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Rutgers had 1-2 punch on offense in win over Temple



Sep 9, 2023; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights wide receiver JaQuae Jackson (9) catches the ball as Temple Owls cornerback Ben Osueke (24) defends during the first half at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

While Gavin Wimsatt had another positive performance for Rutgers in its 36-7 win over Temple, it was a 1-2 punch on the ground and air that was the biggest offensive story. Kyle Monangai running the ball and JaQuae Jackson catching the ball were the two biggest impact players on offense for RU.

Kyle Monangai put the Rutgers offense on his back it needed him most early in the fourth quarter and it was a one score game. He rushed for 57 yards on six straight carries with the last a one yard rush for a touchdown.  He finished with a game high 165 yards rushing on 28 carries for 5.9 yards per carry and a touchdown.

“You sure are right that he led the team,” head coach Greg Schiano agreed. “I mean, that’s a heck of a rushing day and they were tough yards, too. I mean, he really ran hard.”

He added, Well, he ran tough and he ran tough last week as well.”

Before Monangai essentially sealed the victory with rushing more than half the field into the end zone, Jackson made a 18 yard catch for the first down. It helped open up the defense and Monangai feasted. After a one catch debut last weekend, Jackson busted out on Saturday night. He finished with four catches for 95 yards. The highlight was a 61 yard reception in which Wimsatt hit Jackson in stride for a huge play with Rutgers deep in its own territory.

Jackson showed toughness as well as he got dinged up after a hard hit in the season opener. He didn’t show any effects in the win over Temple.

“JaQuae Jackson, he was coming back from a little something so he came back, and performed at a high, high level,” Schiano said.

Having a big play receiver in the passing game is something that Rutgers has desperately needed for many years now. Jackson, a former Division II All-American, showcased his ability to be just that this season for Rutgers. Adding Jackson from the transfer portal this offseason certainly looks like a smart move. Consistency is the key, but Jackson obviously has explosiveness that the Scarlet Knights covet. With Chris Long and Naseim Brantley out, Jackson came up big for RU when they really needed it. Just like Monangai.

“I thought I’d bring up with you is Jackson, the performance that he had tonight, I’ve seen that coming but you guys have not been able to see that coming because he missed some of camp,” explained Schiano. “But I was really pleased with him. I think that that was something we needed. That was a shot in the arm we needed.”

Rutgers has real depth at running back with Monangai, true freshman Ja’shon Benjamin who also scored on Saturday, as well as fellow backs Sam Brown and Al Shadee-Salaam. Aaron Young is expected to return soon as well. Even so, Monangai has proven for a long time now that he can be trusted in big spots for this team.

Schiano discussed bringing Monangai to Rutgers soon after he returned to the program.

“Well, I didn’t really know for sure, you never know for sure but I asked his high school coach and Chris told me. He said, ‘I’m telling you, Coach, I’ll stand on the table for this guy,’ and I trust his opinion,” Schiano said. “We took him on that. Because a lot of people told me don’t: He’s too small; he can’t do it. When his own high school coach talked with the certainty that he did; I’ve known him for a long time, he’s a heck of a coach. So when he said it, I said, okay, I’m going to trust you on this one. He was right.”

It’s a good think Schiano listened. Monangai might be the most underappreciated running back in the Big Ten. The common thread with both Jackson and Monangai is that both stepped up with key players missing within their position groups. And the 1-2 punch they provided keyed the Rutgers offense to a big night.

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  1. pj43

    September 10, 2023 at 4:55 pm

    Well, overall, I thought it was an impressive follow up to the NW game.  What is encouraging to me is the obvious positive impact Ciarrocca is having on Wimsatt.  What I saw is Wimsatt’s confidence growing as he allows his natural talents to evolve.  His arm is impressive.  He can make all of the throws.  The short/intermediate throws are improving.  He hit one long pass & missed on another but, where I once doubted his touch, I’m beginning to think that he’ll get there as he evolves under Ciarrocca. The OC is playing to this team’s talents where it is NOW.  His playing calling recognizes what his offense can do NOW given the opposition. Next week, he’ll do the same against VT.
    And what about Kyle Monangai?! He’s the epitome of a football player.  The RB room (particularly if everyone gets completely healthy) is the offensive highlight and likely will continue to be.  And, while I understand the concern about the OL, I can’t help but think it will continue to improve under Flaherty – not by leaps & bounds, but steadily over the course of the season.  
    We know the defense is legit.  With the exception of Michigan, OSU & PSU, they should be able to keep Rutgers in every game remaining on the schedule, as I see it.  So, let’s enjoy what we’re seeing – a coaching staff getting the best out the players as it develops them patiently and methodically while this team grows more confident as it embraces its identity. It’s happening before our eyes! Rutgers is turning the corner with more talent on the way. Win & they will come!

  2. BataliBoli98

    September 10, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    Ditto to everything that PJ43 wrote. The “Monangai Drive” was enormous for obvious reasons, and how he reflects the mindset of the team is a great point. Aaron, do you happen to know his Yards After Contact stat? There were so many carries that looked to be two yard gains that ended up yielding seven. He was just so tough and kudos for Ciarrocca for riding him. As for Ciarrocca, it looks like RU may have finally found there long term solution at OC. While Harasymiak will likely leave at some point for a HC opportunity, Ciarrocca is very likely a career OC at this point. The fact that he has been able to put in his offense, get Gavin and a slew new receivers on the same page, work around a OL that is still a work in progress, put together game plans without his top RB, etc., etc., is really impressive. Go RU!

  3. SailingEngineerSF

    September 11, 2023 at 11:21 am

    who is chris that schiano is referring to? Kyle played at don bosco under Dan Sabella….Mike Teel and possiblly Greg Toal before then?

    • Aaron Breitman

      September 11, 2023 at 8:22 pm

      I looked it up. Chris Moreno is the offensive line coach at Bosco. Sorry for not including that in the article.

      • SailingEngineerSF

        September 11, 2023 at 10:15 pm

        Hey Aaron thanks for responding. I looked it up and Chris Moreno looks to be an offense guard who recently graduated from bosco. Maybe I’m missing something but I couldnt find anybody with the name chris on the bosco football staff website going back to 2020 (they dont post anything before then) or from google

        • Aaron Breitman

          September 11, 2023 at 10:41 pm

          Ah sorry you are right. Must be a former assistant who isn’t there anymore. I’ll see if I can find out.

          • SailingEngineerSF

            September 12, 2023 at 8:48 am

            could have been a slip of the tongue by greg lol but thanks for following up 🙂 I only ask because some of these high school coaches wind up moving up to the college level at some point and it’s nice to know the relationships they have when doing so

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