutgers, but this year is different. In fact, for the second straight week, the CFB Playoff Committee describes wins over Rutgers as “big”.
Even though the season is almost over, we continue to get answers to questions we’ve asked all season. To see the answers we got after week 8, click here. Now, lets discuss week 10 answers!
Answers to Questions after Week 10
Will Gavin improve as a QB? (Week 8 answer: Yes, but he will be heavily tested the remaining 4 weeks)
It’s complicated. I’m Gavin’s #1 fan, but having the worst completion percentage in the country is not good, in fact, it’s bad. With that being said, I still think he’s improved from last season. The pick six was a bad throw, but also a lucky bounce for Ohio State. Regardless, missing Dremel on a WIDE open TD was a killer. SHI Stadium would’ve erupted, but instead fans held their face in their hands. Gavin did complete some nice passes to Dremel and Jackson, but unfortunately against a team like Ohio State he needs to play perfect if we want to win. He still makes some great plays with his legs, but he’s going to need to play a lot better to finish the year to make fans feel better going into 2024.
Completion percentage is a stat tied to the QB, but let’s see what what Coach Schiano had to say about it:
“Completions come as a result of protection, correct routes and then throwing and catching the football,” head coach Greg Schiano said during his press conference on Monday. “So everybody contributes. But at the end of the day, it goes on whose record? The quarterback’s. He gets the completion percentage. The receivers don’t; the line doesn’t. At the end of the day, we need to be more accurate with the ball for sure. So we’re working on it. But like everything else, we are developing, and I’m sure he’s going to get better at it.”
I want to make this clear...Gavin Wimsatt gives Rutgers the best chance to win games. He is not a perfect QB, but there are plenty of aspects of his game that he has improved on from last season and that is most important. Once he puts it all together this offense will really start to hum!
Will 5 starters emerge for the offensive line? (Week 8 answer: Yes)
Yep. I will talk more about the line below, but gosh darnit I am so proud of their performance during this game!
Will the offensive line improve? (Week 8 answer: Yes)
HELL YEAH! You don’t rush for over 230 yards on the ground against a top 10 defense without ELITE offensive line play. Rutgers rushed for the most yards against Ohio State all season. If I remember correctly, Ohio State has played Penn State AND Notre Dame. Bully ball in the trenches is how Rutgers needs to play to win the final three games of the season. Offensive line...whatever you did you against Ohio State...DO IT AGAIN AGAINST IOWA! PLEASE!
Pat Flaherty deserves to be considered for assistant coach of the year. He’s been able to make the Rutgers offensive line one of the best in the conference.
Will the passing game improve? Will there be a No. 1 WR? (Week 8 answer: N/A to both)
Similar to the first questions, it’s complicated. I thought both Dremel and Jackson played great. They are clearly the two best WRs on the team right now and I would consider both as the team’s #1 WR (if that’s possible). Despite Gavin being an inaccurate passer, the WR group did a nice job getting separation against a banged up OSU secondary. I felt like we saw more slants and routes across the middle of the field than previous games and that allowed the offense to sustain long drives. In order for the passing game to truly improve, Gavin will need to complete at least 55/60% of his passes.
Are the running backs the strongest unit on offense? (Week 8 answer: Yes, especially when Wimsatt goes OFF!)
Kyle Monangai leads the Big Ten in rushing, next question...
did RUTGERS just perfect the fumblerooski— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) November 4, 2023
But seriously, Kyle Monangai is an absolute DAWG. He’s less than 100 yards away from 1000 rushing yards on the season, Improvement among the offensive line coupled with Monangai and Wimsatt’s (yes, I know he plays QB) strong running styles has been a match made in heaven for this team. Rutgers wins games when they run the ball successfully.
Will the defense live up to the preseason hype? (Week 8 answer: Yes, but losing Powell for the year is BRUTAL!)
Yes, and they responded well in their first game without Powell. Coming into this game against OSU I was extremely worried because Powell does so many things great for the defense. Even without him, I thought this was arguably the defense’s best performance. If TreVeyon Henderson wasn’t the fastest player in the world, I really think the Rutgers defense would’ve held the Buckeyes to under 21 points. I thought the defense had one bad play. Ohio State had a third and nine and completed a check down pass to Henderson that went for 65 yards. I think if Powell is out there on the field, the play ends up different. Dariel Djabome, who was playing LB on that play, just seemed a bit lost and gave Henderson way too much room to work with. Regardless, the defense still played very strong. Limiting Marvin Harrision Jr to only 25 yards receiving is certainly an accomplishment...even though he did catch 2 touchdowns!
Toure and Jennings are two of the best linebackers in the country and I am so happy they are Scarlet Knights. Cannot wait to see how they performance against Iowa.
Will Kirk Ciarrocca install an offense that works? (Week 8 answer: Run the ball. Control the clock. Protect the ball. The Ciarrocca recipe)
Yes, especially with improved QB accuracy. I mentioned it last week, but this game followed the Ciarrocca recipe: Run the ball, control the clock, protect the ball. Rutgers did the first two points very well, but unfortunately, like the other two losses of the season, a pick six decided this game. I believe Coach Ciarrocca will find ways to continue to make the offense better.
Will fans show up to games? (Week 8 answer: I’m expecting the game against OSU on November 4th to be close to a sell out.)
SHI Stadium was a MOVIE on Saturday. With only one more home game left, I’m really hoping for another strong fan showing at SHI during Thanksgiving weekend. If Rutgers can find a way to pick up 2 (maybe 3!!!) more wins this season I truly believe it will pay early dividends for next season. A positive and encouraging end to the season can do wonders for this football program. Do season ticket purchases increase?? MAYBE!!!