football Edit

RB Kyle Monangai looking to keep train moving on the ground

Kyle Monangai had himself a big day running the football this past weekend for Rutgers Football against Michigan State.

The Scarlet Knights running back carried 24 times for 162 yards to go along with three catches for 20 yards. The yards and attempts were the most he’s had in a game all year, and this came after having no more than seven carries since the first two weeks of the season when he had 19 and 10 rushes, respectively.


“It’s a great boost of confidence not only for me but the whole offense,” Monangai said after practice on Wednesday. “The rushing game was clicking. Every week is different and new though. It’s a one game season. Got to build on it and get back to the drawing board.”

Monangai made his presence known as he not only danced around a few defenders, but he barrelled into guys to gain yards, too.

“I thought he played very well last week for sure. He rushed very definitively,” head coach Greg Schiano said. “He was very sure of himself and he played physical. He knocked people around and played a Big Ten back. Hopefully that can continue. We’re going up a class in defense (this week versus Penn State) though so that’s a challenge.”

Rutgers RB Kyle Monangai (23)
Rutgers RB Kyle Monangai (23) (Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports)

The 162 yards on the ground was the most for a Rutgers player in a Big Ten game. The previous mark was held by Isaih Pacheco, who had 142 yards as a freshman in 2018 against Michigan.

“It’s funny, that Michigan game he did it himself, I remember watching it,” Monangai said. “It’s a cool moment for me. I got to message him a little bit and tell him that I broke his record. It’s a cool accolade, but I wish it came with a win.”

Monangai said he picked up a slew of traits and tips from Pacheco, now the starting RB for the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, but one that is at the forefront is how hard he goes all the time.

“His work ethic,” Monangai said. “Isaih’s probably the hardest working guy and hardest practice player I know. He takes pride in practicing hard. His attitude with everything he does always stood out.”

A less-herald recruit by a long shot, Monangai outdid Michigan State’s Jalen Berger, who had 85 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown. Berger was offered by a ton of big programs around the country and was a four-star recruit. Berger and Monangai were teammates and classmates coming out of Don Bosco Prep in 2020.

“We’re competitive. It was fun,” Monangai said. “We talked before and after the game. That’s my brother. I wish him the best and he played a great game too. It was fun. It's surreal to see us on different sidelines.”

Though it came in a losing effort, the offense in general -- not just Monangai, had itself a good day against the Spartans. Rutgers had over 460 yards of offense.

“We’ve made some changes since coach Nunz (Campanile) took over (interim offensive coordinator duties) for sure,” Monangai said. “Guys are in different places and we talk about things differently. Everybody is on the same page and we’ve made it work. We’ve made strides and we’re clicking, and coach Nunz has been at the helm of that.”

Follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisNalwasky.


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