Rutgers blows its an opportunity to make a Large Ten assertion with killer turnovers | Politi’s 5 observations – NJ.com
For Rutgers followers, the Large Ten opener in opposition to Iowa was take a look at about your degree of optimism. You possibly can have summed up this loss, fairly precisely, by declaring that the Scarlet Knights would have had an opportunity to win in the event that they didn’t rating 14 factors for the Hawkeyes.
Or, in case you are so inclined, you may give attention to, , the entire scoring-14-points-for-the-Hawkeyes factor.
Last rating: Iowa 27, Rutgers 10.
Precise rating: Rutgers 14, Iowa 13, Rutgers 10.
This one isn’t all that difficult, of us. Rutgers isn’t a program that may make any errors in opposition to a strong Large Ten program like Iowa and count on to win the sport. Two errors that find yourself in their very own finish zone? Simply neglect about it.
This was a serious missed alternative for the Scarlet Knights. The evening began with an introduced crowd of 53,117, with a lot of the followers of their seats when FS1 turned on its cameras to a nationwide viewers. It ended with a predictably empty stadium and some hardy Iowa followers — is there some other form? — chanting “Let’s go Hawks!” because the away staff celebrated one other ugly win.
Rutgers nonetheless can’t get out of its personal method offensively. Followers may pin that on Sean Gleeson, the offensive coordinator turned message board pinata, however execution was the larger downside on this recreation. Rutgers is 8-0 since 2020 when it doesn’t make a turnover, which is probably going the rationale head coach Greg Schiano has taken such a conservative strategy in victories in opposition to Boston College and Temple.
However with an opportunity to go 4-0 in opposition to a significantly better opponent, enjoying it near the vest wasn’t going to work. Rutgers was forward 3-0 when Evan Simon’s move was intercepted by Iowa linebacker Cooper DeJean and returned 44 yards for a landing. Then, within the second quarter, Iowa security Kaevon Merriweather returned a Joshua Youngblood fumble for a TD and a 14-3 lead.
That was all Iowa wanted. The consequence for Rutgers was a Large Ten file twentieth straight dwelling loss in convention play, and for this season, it casts doubt on how this staff will compete because the Large Ten meat grinder begins. It actually gained’t beat anybody if it retains scoring in opposition to itself.
Listed here are 5 observations from Rutgers-Iowa:
1. ROCKY DAY FOR SIMON
The numbers have been fairly good. Evan Simon accomplished 28 of 49 passes for a career-high 300 yards, and one week after the Scarlet Knights had simply 59 passing yards in a 16-14 win over Temple, that could be a actually an enormous enchancment.
However the numbers, principally amassed late within the recreation in opposition to Iowa second teamers, don’t inform the story. Simon, the one scholarship quarterback obtainable for this recreation, threw two killer interceptions — together with one which was returned for a landing — and misfired on a number of throws early within the recreation which may have modified the result.
Schiano gained’t given an harm timetable for any of his gamers. The attention take a look at, nevertheless, on injured quarterbacks Noah Vedral and Gavin Wimsatt throughout warmups signifies that each might be again before later. Maybe even subsequent week at Ohio State. They want each again, ASAP.
2. AGGRESSIVE ‘D’ PAYS OFF
The Twitter account @CFBFilmRoom had an enchanting stat this week. Rutgers, underneath first yr defensive coordinator Joe Harasymiak, was main the Large Ten in blitz price in opposition to FBS opponents — and it wasn’t significantly shut. Rutgers blitzed on 41.8 % of its performs, in keeping with the location, properly forward of Purdue at 34.9 %.
The aggressiveness actually labored in opposition to Iowa within the second quarter. The Hawkeyes have been working the ball successfully when, considerably inexplicably, they known as a move. Earlier than quarterback Spencer Petras might throw, Rutgers defensive again Christian Izien introduced him down for a drive-killing eight-yard sack on a well-timed blitz.
The D attacked when Iowa ran the ball, too. Wesley Bailey, a sophomore defensive lineman, knifed via the Iowa line on first-down run to deal with Gavin Williams for a six-yard loss. The protection wasn’t good, however it held its personal on an evening when the Rutgers offense stored scoring factors for the opposition.
