Following big wins over Maryland, Illinois, and Purdue, the hype around Rutgers football is slowed, but not dead. This year the Scarlet Knights played great within their division, considering the lack of pure talent on the team. Coaches Chris Ash and Jerry Kill have done enough to keep them off the hot seat, and should hope to have another successful off-season in terms of recruiting. This game spoke to the future and revealed some primary concerns I feel the team must address during the off-season. Here are a couple of them:
The Quarterback Position Needs to be Addressed
After posting a 1-4 record as a starter to begin the year, the staff saw transfer quarterback Kyle Bolin simply didn’t have what it takes to win. From the poor decision making to the inability to keep a game in control once it gets late, Bolin couldn’t fulfill what Coach Ash saw in him.
In comes Gio Rescigno. Luckily for him, the Illinois game was where the team saw their true strength in numbers at the running back position. From then on, the game plan became simple: use a crowded backfield to wear down and outsmart the defensive front. In this mode, Rescigno wasn’t asked to complete the same tasks Kyle Bolin was, and basically had the easy job of simply protecting the ball, which, to his end, he has done well (zero interceptions in six starts). Over those six games, Rescigno wasn’t tasked with throwing the ball more than 20 times in any of them.
Rutgers Defense Needs Playmakers…Again
Flashes of Kemeko Turay fill the mind when thinking of happy Rutgers defensive moments. Over the past two years, Rutgers have little to show for when it comes to defensive prowess. Last year was truly difficult to watch, with teams driving fans out of the stadium after trouncing Rutgers for 30+ often before the first half even ended. This year, the blowouts have been held to a slight minimum, with some gems to focus on peppered throughout.
Thinking back to the fire that the defense came out with against an extremely high powered Washington offense, Rutgers was never totally inept on that side of the ball. Today, Washington is currently the No. 21 team in the nation when it comes to scoring offense. Although the score ended 30-14, it was clear that we were seeing a defense do all it could behind an offense that struggled to move the ball.
Two weeks ago, the Scarlet Knights teamed up to limit Heisman contender Saquon Barkley to a mere 35 yards on the ground, his lowest of the 2017 season. Another game with the offense’s inability to stay on the field, Rutgers lost a game in which they were within one score at halftime.
These are just a couple of immediate issues I feel Rutgers should be addressing, with surely more to come throughout my post season evaluation.