Despite suffering a 35-16 loss to No. 1 Ohio State, Rutgers delivered an inspiring performance on Saturday at SHI Stadium. The game was much closer than the final score indicates. While the Scarlet Knights committed some crucial mistakes that ultimately were the difference in the outcome, this team competed at a very high level against the powerhouse Buckeyes.
Rutgers outgained Ohio State with 368 total yards to 321.
The Scarlet Knights held a 22-15 advantage in first downs.
They outrushed the Buckeyes 232 yards to 139 yards, becoming the first Big Ten team to surpass the 200 yards on the ground against OSU.
The difference in the game was Rutgers unable to maximize their red zone opportunities. RU made six trips into the red zone but scored a touchdown just once. They also converted three field goals and came up empty twice. The killer was a pick six that was returned 93 yards for a touchdown. The other stop came late in the game with Rutgers trailing by two scores.
Even so, Rutgers physically held up against the mighty Buckeyes. The offensive line generated consistent push against the OSU front four a good part of the game. The defense was swarming the ball and hitting their spots hard. Kyle Monangai was a beast in the run game once again. He finished with 159 yards rushing on 24 attempts for a 6.6 yards per carry.
Gavin Wimsatt struggled with accuracy at times, specifically the first half. The interception came on a jump pass to the middle of the field to Kyle Monangai that was a risky call and throw. However, he continued to show resiliency and led Rutgers to touchdown after the setback. He finished 10 of 25 for 129 yards with a touchdown and a interception. Wimsatt was effective at times on the ground rushing for 49 yards on 3.8 yards per carry.
The defense played valiantly and held their own and kept Rutgers in the game until they wore down late as well as inherited a very short field on the last score.
Treveyon Henderson had a great game for Ohio State, finishing with 128 yards rushing, 80 yards receiving and a touchdown.
In the end, Rutgers wasn’t overwhelmed. It was a lack of execution in key moments. That’s actually more encouraging in regard to where this team currently is. They can learn from this loss and get better from it.
Overall, this was an encouraging performance. Rutgers lost to Ohio State in its first nine meetings by an average of 53-11. The Scarlet Knights led OSU at the half 9-7 and were in the game in the fourth quarter. Moral victories count for nothing, but this game shows more progress that this program has made this season. Learning to win against top opponents is a step still needing to take, but they’re getting closer.
With three regular season games to go, there is no reason to believe that Rutgers can’t win them all if they continue to improve.
Here is my game log and quick takes during the action between RU and OSU.
- Rutgers won the toss and deferred to the second half. Ohio State will start with the ball.
- Big time three and out stop on the opening drive of the game for the Rutgers defense.
- Gavin Wimsatt threw a deep ball on first down but was incomplete. RU goes three and out and muffs the snap. It’s partially blocked and only goes 18 yards. OSU hall on own 46 yard line.
- The Buckeyes take advantage of the short field as Kyle McCord throws a perfectly placed ball to Gee Scott Jr. for a touchdown.
- Rutgers goes three and out for a second straight drive after OSU scored a touchdown on a short field following the muffed punt.
- A Mo Toure sack resulted in a nine yard loss and OSU punts on its third possession. RU defense got a critical stop.
- Wimsatt misses a wide open Christian Dremel on 3rd and 2 that would have been sure fire touchdown. Instead a third straight three and out for the Rutgers offense.
- The Rutgers defense gets another big stop as Eric Rogers defended Marvin Harrison Jr. perfectly on third down.
- What a fourth down conversation after Wimsatt hands it off to Monangai between his legs for a 45 yard gain into the OSU red zone.
- Jai Patel kicks a 22 yard field goal as Wimsatt’s third down run was 2 yards short of the first down. He was effective on the ground that drive as RU gets on the board.
- Ohio State 7 Rutgers 3 With 7:49 left first half.
- Ohio State’s fake punt is stopped by Rutgers and the offense gets the ball on a short field at the OSU 32 yard line. HUGE OPPORTUNITY.
- Rutgers makes it 7-6 on a Patel 21 yard field goal. Two trips to the red zone result in field goals. Just over two minutes left in the first half. Getting another stop here is essential with RU getting the ball to start the second half.
- Mo Toure with an INTERCEPTION at midfield! Rutgers ball at the OSU 46 yard line with 1:46 left in the first half.
- Jai Patel kicks a 20 yard FG his third of game.
- Rutgers leads No. 1 Ohio State 9-7 at the half! The offense has been unable to get into the end zone on three trips to the red zone. Even so, the defense has been fantastic & offense ran the ball well. RU ball to start 2nd half.
At the Half
- First half stats:Total Yards
RU 1703rd down conversions:
RU 16:25RU +1 turnover margin & only sack of the game.Kyle Monangai 12 rushes 93 yards 7.8 ypcRU gets ball to start second half leading 9-7.
- The biggest takeaway for me in the first half above all else is that Rutgers is physically holding up against Ohio State in a way we’ve never seen. They were winning battles all over the place in that second quarter. Huge improvement.
- Ohio State intercepts Wimsatt off is deflection for a third pick six allowed this season and another back breaker.
- OSU leads 14-9 with 9:49 left in the third quarter. Awful play but plenty of time to respond.
- Ohio State leads Rutgers 21-9 after an 8 play, 71 touchdown drive dominated on the ground.
- Late third quarter time for Rutgers empty the playbook.
- Gavin Wimsatt to JaQuae Jackson for a 19 yard TOUCHDOWN!!!!!
- Great response from Rutgers. Dremel was the spark in the pass game once again. Ohio State leads 21-16 with 14:07 to play.
- Marvin Harrison Jr. connects with Kyle McCord to change the game with a touchdown to put Ohio State 28-16 with 12:02 to play.
- Rutgers is unable to score in the red zone down two scores and Ohio State takes over leading 28-16 midway fourth quarter.
- After Rutgers turned it over on downs, Marvin Harrison Jr. catches his second touchdown of the game.
- No. 1 Ohio State defeats Rutgers 35-16 in a hard fought loss.
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