Rutgers football: Trick plays not enough to top Ohio State

Rutgers football definitely could have embarrassed itself more Saturday night in its game against No. 3 Ohio State. Nonetheless, it still wasn’t pretty. That’s not necessarily surprising, considering Ohio State will likely win the Big Ten Championship, and Rutgers is, well, Rutgers.

The Scarlet Knights entered this game with a kind of confidence that led to trick plays that resulted in them losing by three touchdowns. If they keep this up throughout the rest of the season, they might not even compete in games that they are supposed to win.

However, it’s important to appreciate the way that Rutgers kept fighting at the end of the game, making it less of a blowout. The game wasn’t all bad, but also not a great look for head coach Greg Schiano. Let’s look at what Rutgers did well, and what it needs to avoid in the future.

What’s going on with the trick plays?

The trick plays Rutgers football has been pulling have been working for them, but how long will that last? The Scarlet Knights literally opened up the game with a trick play. Upon receiving the first kickoff, they threw the ball backward to try and gain some yardage. This is entertaining, yes, and it actually did serve them and help them move the ball down the field, but this momentum from trick plays probably will not last long.

Rutgers can’t just rely on this in its games; it’s not sustainable. If Rutgers can play a clean, consistent game on the offensive side, it won’t need to resort to trick plays that may only work half of the time.

The slow start

The final score after the first half was hard to look at for Rutgers football fans. The Scarlet Knights entered halftime trailing 35-3, which seemed to be the end of it, as they were up against a strong Ohio State team. Rutgers had the opportunity to make it close in the beginning of the game when Ohio State was winning 7-0.

Rutgers could have tied it up, but after a touchdown was rescinded due to a penalty, it was pushed back 10 yards for holding. Rutgers was only able to put up a field goal, making it 7-3. After that, Ohio State’s offense quickly ran away with the game. The Scarlet Knights needs to avoid these kinds of mistakes because they probably could have made it a somewhat exciting game.

The end of the game was a good look for Rutgers football. The final score was still a tough 49-27, but the Scarlet Knights figured out a way to start putting points on the board. In the last 30 minutes, they outscored Ohio State 24-14, showing they can actually compete. In the last few years, they probably would not have scored again after that first field goal. But now, Rutgers has shown that even if it may be destined to be blown out by the no. 3 team in the country, it does not have to be completely embarrassing.

Photo by The Daily Targum