Posted November 10, 2018 at 06:41 PM | Updated November 10, 2018 at 07:10 PM
Michigan Rutgers Football
By Steve Politi | NJ Advance Media
There is a small but vocal group of Rutgers fans who think the team’s best path to competing again in college football is to scrap their current offense and run the triple option. My question to them: Are you sure this hasn’t happened already?
Well, it hasn’t, but you wouldn’t know it looking at the box score. Rutgers had zero — ZERO! — passing yards in the first half against Michigan. But the problem is, the Scarlet Knights are actually trying to throw the ball.
They just can’t do it.
The outcome on Saturday night was no surprise: Michigan came to Piscataway, filled HighPoint.com Stadium with 15,000 or so fans, and ran off with an easy breezy 42-7 victory to keep its playoff hopes alive. But forget the idea that this was improvement, or that the Scarlet Knights are making progress, or that this was some kind of moral victory.
Andrew Mills | NJ Advance Media
Rutgers wasn’t going to beat Michigan no matter what quarterback Artur Sitkowski mustered in this game. Still: The score was only 21-7 at halftime. The Scarlet Knights were doing just about everything else relatively well at that point in the game.
They had a big play on offense, courtesy of a beautiful 80-yard run by freshman Isaih Pacheco. They had a big play on defense, courtesy of freshman Avery Young’s perfect tackle on a Michigan fourth-down try deep in Rutgers territory.
Yes, Michigan was in control of the game, but it could have been closer if Rutgers could do even the bare minimum in the passing game. In three seasons under Chris Ash, even clearing that low bar has been impossible.
Michigan Rutgers Football
Julio Cortez | AP
This is a program that had eight passing yards and five interceptions in a loss to Maryland this season — and that wasn’t even the lowest output in Ash’s three seasons. The Scarlet Knights had just five yards in that 78-0 shellacking against Michigan in Piscataway two years ago.
Ash has had three coordinators in his three seasons, each using a different system. Each time, Rutgers has failed to even have a competent passing offense in the most pass-happy era of college football.
In 2016, Rutgers averaged 138.3 passing yards per game. In 2017, the number actually fell to 117.2. That average was 152.4 heading into this game — and, to no one’s surprise, it isn’t going to improve.
The leading receiver for the Scarlet Knights on Saturday night was Gio Rescigno — yes, the same Rescigno who is Rutgers backup quarterback. Those 19 yards came on a halfback pass from Pacheco. That was the biggest pass play in the game.
I can’t pin this on Sitkowski, who was eight-for-18 for 40 yards with five minutes left in the game. He isn’t getting any help whatsoever from his receivers, who can’t get open against even mediocre defenses.
A good one like Michigan? No chance. Which is exactly what Rutgers will have as a college football team until it fixes this.
Here are five observations from Rutgers’ latest Big Ten loss to Michigan:
Source : https://www.nj.com/rutgersfootball/index.ssf/2018/11/rutgers-michigan_chris_ash_politis_5_observations.html