Three Thoughts on Rutgers Football's 49-27 loss to Ohio State
Trick plays and a solid effort in the second half were not enough as Rutgers (1-2) fell to third-ranked Ohio State 49-27.
Here are three thoughts after the game:
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THIS TEAM IS FUN TO WATCH
After a brutal first half that ended with Rutgers trailing 35-3, it appeared as though the Scarlet Knights were on their way to yet another shellacking at the hands of Ohio State. However, Head Coach Greg Schiano and Offensive Coordinator Sean Gleeson decided to open up their bag of tricks and were able to outscore the Buckeyes 24-14 in the second half.
“I mean that’s what they pay us for right,” Schiano said when asked about the trick plays. “We will dream something up because I really believe that every week is a one game season.”
Whether it was tossing the ball across the width of the field on kick returns, direct snaps to the running back, the Johnny Langan package, or offensive lineman Raiqwon O’Neal catching a touchdown pass, Rutgers kept Ohio State’s defense guessing and at times forced them into uncharacteristic plays/penalties.
NO QUIT IN THE SCARLET KNIGHTS
As Schiano said in his postgame press conference after last week’s loss to Indiana, he did not come back to lose. Going into the tunnel down 35-3, Rutgers could have easily mailed this one in and chalked it up as another embarrassing loss to Ohio State. They did not do that though.
“Unfortunately in the first half we made some mistakes that are hard to overcome against a team like that,” Schiano said. “However I thought our kids continued to chop the whole game. I thought our coaches didn’t perform or coach very well in the first half but in the second half they continued to chop, didn’t get discouraged, and kept playing. We know we got a lot of work to do but they fought and they continued to chop through it and that’s a good place to be building from.”
Despite a tumultuous first two quarters, the Scarlet Knights came out and scored more points in the second half alone than they had in any of their previous matchups with the Buckeyes. While they are still a long ways away from even being considered in the same class as Ohio State, that is a big stepping stone that Rutgers will be able to build off of going forward.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
Going into the season, it was hard to tell what kind of year the Scarlet Knights would have, especially with the effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on college football. Would this be a season where they fight hard, show progress, and come away with some wins or would it be more of what Rutgers fans have grown accustomed to over the years?
Thus far, it is the former and in a seemingly down year for the Big Ten East outside of Ohio State and Indiana, who knows what kind of noise the Scarlet Knights could end up making.
“We have a tough game at noon next week and that’s where our focus shifts immediately, we have to get ready for Illinois and it’s going to be a battle,” Schiano added. “So, if we can build on this then it’s all good and if we don’t, we aren’t even going to talk about if we don’t because we have to.”
Rutgers will return to action next Saturday when they face Illinois at SHI Stadium at 12 p.m. (ET) on BTN.