After eight weeks of football, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will take their bye with the hardest part of their schedule waiting on the other side.
The 2018 season has been much different than the Scarlet Knights were expecting in August, having only one win on the year and another one becoming less feasible by the day.
With the toughest part of the season still to come, let’s see how in the world a potential bowl season turned into a likely 1-11 disaster.
To say that true freshman Artur Sitkowski has struggled would be an understatement. Sitkowski is completing less than half of his passes and has already racked up 15 interceptions on the season, with only three touchdown passes. The Scarlet Knight offense has only scored 12 touchdowns through eight games and is averaging 270 yards per game.
Raheem Blackshear leads the way with 686 all purpose yards, 399 of which were receiving yards. Isaih Pacheco, who has shown promise for the future, sits at second for the Scarlet Knights with 492 all purpose yards.
The rest of the season should revolve around getting the young players snaps in big games and preparing for the future. The majority of Pacheco’s snaps have come in garbage time, while Sitkowski gets benched if he’s playing too poorly and rarely gets the chance to right the ship. As damaging as it can be for Sitkowski’s confidence to throw four picks in a game, it has to be more demoralizing to not get the chance to work yourself out of the hole you’ve created.
It’s not as if the Scarlet Knights are doing much better with Gio Rescigno, who has the same completion percentage, three interceptions and no touchdowns.
Sitkowski needs to be able to learn how to work himself out of jams and get his team back into games if Rutgers is going to have a more successful season next year.
Defensively, the Scarlet Knights have seen promise from freshman Mike Tverdov, who now has 23 total tackles and leads the team in yards lost on sacks at 29. Tverdov also leads the team in yards lost on tackles with 29.The defense has been paced by Trevor Morris’ 71 tackles and Deonte Roberts’ 61 tackles.
Rutgers’ defense took a major hit in the first game of the season when Blessaun Austin went down with a season ending injury and has not been able to regain its composure since. All signs point to Austin exiting the program at the conclusion of this season, so the Scarlet Knights’ defense needs to find a way to stop opposing offenses and function without him.
The hopes of a bowl run relied on this defense and they simply have not delivered. All thoughts needs to be on being better for next year.
At the bye, the Scarlet Knights have had a much different season they were expecting and might not win another game from here on out. But hey, at least Rutgers won’t get a loss this weekend.
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