Three Thoughts on Rutgers Football's loss to Iowa on Saturday night
It was a tough night for Rutgers as it fell to Iowa in front of a packed SHI Stadium 27-10 and dropped its 20th Big Ten home game in a row.
Here are three thoughts after the game…
ANOTHER BAD OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCE
If there is at least one thing to take away from Rutgers’ first four games it is that its offense has not been up to snuff. Outside of a 12-play, 96-yard drive and a game against a poor Wagner team, there is not a whole lot the Scarlet Knights (3-1, 0-1) can hang their hats on offensively as the unit has scored one touchdown in the last two weeks.
“It was really good to see [the crowd] for sure, that’s what we aspire to build in this program,” head coach Greg Schiano said. “Are we quite ready to perform the way we needed to tonight? I guess not because we didn’t do it. Now, there’s a lot of reasons for that. Some of it’s inexperience, some of it’s not executing, and some of it’s coaching. There's a whole bunch of reasons.”
Although Evan Simon finished the day passing for 300 yards, he threw the ball 49 times to get there which is a recipe for disaster going up against a stout Hawkeyes defense. Rutgers also did a poor job getting anything going on the ground as it rushed for 61 yards, its total lowest of the season.
TWO BIG MISTAKES
Perhaps the two biggest plays in this game came off Rutgers turnovers that the Hawkeyes (3-1, 1-0) took back for a score. With about six minutes left in the opening quarter and trailing 3-0, Iowa’s Cooper DeJean picked off Simon and eluded a couple of defenders on his way to a 45-yard interception return and making it a 7-3 game. Keavon Merriweather also scored a defensive touchdown as he scooped up a fumble from Joshua Youngblood and ran it back 30 yards to give his team a 14-3 advantage.
“We turned the ball over and when you do that it rewrites the story immediately,” Schiano continued. “Again, it keeps coming back to what you do. There’s no such thing as missed opportunities. Someone takes it and Iowa took it so we’ve got to learn to take it better.”
At the end of the day, the Scarlet Knights are not the type of team that can withstand mistakes like this no matter who they are playing. So while Rutgers might not face a defense quite as good as Iowa’s from here on out, it will need to clean up mistakes like this if it wants to have any shot in Big Ten play.
A ROUGH DAY FOR EVAN SIMON
Despite Noah Vedral and Gavin Wimsatt being dressed and announced as starting quarterbacks, Simon took all of the snaps for the Scarlet Knights and the results were less than ideal. Outside of the opening drive of the game, any time Rutgers was on offense it seemed laborious to move the ball downfield.
“I thought Evan did some really good things,” Schiano said. “Those guys, the other two you mentioned, Noah and Gavin, were coming back at different rates. So at one point we only had one guy that was actually operating in practice and I think he grew.”
Although struggling offensively against a team like Iowa is understandable, it is hard to brush it off when it also happened against the likes of Temple and Boston College. While things do not get any easier next week when it takes on No. 3 Ohio State, if Rutgers is going to go anywhere this season it will need much more from its signal-caller whether it be Simon, Vedral, or Wimsatt.