Gus Edwards, Robert Martin, Raheem Blackshear, and Robert Hicks all found the end zone for Rutgers last Saturday. Edwards led the pack with 21 carries, 98 yards, and two touchdowns. The young Blackshear came behind him with 87 yards on 6 carries, ripping off a 41-yard touchdown in the beginning of the game. Both Martin and Hicks saw only five carries, but were still able to get their touchdowns as well.

It was a ground-and-pound type of day with Rescigno only attempting 10 passes, and that seemed to work well against an Illinois defense which hasn’t been able to stop the run this year. This was a great day to get a crowded backfield going. The addition of Edwards and the emergence of Blackshear may have seemed to put Martin and Hicks on the back burner. However, games like this should spell out more chances for the Rutgers favorites. Simply, we know how talented these guys are, the trick now is using them in ways that maximize their individual strengths.

Now, as the clouds part and the rain goes away, a beam of light shines down on Rutgers today. After a 2-10 year and a 1-4 start, Rutgers fans have something to celebrate. A conference win was much needed for this struggling program, and makes the 2017 campaign a somewhat success considering the extremely low ceiling.

A win over Illinois doesn’t erase the fact that Rutgers is still talent-deficient, but it does complete a task which went unchecked last year. Rutgers will be able to escape this season without the burden of going winless within their own division. The failure to secure a Big Ten win for two straight years could have spelled out devastating for the team and most likely coaching staff. They may not be saved yet, but it’s a start they didn’t see last year.

Rutgers will host Purdue this Saturday in their homecoming game, who is 3-3 and coming off a 44-21 win over Ohio University.

 

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