3. FOURTH AND GO
Rutgers was down 24-3, a deficit the Scarlet Knights weren’t going to beat in a month, a lot much less in 1 / 4. Nonetheless, as he has carried out since returning to Piscataway, Schiano set the tone by refusing to simply accept an final result that appeared sure. Keep in mind the crazy lateral play in a 2020 loss in opposition to Indiana? This was like that, solely much less dramatic.
He stored his offense on the sphere 3 times in Iowa territory within the second half on fourth down. The primary two performs, the Scarlet Knights moved the chains — together with a pleasant 10-yard move from Simon to receiver Shameen Jones. That was the important thing second in an 82-yard drive that ended, predictably, on a fourth-down play that didn’t go their method.
This time, on fourth and 4 from the Iowa 7, the Hawkeyes despatched stress at Simon, and the quarterback fired a move into the tip zone that wasn’t close to anybody in crimson. Iowa took over on downs. On the subsequent drive, nevertheless, Rutgers lastly broke via and scored a landing.
4. PUNT-A-THON IN PISCATAWAY
It’s uncommon, if not near unprecedented, to have a college football recreation get national attention completely for the standard of its punters. Adam Korsak vs. Tory Taylor was the primary billing for Rutgers vs. Iowa, and one way or the other, it managed to stay as much as the hype.
For Rutgers, Korsak was sensible as normal. He pinned Iowa contained in the 20 twice within the first half, together with one which was downed on the six. Had Rutgers not handed Iowa 14 factors on turnovers, Korsak would have been a serious cause for the Scarlet Knights holding this one shut.
For Iowa, although, Taylor was simply pretty much as good. He pinned Rutgers on the 4 and the 7, and one way or the other averted catastrophe when Rutgers cornerback Max Melton got here via untouched and deflected a first-quarter punt. Taylor seemed for the ball behind him, however it rolled to the Rutgers 37.
So who gained the punting battle? Name it a draw.
5. A FERRIS WHEEL, A HUGE RECRUITING DAY AND A NICE TRIBUTE
Listed here are a couple of different ideas concerning the Rutgers-Iowa scene, the Large Ten and extra:
a. A Ferris Wheel! If the Boardwalk has a log flume on the subsequent dwelling recreation, I’m hopping onto airbnb and reserving a spot for subsequent summer season.
b. Schiano stepped off the bus for the Scarlet Stroll and instantly hugged Abram Wright, a three-star linebacker recruit from Florida. This was an enormous recruiting weekend for Rutgers — and never only for the football team. Eleven completely different groups took benefit of the evening recreation to schedule official visits.
c. Rutgers held a second of silence for Xavier McClain, a Linden Excessive sophomore who died from head trauma sustained in a recreation on Sept. 9, and Ali Muhammad, a Rahway Excessive participant who died in his sleep the day earlier than. It was an aesthetic gesture that reveals the connection between New Jersey’s high college program and the highschool degree.
d. Journey sufficient across the Large Ten, and also you’ll discover that a lot of the convention colleges have an enormous presence within the closest main airport — be it a retailer, or a show, or one thing. That’s why Rutgers put a giant Scarlet R in Newark Airport final week.
e. The nice-news-bad-news rating of the week for the Scarlet Knights? Minnesota pouring it on in opposition to Michigan State in a straightforward 34-7 victory. The Oct. 29 journey to Minneapolis appears prefer it’ll be a tall process with the Gophers in place to win the Large Ten West, however the journey two weeks later to East Lansing slides onto the “winnable video games” record for the Scarlet Knights.
f. The environment at kickoff was nice, with a packed pupil part and new-look gentle present greeting the primetime TV viewers. It’s a disgrace, although, that Rutgers didn’t give that crowd a cause to remain into the second half. Rutgers minimize the result in 24-10 within the fourth quarter. Would the gang have mattered at that time? Most likely not, however it was lengthy gone.
g. Within the press field this week: Giants normal supervisor Joe Schoen and director of participant personnel Tim McDonnell. One thing tells me they jotted the identify Cooper DeJean into their pocket book after watching the Iowa linebacker’s off-the-charts interception return for a landing within the first quarter.
h. The pregame gentle present: Very cool. The sport day bundle continues to enhance.
i. The Rutgers offense isn’t ok to outlive many missed alternatives. Three drops within the first two drives — together with two by the normally sure-handed Langan — have been killer.
j. If Aaron Decide doesn’t hit his 61st dwelling run quickly, can Rutgers provide him some enjoying time as a good finish?
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Steve Politi could also be reached at [email protected].