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Five Rutgers players who stepped up in win over Virginia Tech



Sep 16, 2023; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights wide receiver Christian Dremel (6) catches a touchdown pass in front of Virginia Tech Hokies safety Jaylen Jones (15) during the first half against the Virginia Tech Hokies at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers football defeated Virginia Tech 35-16 on Saturday. While Kyle Monangai led the way, here are five Scarlet Knights who made big plays in the victory.

Christian Dremel

The most improved player from spring camp has been the most consistent receiver for Rutgers through three games. He’s tied for the team lead with seven receptions and second with 72 receiving yards. On Saturday, he led Rutgers with three receptions and 34 yards including a great play in hauling in a 4 yard touchdown catch at the end of the first half. It came a week after he was in and out of the Temple game after getting dinged up.

“I have the utmost respect for Christian Dremel,” head coach Greg Schiano said after the game. “He’s an incredibly hard worker. He is a team guy. He’s tough. He’s been bumped up. We don’t talk about it, but he has toughed it out. I think our whole team has a lot of respect for that young man.”

He’s a great story but he’s also been a key contributor this season.

Aaron Lewis

While Lewis came into the game with the third most pressures (nine) in the Big Ten, he only had 4 tackles and no sacks in the first two games. On Saturday, Lewis made 8 tackles including a sack and a big stop on a two point conversion attempt.

“I thought Aaron showed up with a big way,” Schiano said. “You know, that two-point stop where he sweeps the ankle on the guy, I mean, that’s a significant play at the time. But I thought he played at a high level and we’re going to need him to do that certainly. He’s one of our better players.”

Lewis is arguably the best player on the team. He is a key performer for the Rutgers defense and he showed why on Saturday.

Flynn Appleby

It’s a tall task to replace Adam Korsak, one of the greatest punters in college football history but Appleby is doing a good job for Rutgers. Against Virginia Tech, he had seven punts for an average of 41.9 yards, two inside the 20 yard line and zero touchbacks. Through three games, Appleby has seven punts inside the 20 and zero touchbacks. He also has done a good job as the holder on field goal attempts. Overall, Appleby has been a very solid contributor through three games.

Flip Dixon

The transfer safety from Minnesota continues to play well for Rutgers through three games. He’s made several keys stops on the goal line and is third on the team with 22 tackles. On Saturday, Dixon made a timely interception in the second quarter o give Rutgers the ball back at midfield. He also had eight tackles, tying Lewis for the third most on the team. He’s done a great job stepping in into his role in the back of the defense and is an important player for this team.

Gavin Wimsatt

While he only threw for under 50 yards and completed less than 50% of his passes, Wimsatt did two things very well for Rutgers in the win.

He ran as well as he had all season amassing 87 yards while averaging 7.9 yards per carry. His 34 yard touchdown run was crucial in putting Rutgers in the lead by two scores for the first time in the game. If he can continue to learn and get a better feel in how to be an effective runner, it will be a key factor for Rutgers.

Second, he’s committed zero turnovers through three games. If he can limit mistakes and improve his accuracy, Wimsatt should continue to progress this season.

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