After forcing four fumbles but unable to recover any in its first two games, Rutgers profited on a muffed handoff on the second play from scrimmage against Virginia Tech on Saturday. Backup quarterback Kyron Drones started the game and made a critical mistake right away. Wesley Bailey recovered on the Hokies 19 yard line. Running back Kyle Monangai ran it all the way into the end zone on the first offensive play for Rutgers for a touchdown. The Scarlet Knights never looked back in defeating Virginia Tech
The first half wasn’t as dominate for Rutgers as it was in the first two games. In fact, Virginia Tech outgained RU 148-134, had two more first downs and had 20 minutes of time of possession. However, VT committed two turnovers and missed a field goal in the red zone. The Scarlet Knights defense bent but didn’t break. On the flip side, Gavin Wimsatt broke the game open with a 34 yard rushing touchdown. He then found Christian Dremel for a 4 yard touchdown pass right before the half. Rutgers led 21-3 at the break.
Unfortunately, the offense got extremely conservative and predictable once again in the third quarter. It resulted in three straight three and out drives that allowed the Hokies to get back into the game. VT scored back to back touchdowns and make it a one score game early in the fourth quarter. It was 21-16 with just under 11 minutes to play when Monangai broke free on the left side of the line and outran the Virginia Tech defense for a 55 yard touchdown.
After Rutgers forced a turnover on downs on the Hokies next drive, Monangai scored his third touchdown of the game from 12 yards out to seal the victory.
Rutgers ran for 256 yards and averaged 7.5 yards per carry. That’s very impressive, even though it came in chunks and consistency was an issue at times.
Kyle Monangai was tremendous once again, rushing for 143 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 8.9 yards per carry.
Watch all 3 of his TD runs in today’s 35-16 win over Virginia Tech. ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/4hIMRAY6fS
— Big Ten Football (@B1Gfootball) September 16, 2023
Gavin Wimsatt also ran well, finishing with 87 yards on 11 carries for 7.9 yards per rush. Wimsatt only threw for 46 yards on 7 of 16 passes along with a touchdown. He missed some throws, but zero interceptions through three games is growth.
— Rutgers On BTN (@RutgersOnBTN) September 16, 2023
Christian Dremel led the receivers with three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown. Give this kid a lot of credit as he was the most improved player in the spring and is a key contributor so far this season.
— Rutgers On BTN (@RutgersOnBTN) September 16, 2023
The defense had four sacks while Flip Dixon had an interception.
In terms of limiting mistakes, Rutgers didn’t commit a turnover and had two takeaways. They also had just four penalties, one of which was intentional to help the punt unit.
It was a 19 point win that felt like a much closer game. Even so, Rutgers is now 3-0 with two power five victories. They had to win these three games to have a legitimate chance at earning bowl eligibility and they did it. Next up, RU will head to Michigan and take on the No. 2 team in the country in the Big House on Saturday, September 23 at noon ET.
Here is my rapid reaction to the win.
Here is my game log and live commentary from the game.
- FUMBLEROOSKI as Rutgers finally recovers one this season.First play from scrimmage for the offense and Kyle Monangai runs it in for a 19 yard TOUCHDOWN!! Rutgers leads VT 7-0 less than a minute in!
- VT misses a 36 yard field goal. Rutgers leads 7-0 still 6+ minutes left first quarter. Time for the offense to establish some rhythm.
- Three punts for Rutgers and two for VT plus the missed FG after the opening drive for both teams. Rutgers leads 7-0 end of 1st quarter.
- Virginia Tech connects on a 30 yard field goal as Rutgers leads 7-3 with 9:29 left in the first half. VT outgaining RU 121-34 and 8 first downs to just 1 for the home team. Offense has to get going here.
- Gavin Wimsatt rushes up the middle for 34 yards for a TOUCHDOWN!!!! A big reception to Christian Dremel as well. Huge drive to extend the Rutgers lead over Virginia Tech 14-3 midway second quarter!!! A roughing the passer penalty against the Hokies gave RU a big spark.
- Flip Dixon making plays once again with a timely INTERCEPTION. He’s been as good as hoped this season so far.
- We can live with pinning VT on their own 8. Defense needs to keep coming and wear down the Hokies.
- Wimsatt threw a TOUCHDOWN PASS to Christian Dremel from 4 yards out to extend the lead right before the break.
AT THE HALF
- VT has outgained RU 148-134 but Hokies have two turnovers and missed a red zone FG. 3 sacks and 5 tackles for loss for the defense. Zero penalties committed by Rutgers.
- Rutgers 21 Virginia Tech 3.
- Virginia Tech gets back into the game with a 39 yard touchdown pass from Drones to Felton.
- Rutgers leads Virginia Tech 21-10 with 3:39 left in the third quarter.
- All of a sudden Virginia Tech scores back to back touchdowns and the Rutgers lead is only 21-16 early fourth quarter. 2pt conversion failed.
- Conservative third quarter costly again letting the opponent get within one score two weeks in a row.
- Monangai is R Guy! 55 yard TOUCHDOWN run! Rutgers leads 28-16. 10:41 to play.
- After stopping the Hokies on its next drive, RU put the game away with another touchdown drive as Kyle Monangai ran it in from 12 yards out for his third score of the game. Rutgers leads Virginia Tech 35-16.
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