After Week 1, Rutgers Football helped answer some questions that faced the team entering the 2023 season. With another dominant performance on Saturday night against Temple, Rutgers continued to paint a better picture for what fans can expect throughout the season.
I will be using the same questions from Week 1, so if you would like to see those answers click here.
Answers to Questions after Week 2
Will Gavin improve as a QB? (Week 1 answer: Yes)
Yes. Has Gavin Wimsatt played perfect? No. Has he continued to improve as a passer, runner, and overall leader? Without question. Fans (me) have been not-so-patiently waiting for a GAVIN NUKE this season and he finally delivered. Connecting with transfer WR JaQuae Jackson for a 61-yard BOMB during the second quarter electrified SHI stadium. Now that fans got a taste of the deep ball, we are certainly going to want to see more! If Gavin improves his accuracy, the offense can be special.
Will 5 starters emerge for the offensive line? (Week 1 answer: As of right now, no)
As of right now, no. Due to the injury to RT Tyler Needham, I will keep the answer the same. The offensive line is a unit that must gel together on each play, which means we need to roll out the same five starters each game. It’s a shame the injury bug is getting in the way of that. Hopefully Needham is okay!
Will the offensive line improve? (Week 1 answer: Undetermined as of now, but trending slightly towards yes)
Trending upwards, but questions remain. For a second straight game, Gavin has had time in the pocket to go through his passing progressions. Rutgers is yet to face a good pass rush, but they are keeping their QB off the turf. There are times when it seems the run blocking can be better, but the team did rush for 254 yards and 3 touchdowns. If the team can limit the one-yard rushes and consistently turn out four or five yard chunk plays, I will feel much more confident about the run blocking.
VT has struggled defending the run, allowing 201 and 179 yards against ODU and Purdue, respectively. The Hokies should be the best defense the Scarlet Knights will face through the first three games, so I am excited to see how the line plays. This will definitely be the best pass rush the line has faced.
Will the passing game improve? Will there be a No. 1 WR? (Week 1 answer: it’s early, but for the former I’m going with yes. For second, it doesn’t appear theres a #1 WR)
Yes to both. Just two yards shy of 200 yard passing performance, Gavin Wimsatt continues to improve as a QB. There were less errant throws, but Wimsatt was only asked to pass 21 times. It will be interesting to see how Wimsatt plays when he is asked to pass 30+ times.
With Chris Long recovering from an ankle injury, JaQuae Jackson took advantage of the opportunity to highlight his explosive ability. Catching four balls for 95 yards, Jackson had the best performance from the WR room so far this season. Multiple WRs continue to be involved which is a good thing, but it’s important to identify a No. 1 go-to option. Early signs point to Jackson as THAT guy.
Are the running backs the strongest unit on offense? (Week 1 answer: Yes)
Without question, yes. 254 yards on the ground, three rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown from four different backs. Kyle Monangai is a DAWG. Benjamin can FLY. Sam Brown is BACK. Al-Shadee Salaam is so damn quick. Just wait for Aaron Young to return. NEXT QUESTION!
Will the defense live up to the preseason hype? (Week 2 answer: YES)
B1G YES. Through two games, the defense has simply looked ELITE. The offenses we’ve played have not been great, but the defense is yet to take their foot off the gas. It seems like each drive a different player steps up to make a big play. I love watching the defense play. The upcoming game against VT should provide even more evidence this unit is ELITE.
Will Kirk Ciarrocca install an offense that works? (Week 1 answer: Yes)
Yes. Control the clock, check. Protect the ball, check. Balanced attack, check. Ciarrocca continues to check all the boxes. Rutgers offense desperately needed to improve this season, and through two games that’s exactly what we are seeing. The offense still needs to show further development. Hitting three field goals against Temple is encouraging, but moving forward, as we enter Big Ten play we will need six points rather than 3three.
Will fans show up to games? (Week 1 answer: Yes)
Yes. KEEP WINNING. Fans will show up to watch winning football. The weather was not ideal on Saturday which may have prevented more fans from showing up, but the students, yet again, showed up in FORCE. Greg Schiano always loves pointing out the impact of a full student section. I think SHI stadium will be pretty dang full on Saturday. GO RUTGERS!